Drywood Termites

What do drywood termites look like?

  • Drywood termites are common throughout Florida, Palm Coast, St. Augustine, and the greater Jacksonville area homes and their swarmers are yellowish-brown; soldiers pale; and workers – creamy-white with yellow-brown heads.
  • They are approximately 3/8 to 5/8 inch.
  • Swarmer wings have three or more noticeable and dark veins on the leading edge.
  • Soldiers defend the colony and have large, parallel-sided, red-brown heads with massive mandibles and an odd number of teeth.
  • Fecal pellets are one of the evidence-based defining characteristics of infestation and are hard, oval shape, 1/25-inch long with blunt ends and six concave sides.
  • Sometimes, members of the colony are not visible; yet the fecal pellets will allow for proper diagnosis of infestation.  

What are the habits of drywood termites?

  • Drywoods are non-subterranean species, i.e., neither live in the ground nor maintain contact with the soil and do not build mud tubes and swarming occurs anytime from spring through autumn.
  • Most species swarm at night and post emergence, they are attracted to light.
  • Male and female swarmers (reproductive) locate a crack or knothole in a suitable piece of wood; gnaw a small tunnel; seal the entry; excavate a small gallery; and mate.
  • Drywood colonies tend to be small in nature and grow slowly.  Thus, after 15 years, a mature colony might have only 3,000 members versus subterranean termite colonies—that can have up to 3,000,000 members.
  • Drywood termites can establish a colony in totally non-decayed wood such as timber, floor joists, a wooden chair, etc…, and maintain residence as long as the wood lasts.

What kind of damage can occur from drywood termite infestations?

  • Drywood termites are found along the coastal states from Florida to California.
  • Typically, drywoods do not cause significant damage over short durations; however, if left unchecked, they can cause substantial damage throughout structures (over many years and decades).  

What should I look for when looking for drywood termites?

  • Look for the presence of fecal pellets on floors of attics, basements or ledges underneath exposed timber framing members, joists, etc…
  • Look for colonies and 1/8” exit holes in timber members, furniture, trim or eaves, or around window frames. 
  • Galleries in wood which cross the grain and chambers and/or galleries which are very clean and appear to be sanded smooth.

How do I kill drywood termites in my home?  

  • Although drywood termites are most effectively controlled using a fumigant such as either sulfuryl fluoride or methyl bromide, this often cost-prohibitive process involves tenting the structure and maintaining the concentration of the fumigant for a predetermined amount of time.
  • The benefit to tent-fumigation for north-Florida homes is that the fumigant penetrates all infested areas and is extremely effective.  The downside however, is that once the fumigant is cleared from the structure, there is no residual product left behind to protect against invading colonies in the future. 
  • A number of targeted termiticidal strategies are available to control drywood termites that require the services of a pest control company. These strategies include: spot-treatment, barrier insecticide treatments, and/or baiting systems.  
  • During new construction, timber members and framing components can be treated to prevent damage from dyewoods, subterranean termites and Formosan termites. 

Treatment for drywood termites should only be performed only by licensed professional pest control operators like our Innotech Pest Mangement professionals.