Pacific Dampwood Termite (Scientific name = Zootermopsis angusticollis)
Nevada Dampwood Termite (Zootermopsis nevadensis)
Like drywood termite, dampwood termites are considered a primitive termite group (as opposed to the more complex subterranean termites).
While subterranean termites have a hierarchy, drywood termites have no social structure to their colonies, which are made up of soldiers, reproductives and the nymphs, who operate similarly to the worker termites found in subterranean termite colonies.
Where are dampwood termites found?
Dampwood termites nest inside wood that is buried in the ground. Unlike subterranean termites that require direct contact with the soil, dampwood termites do not need to build nests in the soil itself. Rather, they are found in wood that has the high moisture content they need to survive.
Dampwood termites commonly live in humid, cool coastal areas. They are common beach house pests. Known to attack wood that is decaying, dampwood termites also can be found in sound wood in living or dead trees, which they access via the tree’s root system.
Unlike most common dampwood termites, the Nevada Dampwood Termite is found in high mountainous areas that are dryer than the regions typical dampwood termites require. Nevada dampwood termites can be spotted in the mountain homes and forest structures in the Sierra, as well as throughout Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Solano County.
Signs of a Dampwood Termite Infestation
Winged reproductive dampwood termites are known to swarm in the summer and early fall (from July through October), though dampwood termite swarms can be spotted other times of the year as well.
Dampwood termite fecal pellets (and Nevada dampwood termite fecal pellets) are distinct. The ability to spot them can be a helpful way to determine a dampwood termite infestation.
Rounded on either end, a dampwood termite fecal pellet has flat sides and is elongated, but does not have the longitudinal ridges that are the hallmark of a drywood termite fecal pellet. Like the drywood termite, the dampwood termite expels its pellets through kickouts, openings in wood that the termite creates. However, dampwood termites are also known to clump pellets together and store them in unused tunnels in more damp areas.
How to Spot a Dampwood Termite
Dampwood termites are large. In fact, they are the largest species of termite that is found in Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Solano County, California.
At nearly one inch long, winged reproductive dampwood termites have brown wings and darker brown bodies.
Dampwood termite soldiers are noticeable because of their flattened yellow-brown or brown heads and elongated mandibles that are dark brown or black in color.
The creamy colored drywood termite nymphs have a distinguishable spotted abdominal pattern.
Smaller, and a bit darker, the reproductive Nevada dampwood termite is roughly 3/4 inch long.