How to Help Get Rid of Drywood Termites

Termites are one of the most destructive pests around. These insects feed on wood and can cause costly structural damage to homes. There are two primary families of termites in America: the subterranean termite and the drywood termite.

How to Help Get Rid of Drywood Termites

Subterranean termites live underground and require access to moist soil to survive. Drywood termites, on the other hand, live in wood that’s above ground, including inside homes, and can survive without soil contact.

If you spot signs of drywood termites, which are mentioned below, then you need to act immediately to get rid of the infestation. And drywood termite infestations can be tricky to control. Often, there may be more than one infestation site, and these sites may be difficult to find. For these reasons alone, it’s often wise to call the professionals for drywood termite inspection and treatment.

Terminix® offers a free termite inspection. If you technician finds termite activity in your home, then a treatment solution will be recommended. If termite activity is not found, then termite prevention or protection may be recommended.



While most homeowners are familiar with subterranean termites, drywood termites may be more of a mystery. Learn more about these pests and the damage they can cause.

What Do Drywood Termites Look Like?

Drywood termite swarmers are light brown in color and can vary from dark brown to a light, yellowish-tan. These winged termites, or alates, also have a pair of smoky gray wings. These termites are most commonly encountered by homeowners because they leave the nest when they swarm.

Most of the termites that actually damage the wood are whitish or opaque in color.

Range and Behavior

Drywood termites live in warm, tropical climates with mild winters. In the United States, their range is from Florida to California, including the states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. They're generally found around coastal areas.

Drywood termites eat cellulose, and the wood they ingest provides the moisture they need to survive. In the home, wooden structural elements, frames, flooring and furniture may all serve as food sources.

Unlike other species of termites, drywood termites cut across the grain of the wood, creating tunnels that can destroy both soft spring wood and harder summer growth.

Signs of an Infestation

A drywood termite infestation can be difficult to detect and treat, primarily because these termites can form multiple colonies within a single structure at once. They can also colonize small, isolated pieces of wood, and they often remain hidden inside the wood they feed on, making it easy for them to go unnoticed. Drywood termite colonies grow slowly over extended periods of time, and if they go undetected for a long period of time, they can cause significant damage.

There are a few signs that may indicate a drywood termite infestation:

Winged Insects

If you notice winged insects emerging from wood areas, or if they emerge at night and are attracted to light, these might be alates, or termite swarmers, which can be confused with flying ants. These are adult reproductive termites who have left their colonies to mate and begin new colonies.

Discarded Wings

Alates shed their wings. If you notice piles of insect wings around your home, you may have termite activity. Very few other insects shed their wings in this manner, so finding just wings is a strong indicator of termites.

Termite Droppings

Termite droppings, also called “frass,” is essentially termite waste. As termites eat wood, they expel small, hexagonal, wood-like pellets. These may accumulate in small piles.

Another common type of damage caused by drywood termites is called wood blistering. This can also be a sign of termite activity and is caused by termites tunneling close to the surface of the wood. It is typically a sign of an advanced infestation. This may seem relatively insignificant, but drywood termites are capable of much more.

Want to learn more about termites and termite control? Terminix can help.



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