Drywood Termites

Drywood termites (family Kalotermitidae) are a type of termite that differs from subterranean termites in their nesting and feeding habits. Identifying drywood termites can be challenging because they often infest wood in concealed locations, but there are certain characteristics and signs to look for:

  • Size:
    • Drywood termites vary in size, with workers typically measuring about 1/4 inch (6.35 millimeters) in length.
    • Soldiers are similar in size but have larger, darker heads with strong mandibles.
    • Reproductive alates (swarmers) are larger, often around 3/8 to 1/2 inch (9-13 millimeters) in length.
  • Coloration:
    • Drywood termite workers and soldiers are creamy white to light brown in color.
    • Swarmers have dark brown to black bodies with translucent wings.
  • Antennae:
    • Both workers and soldiers have straight antennae, unlike the bead-like antennae of subterranean termites.
  • Wings:
    • The reproductive alates (swarmers) have two pairs of wings of equal length, and these wings are typically shed after swarming.
  • Behavior:
    • Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies within the wood they infest.
    • Unlike subterranean termites, they do not require contact with soil and do not build mud tubes.
  • Habitat:
    • Drywood termites infest dry, seasoned wood, such as structural wood in buildings, furniture, and dead tree limbs.
    • They establish their colonies entirely within the wood, often hidden from view.
  • Damage:
    • Drywood termites feed on cellulose, damaging wooden structures and items.
    • They create galleries and tunnels within the wood, which can weaken its structural integrity.
    • Infested wood may have small kick-out holes where termites push out fecal pellets, which are often a sign of their presence.
  • Swarming:
    • Like subterranean termites, drywood termites reproduce through swarming. Reproductive alates (swarmers) emerge from colonies during swarming season to mate and start new colonies.
  • Pellets:
    • Drywood termites produce distinctive fecal pellets that are elongated and have a six-sided shape. These pellets can accumulate in infested wood and are often a telltale sign of drywood termite activity.

Identifying drywood termites may require a professional inspection, especially since they often infest concealed areas within structures. If you suspect you have drywood termites in your home or property, it is essential to contact a licensed pest control professional for a thorough inspection, proper identification, and targeted treatment, which may involve localized treatments or fumigation depending on the extent of the infestation.

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