Stolotermitinae

Stolotermitinae is the name of a sub–family of termites in the family Termopsidae. These are dampwood termites. They get their common name because they make their nest in wood that is moist or decaying.

There are seven species of termites in this sub–family. Stolotermes ruficeps, S. inopinus, S. victoriensis, S. brunneicornis, S. africanus, S. queenslandicus, and S. australicus.

These were once classified with the harvester termites, Hodotermitidae, but they have been re–classified into the Termopsidae.

The Stolotermitinae are found in Australia and New Zealand. Many colonies can be found in the forest where the termites infest rotting logs and stumps. People sometimes refer to them as "wet wood termites" and "rotten wood termites".

These termites also attack living trees. They invade near the ground level. They move behind the bark. The termites can move up into the tree but do not usually get into the heartwood.

Dampwood termites can attack landscape timbers, poles, pilings, and even bridge supports. They have been found in wharves and piers where wood is always wet.

These termites can invade buildings if there is moisture present. They can travel through damp, decaying wood and move into sound wood that is adjacent.

Scientists have found that the Stolotermitinae can adjust to changes of season. In cold weather, they produce chemicals that work like anti–freeze inside their bodies. These chemicals enable the termites to survive the cold. The termites do not produce the chemicals in warm weather.

Dampwood termite colonies are usually small. Since they do not invade wood that is dry, they are not known to cause much structural damage or economic loss.

When these termites are discovered, the damaged wood can often be removed and replaced. Many building codes require treated wood to be used if it will be in contact with the soil. This usually eliminates the termites as well, because they do not survive exposure.

Homeowners and business owners can protect exterior lumber by treating it with products like borates. These products are absorbed into the wood. They stay in the wood without affecting the appearance or strength. The borate material is toxic to termites that try to eat the wood.

Homeowners can also inspect the home to be sure there are no moisture conditions that might enable termites to survive near the home. Plumbing leaks and dripping faucets should be repaired. Air conditioner drip pipes and downspouts should drain away from the foundation of the home.

Firewood should be moved away from the house. Scrap wood should be removed from the crawlspace and the yard. Mulch should be raked back from the foundation. A 12" "clear zone" next to the foundation will help deter termites.