What is the Difference Between Rotten Wood and Termite Damage?

Both dry rot and termite infestation can cause damage, which is often irreversible, to any building that uses wood in its construction. The former is caused by a particular group of fungi that attack the wood and break down its fibers while the latter is caused by termites eating the wood. In both cases, the structural integrity of the material is compromised.

Characteristics of Dry Rot

The fungi have the ability to shunt water from one place to another quickly and efficiently. They can exist in fairly dry wood because this ability affects the xylem directly. As the xylem break down, the wood weakens and begins to flake like dry brick. Because the fungi also create channels in the wood, it’s common to mistake the damage for termite damage.

Characteristics of Termite Damage

Termites create channels, too, but the chief difference is that the fundamental integrity of the wood remains intact around the channels. When the wood fails, it’s because the number of channels increases to the point that there isn’t enough wood left to support any weight or stress placed on it. Also, when termites burrow into wood, they leave behind small black nodules of waste.

Treatment Options

If dry rot isn’t too far advanced, then it’s possible to treat the wood with boric acid, or some similar substance, which will get rid of the fungi and rejuvenate the structures inside the wood. In very mild cases, simply removing sources of moisture will work too. With termites, there is nothing that can be done to save the wood. It must be replaced.

Replacing the wood isn’t enough, however. A professional must get rid of the termites. Remember, too, that even though the materials of the 21st century are far less toxic than their older counterparts, it still must be a professional so that the work is comprehensive and effective.

Along with showing homeowners how to keep pests out of their homes, Action Pest and Turf is just such a group of professionals that can help with termites and other pests that have already invaded. Contact us today for a free quote and see how we can help!