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Old 04-12-2015, 23:32   #1
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Yikes. Termites.

A yacht in our marina has discovered termites aboard. How much of a threat is this? Is there a preventative treatment? Is this a common problem? How quickly can they spread?
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Old 05-12-2015, 00:27   #2
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

It happens, and it is a problem for the infested boat. I've seen fiberglass boats which were totaled by termites destroying the bulkheads. They should call in a professional exterminator as soon as possible. Termites can reproduce by flying alates which can spread the colonies to any untreated wood, such as docks and other unpainted boat woods. Drywood termites are less agressiveand destructive than the subteranean variety, but are endemic in Hawaii
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Old 05-12-2015, 03:58   #3
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

We know of three boats here that have been essentially totaled by termites in the past couple of years. It's the Formosa termite, which will keep eating cellulose until it runs out. They will even eat teak at the end, which of course is toxic. They eat paper, cardboard, and soft woods first. They will eat pressure treated wood, as well. Not all of it, but we just spent a huge amount of money replacing the roof on an eight year old house here.

Once you see them in your boat, don't waste time spraying chemicals on the part you see and hoping it kills them. You have to rip out all the infected wood immediately. Aggressively. And hope you get it all.
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Old 05-12-2015, 04:32   #4
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

We used to wake up in French Harbor Roatan with termite wings all over the boat. After they land they chew there wings off and start looking for your wood. Never got them inside. One boat did and had to do a lot of work.
One thing. Keep the water out of the bilge etc. Termites need a source for water and if no water they go away.
We got a poison from Orkin and treated the boat. I think it helped.
Bigger problem in the Rio Dulce was dry post beetles. Lots of bugs down here.
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Old 05-12-2015, 11:28   #5
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

The only 'cure' we've found for termites in our house is regular tenting. The xterminator covers the boat with a tent and then pumps in a very toxic nerve gas and maintains the low pressure for 24 hours. The gas under pressure gets into the inaccessable locations where the queen and the eggs live and die. Have seen a couple of boats that were left unattended for a long period and termites pretty much ruined the interiors. They eat the heart out of solid and ply wood leaving a paper thin surface layer.

External spraying and the 'Orange oil' treatmets only kill the workers but leave the queen to replace the munchers.
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Old 11-01-2016, 15:46   #6
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

Had a friend who had a Westsail 32 a few years back in New Orleans. His boat was a mess and had many rain water leaks. The drawers would not open as they had swollen due to the moisture. He discovered that he had formosan termites. They had damaged the mahogany but had not touched the teak at all. Lent him a dehumidifier. He let it run for three weeks and had the boat closed up. When he went out to check he was amazed, as he discovered what appeared to be grains of rice all over the flat surfaces. The rice turned out to be dead termites. There were so many that it appeared that someone had just gotten married and rice had been thrown by hundreds. What he discovered was that the critters had killed by the dehumidifier due to lack of moister.

A termite expert checked and found that the boat was termite free without tenting or poison. It was repaired and is still around.


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Old 11-01-2016, 21:59   #7
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

Apparently dry wood termites need very little moisture. They are destructive but only slowly with a muted colony consuming only about 1/2 lb of wood per year. Vikane gas fumigation seems to be about the only effective option but it's really hard to find anyone who can do it outside of Florida or Hawaii. I bought my boat in Mexico in 2013 and this fall I found about 50 winged adults over a few days do I have some aboard. I can't locate the nest and I'm going to get serious about finding someone in the PNW who can fumigate for me when the weather warms up as it has to be warmer for the agent to work. Has anyone in the PNW had any experience with dry wood termites especially do you know a good pest control company that can do my boat for me?
I'm also running a heater and a dehumidifier in the boat in the hopes that will at least slow them down. I have not identify any damage yet but I know they're there! Currently the relative humidity in the boat is running between 45 and 50%.



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Old 12-01-2016, 00:35   #8
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svadagio View Post
We used to wake up in French Harbor Roatan with termite wings all over the boat. After they land they chew there wings off and start looking for your wood. Never got them inside. One boat did and had to do a lot of work.
One thing. Keep the water out of the bilge etc. Termites need a source for water and if no water they go away.
We got a poison from Orkin and treated the boat. I think it helped.
Bigger problem in the Rio Dulce was dry post beetles. Lots of bugs down here.
Bob
When you get those alate storms in an anchorage it's a real b@£ch. I shut everthing immediately and hose the boat off intermittently for hours, then usually release a "bug bomb" the next day in each of the main areas, leaving all lockers etc. open but the boat sealed. Meantime I will usually issue a VHF warning to neighbouring boats to do the same. Sometimes I have had literally thousands land in a night. Usually tens or hundreds, but always a right pain. Fortunately they seem to do it on one night only, and quite intermittently.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:02   #9
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

Formosans swarm here in South Louisiana from mid May to late June every year. Swarming is not on every evening but there is no way to tell and it usually occurs between sundown and 2130 hrs. Experts advise to turn out all lights during that time as they go to light during swarming. They are very visible under street lights or bright lights around homes, businesses, or boats etc. After the swarming season we are advised to turn on the lights as needed as they then are offended and repelled by lights then. A real pain and very destructive.


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Old 12-01-2016, 06:59   #10
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

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. He discovered that he had formosan termites. They had damaged the mahogany but had not touched the teak at all.

They would have gone to the teak when everything else with cellulose in it had been consumed. It's their last choice, but they will eat it. It doesn't take all that much to stop them, either. Just a single coat of varnish or paint seems to be enough. But if there is a gap or crack around a piece of end grain....they can find it. And once on the other side of the paint or varnish, they're quite happy to much away until it all falls apart.

They ate pressure treated beams in our roof here. Despite all the yellow plastic "Toxic warning" signs that had been stapled to the wood. I guess they can't read english.
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Old 12-01-2016, 09:00   #11
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

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They would have gone to the teak when everything else with cellulose in it had been consumed. It's their last choice, but they will eat it. It doesn't take all that much to stop them, either. Just a single coat of varnish or paint seems to be enough. But if there is a gap or crack around a piece of end grain....they can find it. And once on the other side of the paint or varnish, they're quite happy to much away until it all falls apart.

They ate pressure treated beams in our roof here. Despite all the yellow plastic "Toxic warning" signs that had been stapled to the wood. I guess they can't read english.
Once had them, formosan, on a back porch where we lived a few years back. They had not gotten to the house yet but had destroyed two small creosote supports for the porch. I descovered them marching across a board in single file formation heading for another area. They were exposed for about 12 inches or so. I poured a puddle of straight Clorox bleach on the trail expecting it kill them on contact. They continued to march right through it not even attempting to change course and go around. They just kept coming, unfazed, these things are tough. Reminded me of the movie where the giant ants were crossing the river on leaves, totally determined.
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Old 12-01-2016, 21:42   #12
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

Formosun termites are very destructive but cannot infest a boat. They are subterranean and "commute" from their soil based nest to feet on cellulose (wood). At least that's my understanding from reading about it.


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Old 12-01-2016, 21:43   #13
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

Feed that is


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Old 13-01-2016, 07:10   #14
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

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Formosun termites are very destructive but cannot infest a boat. They are subterranean and "commute" from their soil based nest to feet on cellulose (wood). At least that's my understanding from reading about it.


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Here in South Louisiana we have two types of termites, Subterranean and Formosun, according to the experts who address the termite issue annually on TV etc. they both swarm in the spring. According to those experts only Formosuns can infest a boat as they are not subterranean. The subterranean ones apparently must stay out of the sun and retreat back to the soil and even build small tunnels up the slab of a house from the soil to the wood, just to avoid the light. The Formosuns may live in nest above the ground. Subterraneans are black in color while those referred to as Formosuns are reddish brown and are larger. We have samples, in a jar, of what are known in this area, at least, as Formosans, which were taken from a boat here, in New Orleans, which we repaired.

Not to argue, could be that in different areas of the world different names are applied to different species.
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Old 13-01-2016, 07:13   #15
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Re: Yikes. Termites.

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Originally Posted by nshawdvm View Post
Formosun termites are very destructive but cannot infest a boat. They are subterranean and "commute" from their soil based nest to feet on cellulose (wood). At least that's my understanding from reading about it.


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Not true. They fly. They live in the wood they are eating, not the soil. At least the ones that ate the roof of our house were pretty happy in the attic.

I have a new $ 80,000. education in what termites will and won't do.

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