About Drywood Termites

Identifying Drywood Termites:

  • Inspection should be completed by a licensed pest control operator
  • Discovery of droppings inside
  • Discovery of wings inside
  • Presence outside is a natural phenomenon and is not an indication of home infestation

Signs of a Drywood Termite infestation



  • Drywood termites produce characteristic fecal pellets (droppings)
  • Pellets are released through “kick holes” that drywood termites construct
  • The pellets tend to accumulate on surfaces located below the kick holes and are usually the first evidence of a drywood termite infestation
  • Hard
  • Rounded ends
  • Six flattened or concavely depressed sides with ridges
  • Light tan in color with some black mixed in
Drywood Swarmers


  • Reproductive
  • Vary in body color from dark brown to light yellowish-tan
  • Wings are clear to smoke gray and have distinvtive veins
  • Swarming occurs usually at dusk or during the night
  • Swarers tend to fly towards areas of light
  • Swarms occur due to environmental conditions
  • Swarmers fly to start new colonies
Termite Wings


  • The discovery of drywood termite wings is another sign of infestation
  • The presence of wings or live termites outside a home is a natural phenomenon and is not an implication of a home being infested
  • When a pair of swarmers unite, they shed their wings and immediately attempt to enter the wood
Termite Damage

Drywood Termite Damage

  • Drywood termites infest and area until it has been completely consumed
  • Drywood termites eat across the grain of the wood which creates chambers and galleries for them to inhabit
  • If homes are not properly treated and maintained, damages can run into the thousands of dollars

Facts About Drywood Termites:

  • Belong to Kalotermitidae family
  • Soldiers and the alates are the only types of termites that can be accurately identified.
  • Drywoods are easier to control than subterranean because drywood termite infestations are limited to a single piece of wood or wood item.
  • Colonies can contain up to about 2,000 termites
  • Colony development is slow but severe structural damage may be caused by multiple colonies
  • Severe damage may be caused by multiple colonies
  • Most colonies remain small but multiple colonies can be in the same piece of wood which may contain up to 10,000 individuals.
  • Colonies grow through the queen’s increased egg production and the accumulation of long-lived individuals
  • After 3-4 years, colonies may consist of up to 1,000 members
  • After about 10-15 years, colony members can be over 3,000!
  • Infest wooden framing and studs of homes
  • The first swarm is after the colony is approximately four years old
  • Have alates class – flying termites
    1. Vary in body color from dark brown to light yellowish tan
      Wings are clear to smoke gray and have distinctive veins
      Swarms occur due to environmental conditions
      Swarmers usually number in the dozens, occasionally hundreds
    1. • The number will be proportionate to the age and the size of the current colony
  • Fly in high numbers from mature colonies at certain times of the year
  • In a swarm, the alates find mates and search for dead wood to start another colony
  • Only a small number of swarmers survive to develop colonies
  • Swarmers enter through small cracks or exposed end grain
  • A very small nest develops after the pair has mated
    1. These are the new king and queen
  • Immatures will hatch within several weeks and then shortly after, they assume the role of the workers
  • As the queen matures, she will be able to lay more eggs
  • The new colony will stabilize when a queen reaches maximum egg production
  • Colonies are started in dead wood in which there isn’t a water source
  • Drywood termites but either get water though extracting water from which they feed or from their environment
  • They have the ability to produce water internally during the digestive process
  • Live in wood with less than 12% of moisture (hence the name drywood termite)
  • Termites can be distributed by people who move infested furniture or infested wood.
  • On occasion, new wood material is installed with termites already infesting.
  • Drywoods live within their food
    1. Eat across the wood grain and create chambers connected by tunnels
      Tunnels are smooth with the presence of fecal pellets
      Live within their food source
      Make kick out holes so they can remove their waste
      • Pellets are hard, elongate oval with rounded ends
      • Six concave sides
      • Homeowners usually notice the pilings of the waste under the kick out holes
  • Homeowner should pay particular attention to windows, door frames, and moldings on the interior
  • On the exterior, any areas that have chipped paint, cracks and seams, or areas that have a high concentration of moisture.


  • Denying termites access to wood
  • Remove all potential sources of outdoor infestation
    1. Stored lumber
      Scrap lumber
      Dead trees
      Woody shrubbery
  • Screen vents
  • Maintain maintenance on window screens
  • Drywoods will not enter wood that has a complete coat of paint
    1. Before painting, seal any cracks, crevices and joints with wood putty.


Alabama A&M & Auburn Universities – Journal #ANR1170