Drywood Termites: Facts, Identification & Control

-

Drywood Termites: Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Genera Kalotermes & Incisitermes

Appearance

Larger than subterranean termites, up to one-half inch long; no worker caste in the colony.

Habit

Create colonies in wood, with no connection to the ground necessary; often found in attic wood; need very little moisture.

Diet

Wood and occasionally other cellulose material.

Reproduction

Nymphs pass through seven instars before reaching adulthood; sexual forms eventually swarm to form new colony.

Other Facts

It is estimated that termites cause over a billion dollars of damage to United States homes each year. Unlike fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, termite damage is seldom covered in homeowner insurance policies. The dangers of termite infestation are also under-publicized, leading most homeowners to believe that no preventive measures are necessary. However, annual inspections are an effective means of preventing major damage to your home.

There are two major families of termite present in North America: subterranean and drywood termites. Both species feed on cellulose material, including books, plants and carpets, as well wood. While subterranean termites burrow underground, drywood termites live within wood itself. After a colony of drywood termites has gained entrance to a home, they are capable of dispersing widely throughout many rooms and floors.

When a drywood termite colony is mature, swarms of winged male and female reproductive insects are produced. These reproductive termites fly out of their colony to create new colonies after mating. Warm temperatures and heavy rains instigate swarms.

Although drywood termites are far less common than subterranean termites and are found primarily in coastal, southern states and the Southwestern states, the damage they cause is substantial. Drywood termite infestations are identifiable by piles of fecal pellets. These fecal pellets are often first noticed in places like windowsills. If you find piles of tiny pellets in your home, it could be a sign of a drywood termite infestation. A trained pest control professional can provide a thorough inspection.