Been down at the marina working on the termite / v berth problem. Got there on Thursday night like I usually do and sure enough there were some droppings on the bed
in the V Berth. Next morning the sky was overcast and by that afternoon it started to rain. The radio
reported the last time we had rain here in Long Beach was a 150 days ago. That night it was pouring, so I get into my snuggly bed
and go to sleep. About an hour or so later, there is water
dripping on my head
from a seam in the plywood
on the port side. I move over and go back to sleep. Get up in the morning and turn the heater on so to dry out the bedding and dry some of the plywood
above. In a couple of hours, the V berth was like a sauna. I was cooking
pancakes when a “fly” landed on me. Then another fly fluttered by gaining and dropping altitude like some drunken pixie. Then another fly careened into my pancake batter. WTF??? Then another fluttered past. Then another. Pretty soon I am batting these pesky pixies right and left. I go to the V berth to check on the heater, and there on the port side where the plywood almost touches the side of the boat, like pepper being shook from a shaker, "flies" were dropping down the side. I was being swarmed. I lift
up my bedding and underneath my comfy pillow where it is warm and dark, maybe 50 to 60 winged termites had been snuggled in for the night.
Needless to say I never did eat my pancakes. Termites in the V Berth is nothing compared to termites in your pancakes. I was pissed.
I finished my coffee and decided today was the day to pay a house call. I started carefully removing the mahogany molding and removed the port and starboard side plywood. I am pretty sure I got all the infected wood out-- I have had no droppings and no termites for the past two days. I cut the plywood back as far as necessary -- I finally got a good clean cut where the wood was white and tight -- no dampness, no discoloration, no swelling, just the good smell of freshly cut wood. I am posting
some pictures for you folks to see.
I think these termites are called Alates. But… I am not going to argue here whether or not they are termites. They molted. They flew. They lost
their wings within minutes of hitting ground, and they (or someone that looks just like them) ate a lot of my plywood.
You can see that the damage to the plywood was extensive. I am pretty sure that they did not make it into the fiberglass core
. In fact they likely could not live there since there is no oxygen. However the core
is pretty screwed up (and that is the topic of next post), and is severely delaminated in places. I have a photograph where they actually tried to eat the fiberglass
. At first I thought it was a perimeter formed by pressure against the plywood, but it would not scrape away, and there is actually an area of indent there.
Both sides of the plywood were infested in a matching pattern, although the port side (where the rain ran through) was far more heavily damaged. I added some pictures of a teak
backing plate used for the Sampson post on the bowsprit
that I sawed in half. As you can see they eat teak
. The sailor here at the dock
did not think it possible for termites to eat teak. Ha!! I sawed that piece in half and if you look closely, a little off center towards your right, you will see some gooey white of a little dude that got sawed in half. His other buddies who poked their heads and looked around when their homes got subdivided receded back into their little dark caverns before I could get their picture.
Like I said above, my next post is going to be about redoing the bow above the V Berth – there is water
egress where fools mounted the windlass
and simply drilled (actually bored) large holes in the teak bowsprit
causing severe water damage in some places. But for now, I wanted to close this post with some pictures.