- Common Name(s): Drywood Termite
- Order: Blattodea
- Family: Kalotermitidae
- Common Species: Incisitermes spp, Cryptotermes brevis, Kalotermes approximatus
- Commonly Confused With: Flying Ants
How to Identify?
Adult, reproductive Drywood Termites are dark brown, tan, red, red-brown, or black in color. On average, when including the wings, adult termites are around 0.35-0.4 inches in length. They have two pairs of equal length wings, a thick, broad body, and straight, beaded-looking antenna. You may find some without wings if they have detached them. The top veins of drywood termites wings look thicker than those of subterranean termites. Soldiers have a broad head with two large mouth parts used for protection. To differentiate between Drywood and Subterranean Termites, look at these mouth parts. If there are extra “teeth” present on the mandibles then it is likely a Drywood Termite. Another couple of species of Drywood Termite have a very smashed, rounded, wrinkled head which they use to plug holes and protect the colony. Workers are small and white/cream colored with straight, beaded-looking antennae. It is important to note that soldiers and reproductive adults are key to termite identification. After mating, queens engorge and will not be seen often.
Where do they live?
Drywood Termites live in dry, structural, sound wood. They can pull moisture from wood and their other biological processes without needing to be in the soil, which is very different from their subterranean counterparts. Drywood termites are often transported in wooden furniture, lumber, door frames, and window frames. Their colonies tend to be smaller but can do more damage over time because their numbers go unseen until it is too late.
What do they eat?
Termites eat cellulose material. They have a unique behavior called trophallaxis. Trophallaxis means the colony is essentially one giant ‘communal stomach’ where food is shared between members and given to the queen.
What do they do?
These insects cause extensive amounts of damage to homes, businesses, bridges, and numerous other structures. It is estimated termites cause between $4-5 billion in damage each year. They feed 24 hours a day 365 days a year! Damage can be hard to notice until it is too late. This is especially true with Drywood Termites. They do not feed all the way through the surface of the wood, but instead feed right up to the surface, leaving nothing but an empty shell underneath. Some homeowners may think this wood is sound, but if they were to poke or prod this wood it would crack like an eggshell revealing the damage. This is why it is important to have a trained pest control professional inspect your home for termites or their damage!
A cool feature about Drywood Termites is their frass (poop). They poop out hard, 6-sided pellets like the ones pictured below. The color can vary based on the type of wood they are infesting. Here in the WV area, it is not a matter of if you have termites but when you get termites, so be prepared for the pesky wood eaters!