Drywood Termites: Identification, Causes, Prevention & Treatment Cost

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Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites: Identification, Causes, Prevention & Treatment Cost

It is a specific species of termite that lives in the wood and does not burrow into the soil. Drywood has to be treated differently from the regular kind because baits and other methods will not work on them. Drywood termites are a specific species, which is less common in the United States than the subterranean termite. Drywood get their name because they live in wood that has very little moisture.

Drywood termites are generally only found in a narrow stretch bordering the southern part of the U.S. in the following states: California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Sometimes they are encountered outside these states, mainly when an infested piece of furniture has been shipped somewhere else.

It has been said that termites have done a lot of damages amounting to billion dollars in the United States’ homes every year. The worst thing is, it is seldom included in homeowners’ insurances and policies. There is less publicity as well on the danger brought by termite infestation. It leads many homeowners to stick with the idea that it is not necessary at all to perform preventive measures.

On the other hand, there are still people who do annual inspections to avoid major damages that could happen to their homes. In North America, there are two major termite families known, the termites drywood and subterranean. Both of them feed on cellulose elements like dried plants, books, and other furniture or structural wood. Subterranean species burrow in the ground while a drywood termite doesn’t even need the soil. When a drywood termite colony is present in your home, it can disperse widely in many rooms and floors.

Drywood termites are less common when compared to subterranean termites. Most of them can be found in a coastal area like in Southern and Southwestern States. The damages done by drywood termites are substantial. You will identify that there is already drywood termites infestation if there are piles of fecal pellets. They are noticeable in places like windowsills. If you can see these piles of pellets in your place, it’s a visible sign that there is a termite infestation. If you are in doubt, you can ask a pest control expert who can provide you with a detailed termites inspection regarding it.

Where do they live?

Drywood termites can create a lot of new colonies in wood structures. Sometimes, a drywood termite is present in cellulose material, too, but not connected underground. Most of the time, they are in dry attic wood where there are small holes and less moisture.

These termites often live not just in houses, but in anything made of dry wood. They aren’t stuck living near the soil, like a subterranean termite. They burrow into the wood, sealing it up behind them with what looks like a daub of mud. You can often found them because they will get rid of all the feces and waste from the nest in little pellets. You will see them littering the ground near an infested piece of wood termites. A drywood termite often lives in attic spaces, or outside in stumps or dead trees.

It’s essential to find out exactly which kind of termite you have because you CAN’T treat this pest the same way as any others – because a drywood termite does not burrow into the earth, bait systems are useless against drywood termites pest. You either have to directly apply pesticides to any wood with termites, nematodes to the nest, or fumigate your home for termites droppings (or at least the infected area). That is often a minimal area – unlike regular termites. A drywood termite has smaller colonies and is usually limited to furniture or a specific part of the house where there are small holes. They are considered easier to control than other pest species because of this. Drywood termite is also less damaging because the smaller or new colonies eat wood at a much slower rate.

A pest control company should be able to determine the extent and cost of the infestation and will fumigate if it is bad enough. If not, the pest control team will do what is called a termite spot treatment. They will drill a hole into the infested wood with termite colony and pump insecticides into it, killing off the termites and other pest. The insecticide can be liquid, or an aerosol sprayed into the nest, wood, or sometimes even dust. They also do not make mud tubes, so you will not see that standard sign when looking for a drywood termite.

What do Drywood Termites Look Like?

Its Wings

Swarmers or alates consist of 2 sets of wings. The front part has a pattern of 3 well-pigmented veins and heavy. The drywood termites can shed their wings quickly after the swarming process. When a drywood termite dies, the wings are not attached to the swarmer’s body. It is how you can identify the different characters of a drywood termite from subterranean termites because subterranean pest swarmers still consist of dead swarmers with or without the wings. Swarmers of this kind can be 12 mm long.

Its Body

Drywood soldiers consist of huge mandibles or mouthparts with teeth. Their pronotum is wider than their head. Drywood worker caste and soldiers are bigger compared to subterranean worker caste and soldiers colonies.

Are drywood termites dangerous?

Drywood termites need all the moisture they can get to survive and improve from air’s humidity. They can get this from the wood they try to consume. It is the reason why a drywood termite can still survive even without the soil. They don’t need to do their nest underground. Instead, they construct it in dry wood above-the-ground. A drywood termite can enter your house through an exposed wood or any infested materials like wooden furniture.

Termite and pest infestation is limited to one location of the house or widespread too. The damage can be extensive because of the drywood termites chew tunnels inside the wood beams or any wooden items. These items can be weakened if there is a drywood termite or termite colonies in there. At this point, the home repair caused by drywood termite damaging your wood structure can be very costly because it may include home fumigation methods.

How can you tell drywood termites?


When termite colonies of drywood termite become mature, the winged male and female reproductive pests are produced. The reproductive of termites fly out from their colony to make a new colony right after the mating stage. Heavy rains and warm temperatures instigate swarm or pest.


The drywood termites extracted a lot of water from feces to conserve it. It resulted in distinct fecal pellets, which are also called grass. Their shape is hexagonal and similar to the size of 1 mm long. The drywood termites can kick them out from the tunnel. When it comes to the appearance of pellets mounds, it indicates a lot of activity. It’s vital to understand that pellets can stay indefinite from a dead colony and mislead the house owner with their current activity. It is time to inform your trusted termite control expert about this termite activity so that they can do something about it as soon as possible.

How do you treat drywood termites?

Every property or home is different. A termite control professional understands this, and whenever you need their help, they can design a unique program or plan for your termite problem.

As homeowners, you have to understand that keeping termites out of your house is an ongoing process. It is not just a one-time treatment but a continuous method or cycle with three critical steps. It includes assessment, implementation, and monitoring.

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