If you own a home in the Florida Keys, the chances are that you have experienced a drywood termite infestation or will have to deal with one in the future. As their name implies, drywood termites spend almost their entire life cycle inside of sound, dry wood members upon which they feed. Only during brief swarming flights do young adults leave the confines of their galleries inside of the wood to begin new colonies elsewhere. Winged adults or "swarmers", shed wings, ejected pellets, galleries inside of the wood are typical signs of a drywood termite infestation.
Due to unfavorable soil conditions, subterranean termites are not common in the Florida Keys. However, native subterranean termites have been found on rare occasions as far south as Big Pine Key and in 1999 an exotic species of subterranean termites was discovered in Key West. This non-native species is called Coptotermes gestroi or Asian subterranean termite.
Damage from Asian subterranean termites is severe because their colony size can grow to over a million termites. They live in the soil and build foraging tubes that connect their colonies to the structures that they are feeding on. If an alternative moisture source is available above the ground it is possible for a colony to build an aerial nest and live without traveling back into the soil. In this situation a structural fumigation may be needed in addition to typical subterranean termite control methods. These methods consist of either baiting systems or creating a chemical barrier in the ground around the structure with a liquid termiticide.