Drywood Termites

The Drywood Termite Alate is easily distinguished from the Subterranean Termite by its coloring. The head is reddish brown and the body almost blue-black. The wings are heavily veined and smoke black. The first Alates of a Drywood termite colony are released when the colony is four years old. Swarming usually occurs during early summer in northern California and as late as September in southern California. The peak of flight usually occurs around noon. They mate and a form new colony in much the same manner as Subterranean Termites except the first nest is hollowed out in wood after entering a crack. Whereas the Subterranean Termite excavate the royal chamber in the ground.

The first evidence of a Drywood Termite infestation may be the presence of Pellets. These pellets are fecal matter and are excreted as a hard pellet about ¾ of a millimeter in length. They area rounded on one end and somewhat pointed at the other. They have 6 definite longitudinal depressions or ridges.

These pellets are generally cream colored but vary from reddish brown to black. This depends on the wood they are attacking.

Dwell in wood which has no contact with soil. Usually attack only dry sound wood. Unlike the Subterranean Termite they will infest Redwood.

Four year old colonies may have 75 to 700 individuals. First swarms at the end of the fourth year.

Drywood Termites do not have workers. The form which performs all of the work in a colony is called a nymph. The nymph will eventually become a soldier of reproductive. The Drywood Termite nymph is grub like in appearance. The abdomen is narrow and somewhat straight sided.

Drywood Termite soldier may be as long as ½ inch in length. It has a dark body with the head being pigmented with a reddish orange color. They have strong mandibles and as with other species, their work is to defend the colony. When the nymphs push pellets thru the kick-out holes, the soldier often stands by and guards the opening unit the nymphs plug the holes.

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.

The Drywood Termite bores across the grain as well as with the grain. The surface of the tunnels will appear clean and polished. The wood may contain emergence holes plugged with cement feces and partly masticated wood. The channels are periodically cleaned of pellets which may be pushed out or stored in unused chambers.