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Termites (Drywood Termites)
Termites (Drywood Termites)

Termites (Drywood Termites)


  • Color: swarmers – yellowish brown; soldiers – pale; and workers – creamy white with yellow brown heads.
  • Size: 3/8 to 5/8 inch.
  • Swarmer wings have three or more dark veins on the leading edge.
  • Soldiers have large, parallel-sided, red-brown heads with massive mandibles and an odd number of teeth.
  • Fecal pellets are hard, oval shape, 1/25-inch long with blunt ends and six concave sides.

Habits of Drywood Termites:

  • Non-subterranean species, i.e., neither live in the ground nor maintain contact with the soil and do not build mud tubes.
  • Swarming occurs anytime from spring through autumn.
  • Most species swarm at night and are attracted to light.
  • Male and female swarmer reproductives locate a crack or knothole in a suitable piece of wood; gnaw a small tunnel; seal the entry; excavate a small gallery; and mate.
  • After 15 years, a mature colony might have 3,000 individuals; this is a much smaller than found in subterranean termite colonies.
  • Colonies do not survive within unheated structures.
  • Drywood termites can establish a colony in totally non-decayed wood and maintain residence as long as the wood lasts.

Damage From Drywood Termites:

  • Drywood termites are found along the coastal states from North Carolina to California.
  • Typically they do not cause extensive damage in a short period of time, however, left untreated can cause substantial damage in all parts of the structure.

Look for:

  • Swarmers.
  • Accumulations of fecal pellets below “kick out” holes.
  • Colonies in locations such as attics, door and window frames, trim, eaves, furniture, etc.Drywood termites
  • Galleries in wood which cross the grain and chambers and/or galleries which are very clean and appear to be sanded smooth.

How to Control and Kill Drywood Termites:

  • Drywood termites are most effectively controlled using a fumigant, either sulfuryl fluoride or methyl bromide. This involves tenting the structure and maintaining the concentration of the fumigant for a predetermined amount of time.
  • Heat treatment is a relatively new strategy which requires tenting the structure and achieving and maintaining an interior wood temperature of 1200F for 30 minutes. Some items within the structure might be damaged by high core temperatures.
  • A number of strategies are available to control drywood termites that require the services of a pest control company. They include spot-treatment, barrier insecticide treatments, and baiting.

Note: Treatment for drywood termites should be performed only by licensed professional pest control operators.

Innovative Pest Management serves the Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland area. Call us at (240) 755-0077 to schedule a free quote or appointment.