Difference Between Wood Rot, Dry Rot and Termite Damage – Article by DoMyOwnPestControl.com staff and Tauqeer Ul Hassan from EzineArticles.com Expert Author
Subterranean termites and dry rot (kind of wood rot) are the two extremely harmful forces which can destroy even a single item of your home. They both are often misconceived by majority of the people. However, they both look similar but actually they are comparatively different from each other to large an extent. There are certain distinctions which you should know to treat them separately and potentially.
Dry rot is a kind of wood rot in which fungi attack the wood. Fungi destroy the mechanism of wood which make it sturdy and firm. Fungi usually make the wood hollow from inside. A fungus is very much capable of moving water from wet areas to dry one. So you can never rule out the presence of fungi in dry woods.
Subterranean termites are small insects which are extremely deleterious. They usually live in colonies under the soil. These insects come on the surface for eating or digging tunnels. There nourishment is largely based on the cellulose present inside the wood. So, they consume the inner part of the wood and make it useless and hollow.
Both termites and fungi create channels, but the process of making channels is different for the two. Dry rot in many cases looks like the dry brick or dry block. For it creates channels inside the wood by consuming wood and carrying water. On the other hand, termites dig tubes usually called mud tubes with soil, fecal, water or saliva. These tubes help the termites to shift from soil to food in search of food. The channels made by termites usually resemble the branches of the tree and the main channel or trunk standing on the ground.
How They Both Attack
Both termites and fungi have the common way to attack the wooden structures, i.e. exposure to soil. Both termites and fungi attacks through soil and the main reason for this are the cracks in foundation and moisture in the walls and floors. Dry rot is the result of too much contact with moisture. Fungi transfer water from wet surface to the dry surface. On the other hand cracks in foundation pave the path for termites to enter the home and attack the new wooden structures.
How to Control Termites and Dry Rot
Working on leaked pipes and water penetration in basement can be handy to control the mild attacks of dry rot. But for severe attacks of dry rot boric acid or borate is used. Boric acid is also helpful against insect.
Subterranean termite can be control with the help of different insecticides or termiticides. There are certain insecticides which are formulated to target the termites. These insecticides are used on soil and contain some termite baits. The insecticides used today are less toxic than the past. Organophosphates and pyrethroid are famous insecticides today.
How to Prevent Dry Rot and Wood Rot Fungus
Moisture control is the key to preventing wood decay fungi from causing rot. Most wood decay fungi need a moisture content of at least 20% to survive. There are non-chemical and chemical means of moisture control to prevent wood decay fungi.
For new construction, build on a well-drained site with proper grading, and install roof overhang, gutters, etc. to prevent water from seeping under the house.
Untreated wood should be at least 18 inches from the ground.
Vapor barriers such as plastic sheeting can be used on soil surfaces under the home and in crawl spaces.
Ventilation of at least two square feet per 25 lineal feet of wall or one square foot for ever 500 square feet of crawl space should exist under buildings. Ventilators may also be installed, but avoid placing dense foliage nearby.
Dehumidifiers should be used in basements with moisture levels above 50%.
Repair plumbing leaks quickly.
Clear debris from rain gutters.
Fix roof leaks promptly.
Borates such as Bora-care and Timbor should be used on untreated wood that is not exposed to rain. These products can be sprayed, foamed, or brushed onto untreated wood to prevent infestations from wood decay fungi and other wood-destroying organisms.
How to Treat Existing Dry Rot and Wood Rot Fungus
Borates such as Bora-care and Timbor are labeled for remedial treatment of wood decay fungi. These products may be applied directly by brushing, spraying, or injection.
Bora-care can be applied to all cellulosic materials. For remedial control, apply at a mix ratio of 1:1 on wood 4″ or thicker or a ratio of 3:1 for wood with thickness less than 4″. See label for complete application instructions.
Timbor can be applied using one coat of 15% or two coats of 10% solution. Timbor may also be dusted directly onto wood surfaces and into wall voids at a rate of two to three pounds per 100 square feet.
Either mixture can be brushed or sprayed until the area is thoroughly wet. Mixture may also be applied by drilling and injecting the solution directly into infested areas, using enough mixture to cause runoff from exit holes.
Fungi will begin to die a few days after treatment and will dry up, though dead fungi will sometimes emit an odor as they decompose. This should only last a couple days and may be relieved with circulation of fresh air into the area.
Chemical control of wood decay fungi will NOT strengthen or repair the wood itself. Critical structural wood should be replaced in the case of severe damage or weakening. Moisture reduction and control efforts should also accompany repairs.