Termites in Drywall

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Subterranean termite is hidden and crafty vermin.

The insect leads an extremely secret way of life, that is why sometimes it is very difficult to identify the presence of termites’ colony nest inside your house and the problem of infestation becomes irretrievable.

Slightly but surely, termites destroy all wooden structures of a house including basement, walls and ceilings, making a house unlivable and ramshackle.

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If termites like to devour different wooden structures including walls, what about dry walls in your house? Can one be absolutely sure that there are no these nasty insects somewhere except wooden walls?

Are termites beginning to eat everything they are able to find? Today we will try to answer these questions and give you some necessary information how to avoid and get rid of these insects inside your house.

Can Subterranean Termites Infest a Drywall? Do They Eat Plasterboard?

Photo 2Subterranean termites live inside the soil and reach above-ground level food sources via special tunnels that workers build of saliva, mud and their feces.

Walls can draw these nasty insects in case they are in direct contact with the ground (soil).

Wall damage also tends to go undiscovered for long periods of time, as it may begin so far below the level a human can see.

The total surface area of walls that is exposed to the soil is extensively larger than other parts of a house. This large surface area attracts termites as a food source, as many insects can feed on the same piece of wood without having to travel and forage too far beyond their nest.

Termites lead to more tangible damage to walls than to most other parts of infested houses and other buildings: because walls are actually thinner, an infestation spreads more rapidly and severely puts at risk the strength of walls. Cheaper materials, such as laminated plywood or particle board, are often rapidly affected.

Learn more about subterranean termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment and DIY methods. Eastern subterranean termites and their tunnels and tubes with photo.

But what about a drywall? Is it so exposed to a danger of being infested with termites?

Drywall, or sheetrock, is used for finishing walls and ceilings inside a house. It is made of panels of plaster that are enclosed on both sides with thick sheets of paperboard. As all drywalls are partly made of cellulose, termites can readily feed on the paper in drywall and cause serious damage to your house.

Remember, that termites do not eat gypsum itself.

Drywood and subterranean worker termites eat cellulose materials (including drywalls) to feed their colonies. These working termites can life and cause damage all year-round in a properly heated building, eating through the walls of your home and leaving visible traces that need urgent action if discovered.

Photo 3In fact, subterranean termites do more than mere damage to a drywall.

They also eat into the wood baseboard at the bottom of the wall. As they need moisture badly, they often eat sheetrock panels around plumbing pipes.

A serious structural damage occurs when they eat away load-bearing walls that support the upper floor or roof of the house (in the most serious and neglected cases).

Actually, the answer is “yes”: termites can live inside a drywall and they do eat panels of plaster that are enclosed on both sides of gypsum since they are made of cellulose.

Here you can learn more information about effective termite control remedies: Bora-Care, Boric acid, Borate, Fipronil, Chlorpyrifos, Chlordane, Borax, Timbor, Termidor, Terminator, Phantom, Lorsban, Biflex, Terro. You can choose different forms, such as – foam, liquid, powder.

How to Identify Termites Inside a Drywall?

There are some signs of subterranean termites’ infestation of a drywall that will help you to identify the pest in time and take some necessary treatment measures against them:

  • Since subterranean termites often devour walls from the inside out, there may be some visible traces of injury: from the inside of a drywall you can notice some small “trails” that indicate the paths of tunnels for working termites.
  • Sometimes different termites leave small holes in the drywall paper. Subterranean termites use soil to fill these little holes, drywood termites do not. If you mark pin-sized holes in sheetrock or wallpaper, call a special termite inspection before making any type of repairs.
  • Sometimes it is possible to find mud tubes under the wallpaper. Termites make these tubes of mud, salvia and their feces. They travel via these mud tunnels to discover new places in their search for food and moisture. It is one of the surest signs.
  • There are some ways to inspect a drywall for termites that can be fulfilled only by professionals. For example, termite experts can look for drywood termite droppings (or frass) – a sign of a nearby infestation – and check the wall’s soundness.
  • Specialists also may use infrared scanners to check temperature variations within the ceiling or walls of your house. Certain variations in temperature can possibly indicate areas with high moisture level or potential termite infestation.
Recommendation: since there are signs of infestation that can be discovered with naked eye (for example, during renovation) it is better to entrust this examination to specialists. Only a specialist can conduct a comprehensive inspection of your house for termites’ activity and look for some hidden traces. Also, a specialist can give you a consultation if there is some activity concerning different termites’ treatment measures.

Here you can learn more information about termite bait systems: Advance, Green, CSIRO, Nemesis, Exterra, Firstline, Terminate. Also find out how to make baits by yourself and how to refill them?

What Treatment Measure Is the Most Effective One?

Photo 4The destruction of the whole colony and not just the termites in the walls is important to prevent injury to other parts of the building.

If pest damage is limited to one or two sheetrock, it can be replaced. However, if you discover traces of termites in sheetrock, get a professional consultation with a specialist to confirm there is no extra damage behind the drywall.

If termites caused damage to a sheetrock, they may have damaged wall studs or ceiling joists near this very sheetrock. In this case, it will be very difficult to repair.

Since termites are discovered, it is very important to take a combination of measures against these nasty pests: there is a process that applies the termites’ natural behaviors to cause the nest and colony to die of starvation (i.e. without cellulose and moisture).

The process uses a special baiting system to murder the workers responsible for feeding the entire colony. This method is considered to be the most effective one.

Advice: however, some sources recommend immediate spraying of Termidor or Premise into the wall voids and exterior soil near the problem drywall before installing bait stations.

This very treatment is crucial as working termites can lead to a serious damage during the time it takes for them to find the bait and conduct the whole feeding cycle.

Be careful! Though modern termicides are water-based and completely safe for the mammals, one should not neglect the simple rules of self-protection. When applying Termidor or Premise, do not forget about protective gloves, glasses and respirator. After the treatment wash all your clothes and take a shower. It is prohibited to smoke, eat and drink during the treatment. It can be dangerous! It is better to call a professional to make this kind of work!

There are also some treatment measures that are considered to be not so effective in comparison with above mentioned one:

  • Essential (vetiver) oils. Put the oil into a water and spray on the infested wall. Not effective if there is a serious problem already.
  • Boric acid. Use as for essential oils. Low effectiveness.
Warning! It is very important to conduct treatment for several times (chemicals doesn’t kill eggs) and change termicides (the next generation of termites can easily become resistant to active ingredient of a termicide).

Useful articles

If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:


Photo 5Termites is a very serious problem that badly needs the work of a specialist.

We recommend you not to rely on DIY treatment measures and always try to consult with a specialist.

Once neglected, termites’ colony can rapidly grow and invade the whole house destroying all necessary house structures as ceilings, walls and floors.

Do not forget about annual inspection that is also better to entrust to a specialist.

1 comment
  1. Dylan

    While working on this article, I have come across an interesting case. There was a woman who wanted to sell her house but she accidentally discovered a hundreds of swarming termites in the wall of her bathroom (under the tile). She concealed the problem from the future owners. In a couple of months, new dwellers discovered the problem and issued this woman for selling a house with undisclosed damage. They proved that she had known about termites. She covered all the expenses connected with termite treatment and whole house renovation, plus moral damage. What is done by night appears by day!

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