Drywood Termite (Scientific name = Cryptotermes cavifrons; Insecta: Isoptera: Kalotermitidae)
Western Drywood Termite (Incisitermes minor)
Desert Drywood Termite (Marginitermes hubbardi)
The three types of drywood termite, the Desert Drywood Termite the Western Drywood Termite and the Drywood Termite, make up this common termite species.
Drywood termite colonies, made up of thousands of termites, are comparatively small (certain varieties of subterranean termite colonies can have numbers in the millions) and primitive and can remain active for decades. Drywood termite colonies begin slowly, with some colonies growing to only 20 members within the first year.
Signs of Drywood Termite Infestation
Small piles of termite fecal pellets (elongated, round ended pellets measuring roughly 0.8 mm in length, with 6 flat or roundly depressed surfaces separated by 6 vertical ridges) originating from small wood openings known as “kickouts” signal a drywood termite infestation.
Kickouts are formed when drywood worker termites bore holes into wood to shoot out debris from the colony’s tunnels.
In addition to the elongated, ridged pellets and the kickouts, termite swarms are another sign of a drywood termite infestation. Winged reproductive drywood termites commonly swarm around a house or other structure on warm days in the fall.
How to Spot a Western Drywood Termite
Larger than subterranean termites, winged adult drywood termites have smoky black wings with black veins, dark brown bodies, reddish-brown heads and thorax and measure roughly 1/2 inch long.
Winged desert termites are pale in color, unlike the dark drywood termite. Desert termite soldiers are easy to recognize because of their third antennal segment that is club-shaped and nearly as long as all its other segments.
Drywood Termites vs. Subterranean Termites
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites spend all of their lives above the ground and can handle dry climates for extended periods of time. Because they do not require the moisture
levels that subterranean termites do, drywood termites of all types do not connect their nests to soil.
Where are drywood termites found?
Drywood termites are found in dry, un-decayed wood, including dead tree limbs, posts, utility poles and both structural and stored lumber.
Winged reproductive drywood termites move from these locations to homes and other buildings on a seasonal basis. It is common for mated termite pairs to access a building through roof shingles, openings around windows and doors, or through attic vents. Drywood termites are known to enter homes through foundation vents in hot, dry locations.
Most commonly found in roof structures and attics and, to a lesser degree in foundation vents, drywood termites also have been found in wooden crates and boxes, and even in furniture.
How does a drywood termite infestation start?
A drywood termite infestation begins with a mated termite pair that constructs a small chamber that they enter, then seal.
How common are drywood termites?
Drywood termites are a commonly found termite throughout California, including Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Solano County, and are the most common termite found in Southern California.