Dampwood Termites

The Dampwood Alate is by far the largest of the three termite's local the Valley. It is light brown with dark brown leathery wings. They are strong fliers and may settle on timbers at a greater height the others. The female excavates the opening to the nuptial cell and then the male enters. Flights usually occur in the late afternoon during the months of July thru October. These termites are usually found in the foothill and higher elevations.

The fecal pellet of the Dampwood termite may be twice as large as that of the Drywood termite. Rather than having the 6 depressions associated with the pellet of the Drywood termite, the 6 sides appear to be flattened. When found in very damp locations, the fecal pellet may be so soft that it loses some of the characteristic pelletization and becomes a mass of mud-like frass. However, when the wood is dry, the pellets will be loosely scattered and in many case, may be confused with the Drywood Termite pellet.

The surface inside the tunnels of the Dampwood termite has a much coarser texture that created by either the Subterranean termite or the Drywood termite. It has been described as having a velvet-like finish. This coarse texture is caused by the larger mandibles of the species. The tunnels are of many sizes and shapes. Usually the pellets are found through-out the channels.

Nest in damp or partially rotten wood which may or may not be buried in soil. They attack all types of wood and show no preference. Wood buried in soil is more likely to be attacked.

Mature colonies may reach 4,000 individuals. They produce a large number of supplementary reproductives.

As in the Drywood Termite colonies, the Dampwood Termite nymph is not a true worker caste. Some develop to soldiers and some to reproductives. The Dampwood nymph may be as much as ½ inch in length. They are whitish to cream colored. The abdomen may appear to be discolored due to stomach contents. Wood that is moist and subject to decay is most often attacked. They remain in decaying wood as long as they can control the fungus growth and then they will move to sounder wood. If one were to open a colony of Dampwood Termites, numerous supplementary reproductives may be noted. They seem to be prepared to attack nearby source of food.

The Dampwood Termite soldier may be as large as ¾ inch in length. The head is large and armed with a pair of long mandibles. The mandibles are black and have a toothed appearance. The front portion of the head is darker, gradually shading to a reddish brown color toward the rear portion. The thorax and abdomen may appear to be slightly darker due to the stomach contents.

The mandibles of the soldiers are designed to fighting other insects which may invade the colony. They can actually cut another insect in half. When handling these soldiers, one may experience a pinch of the skin of the hand. This pinch can be felt quite plainly when handling the soldier of the Dampwood species.