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The three most important species of termites damaging wood structures in California are the western subterranean termite, the common drywood termite, and the Pacific Coast dampwood termite.
Random sampling shows that in California the majority of homes eventually become infested with subterranean or drywood termites, or both. Although the Uniform Building Code, Federal Housing Authority (F.H.A.) specifications, and city codes have resulted in a considerable improvement in construction methods, other current conditions and practices tend to favor termite infestation. Slab-on-ground construction does not decrease the incidence of infestation, but greatly increases the difficulties of inspection and control of termites.
The Structural Pest Control Act has been an important factor in the improvement and the standardization of termite control practices in California. The new Minimum Property Standards of the F.H.A., based on recommendations of the Building Research Advisory Board, should lead to more adequate knowledge of the relative importance of termites in the various regions of the country and the appropriate minimum standards for the prevention or control of termites and industrial decay in these regions.
The biologies and currently recommended control measures for the principal California termite species are given and certain recent innovations in termite control are discussed.
Professor of Entomology, University of California, Los Angeles, Calif.