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How to Identify Drywood Termites

identifying drywood termites guide

I've got some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that your home may be infested with drywood termites.

The good news is that I'm here to help you identify these pesky critters.

In this article, we'll go over all the telltale signs of a drywood termite infestation, from their distinctive droppings to the small exit holes they create.

By the end, you'll be armed with the knowledge you need to liberate your home from these destructive pests.


I'm going to give you a brief overview of the different types of drywood termites. Drywood termites belong to the family Kalotermitidae and are known for infesting dry wood structures.

There are three main species of drywood termites that are commonly found: Incisitermes minor, Cryptotermes brevis, and Cryptotermes cavifrons.

Incisitermes minor, also known as the western drywood termite, is found primarily in the western United States. They're light brown in color and have a small head with straight mandibles. Incisitermes minor colonies are typically small and can be found in dry wood structures such as furniture, walls, and flooring.

Cryptotermes brevis, or the West Indian drywood termite, is commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions. They're pale yellow to light brown in color and have a rounded head with short, curved mandibles. Cryptotermes brevis colonies are usually larger than Incisitermes minor colonies and can cause significant damage to wooden structures.

Cryptotermes cavifrons, also known as the powderpost termite, is found in various regions across the world. They're pale yellow to light brown in color and have a rectangular head with long, straight mandibles. Cryptotermes cavifrons colonies are medium-sized and can infest both softwoods and hardwoods.

Understanding the different types of drywood termites is crucial for proper identification and effective treatment. By knowing the characteristics of each species, you can take the necessary steps to protect your home from these destructive pests.

quick answer

I can provide a quick answer if you're looking for a simple solution. Here are three key signs to help you identify drywood termites:

  1. Frass: Look for small, pellet-like droppings called frass. Drywood termites push this waste out of their tunnels, leaving it behind as evidence of their presence. Frass is usually a light brown or cream color and resembles sawdust or sand. It can accumulate near infested wood or be found beneath exit holes.
  2. Discarded Wings: Drywood termites swarm to mate and establish new colonies, leaving behind discarded wings. These wings are typically found near windows, doors, or other sources of light. Termite wings are all the same size and length, unlike ant wings which vary in size.
  3. Damage to Wood: Drywood termites feed on wood from the inside out, creating tunnels and chambers. Look for blistering or hollowed-out wood, as well as small holes or cracks in the surface. Tap the wood with a screwdriver or mallet to check for a hollow sound, indicating termite damage.

By identifying these signs, you can take the necessary steps to address a drywood termite infestation and protect your property.

Now, let's move on to the key takeaways from this discussion.

Key Takeways

Although I've discussed the key signs of drywood termites, it's important to review the key takeaways from this discussion.

Drywood termites are a common pest that can cause significant damage to homes and structures. Identifying them early is crucial in preventing extensive and costly repairs.

Here are the key points to remember:

  1. Look for small holes in wooden surfaces: Drywood termites create tiny holes in wood, through which they enter and exit. These holes are often accompanied by small piles of fecal pellets, resembling sawdust.
  2. Check for hollow-sounding wood: Tap on wooden surfaces suspected of termite infestation. If the wood sounds hollow or papery, it may indicate termite activity.
  3. Examine wings and swarmers: Drywood termites release swarmers, which are winged reproductive termites. If you come across discarded wings or live swarmers, it could be a sign of an active colony nearby.
  4. Seek professional help: If you suspect a termite infestation or have found any of the signs mentioned, it's recommended to contact a licensed pest control professional. They have the expertise and tools to accurately identify and treat termite problems.


To summarize, drywood termites can cause extensive damage to homes and structures, and it's crucial to identify them early and seek professional help. These tiny creatures are often difficult to detect, as they live within the wood they infest and leave behind very few signs of their presence.

However, there are some key indicators that can help you identify the presence of drywood termites.

One of the first signs to look out for is the presence of small, pellet-like droppings, known as frass. These droppings are usually found near infested wood or in areas where termites are active. Additionally, you may notice small, pinpoint holes on wooden surfaces, which are entry points for the termites. These holes are typically no larger than the size of a pinhead.

Another indication of drywood termite infestation is the presence of discarded wings. After swarming, termites shed their wings, and you may find these wings near windowsills or other entry points. Additionally, if you tap on infested wood, you may hear a hollow sound, indicating that the termites have hollowed out the inside of the wood.

In the next section, I'll provide a detailed list and a YouTube video that will guide you further in identifying drywood termites.

Identify Drywood Termites

As a homeowner, it's crucial to be able to identify drywood termites in order to protect your property. Here are three key points to help you identify these destructive pests:

  1. Signs of Infestation: Look for small, pellet-like droppings called frass, discarded wings near windowsills, and tiny holes in wooden structures.
  2. Damage They Cause: Drywood termites feed on wood from the inside out, leaving behind hollowed-out tunnels and weakening the structural integrity of the infested wood.
  3. Preferred Nesting Locations: Drywood termites don't require contact with soil and can establish colonies in any wooden structure, including furniture, walls, and attic spaces.

Signs of Infestation

I've noticed small piles of sawdust near the wooden furniture, indicating a possible drywood termite infestation. Drywood termites are destructive pests that can cause significant damage to wooden structures. Identifying the signs of infestation is crucial for early detection and effective treatment.

Apart from the piles of sawdust, there are a few other indicators to look out for. Small holes in the wood surface, often accompanied by tiny wings or body parts, are telltale signs of drywood termite activity. Additionally, you may notice hollow-sounding wood when tapped, as termites hollow out the inside of the wood as they feed.

If you suspect a drywood termite infestation, it's essential to contact a professional pest control service to assess the situation and provide appropriate treatment options. Early intervention can help prevent further damage and protect your wooden furniture and structures.

Damage They Cause

I can't believe how much damage drywood termites can cause to wooden structures. These tiny insects may seem harmless, but they can wreak havoc on your property if left unchecked.

Drywood termites feed on dry wood, and they have the ability to destroy the structural integrity of buildings, furniture, and other wooden items. Their feeding habits can lead to weakened structures, sagging floors, and even collapse in severe cases.

It's important to be able to identify the signs of drywood termite damage, such as hollow-sounding wood, small kick-out holes, and frass (termite droppings). If you suspect a termite infestation, it's crucial to take immediate action to prevent further damage.

Regular inspections and professional treatment are essential in protecting your property from the destructive nature of drywood termites.

Preferred Nesting Locations

Although drywood termites can nest in various locations, they're often found in wooden structures such as furniture and buildings. These termites don't require contact with soil and can infest dry wood directly. They prefer to establish their colonies in undisturbed areas, such as attics, crawl spaces, and wall voids.

Drywood termites are capable of infesting any wooden structure, including hardwood floors, doors, and even antique furniture. They enter through cracks and crevices, and their small size allows them to go unnoticed for long periods of time. It's important to regularly inspect wooden structures for signs of infestation, such as tiny holes, frass (termite droppings), or discarded wings.

Identifying the nesting locations of drywood termites is crucial in effectively implementing treatment options available.

Treatment Options Available

There are several treatment options available, so it's important to consult with a professional to identify the best course of action for dealing with drywood termites.

One option is fumigation, which involves enclosing the infested area and releasing a gas that kills the termites.

Another option is heat treatment, where the infested area is heated to a temperature that's lethal to the termites. This method is effective in reaching hidden colonies.

Alternatively, localized treatments can be used, such as injecting termiticides directly into infested wood or using foams and dusts to target specific areas.

It's crucial to address the entire infestation, including identifying and treating potential satellite colonies. Regular inspections and preventative measures, like sealing cracks and crevices, can help minimize the risk of future infestations.

Seeking professional advice ensures that the appropriate treatment option is chosen and the infestation is effectively eradicated.

Prevention Tips and Tricks

One effective way to prevent drywood termite infestations is by regularly inspecting wooden structures for signs of damage or presence of termites. Drywood termites are known for infesting and causing damage to wooden structures, such as furniture, flooring, and walls. By conducting regular inspections, homeowners can identify potential infestations early on and take appropriate measures to prevent further damage.

During inspections, look for signs such as small holes in the wood, tiny fecal pellets, discarded wings, or hollow-sounding wood. Pay attention to areas where moisture is present, as termites are attracted to damp environments. Additionally, maintaining proper ventilation and moisture control in the home can help prevent termite infestations.

By being proactive and vigilant, homeowners can protect their wooden structures from costly termite damage.

Final Thought

I have three key takeaways from our discussion on drywood termites in this final thought.

Firstly, it's essential to conduct regular inspections of your property to identify any signs of termite infestation. Look for small holes in wooden structures, piles of small, pellet-like droppings, or discarded wings near windows and doors.

Secondly, if you suspect you have drywood termites, it's crucial to contact a professional pest control company immediately. They have the expertise and tools to accurately assess the extent of the infestation and develop an effective treatment plan.

Lastly, prevention is key in avoiding future termite problems. Ensure that all wooden structures are properly sealed and maintained, as termites are attracted to moist or decaying wood. Regularly inspect and treat any cracks or crevices in your property's foundation, as these can serve as entry points for termites.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Drywood Termites Differ From Subterranean Termites?

Drywood termites differ from subterranean termites in several ways. They do not require contact with the ground, have smaller colonies, produce distinct fecal pellets, and infest dry wood structures.

Can Drywood Termites Cause Structural Damage to My Home?

Yes, drywood termites can cause significant structural damage to your home. They burrow into the wood, weakening it over time. Regular inspections and early detection are crucial to prevent costly repairs.

Are Drywood Termites More Common in Certain Regions or Climates?

Drywood termites are more common in regions with warm climates and low humidity. They infest dry wood and can cause significant damage to structures. Identifying them involves looking for small holes, fecal pellets, and discarded wings.

Can I Treat a Drywood Termite Infestation on My Own, or Is Professional Help Necessary?

I can treat a drywood termite infestation on my own, but professional help may be necessary for larger or more severe infestations. It's important to properly identify the termites before attempting treatment.

How Long Does It Take for Drywood Termites to Cause Significant Damage to a Wooden Structure?

It takes approximately 2 to 5 years for drywood termites to cause significant damage to a wooden structure. This statistic highlights the importance of early detection and prompt treatment to prevent extensive destruction.

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