Drywood Termite Identification

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Identifying Drywood Termites
Drywood Termites

Termites are insects that eat wood, that can lead to the destruction of furniture, homes, and any other wooden structures. Termites come in two types, Drywood Termites and Subterranean Termites, both of these varieties of termites are a lot of times confused with ants as they look somewhat similar.

It is important to determine the type of termites you have as the treatment methods for Drywood Termites and Subterranean Termites are quite different.

Ants and Termites

Ants and Termites

Drywood Termites and Subterranean Termites are different from ants in ways indicated below: Most people know what an ant looks like, but sometimes they might have a hard time telling the difference between a termite and an ant. Termites and ants do look a lot alike.

  • Ants have the recognizable body shape of an ant
  • Ant antennae have a bend in them.
  • Ants have longer legs than termites
  • Ants have a thin waist
  • If there are wings, the front wings will be noticeably longer than the back wings on an ant
  • Termites have straight, beaded antennae
  • Termites have a thicker waist
  • Termites have straight antennae
  • Termites have shorter legs
  • If there are wings, both pairs of wings will be the same length on a termite
Once you have determined that you are dealing with termites instead of ants, you will need to figure out what type of termites you have. It can be somewhat difficult to identify the type of termite you have by just looking. It is a lot easier to identify the kind of termites you have by the amount of damage they cause.

Drywood and Subterranean Termites
Drywood Termites:
Drywood Termites
  • Drywoods do not require soil
  • Drywoods have mouth pinchers
  • Drywoods nest inside of the wood they are eating
  • Drywoods do not make mudtubes
  • Drywoods can fly into structures to infest wood
  • Drywoods make small holes in the wood to push feces and debris from their nest
  • Drywoods leave piles of debris outside of the wood they are infesting
  • Drywoods usually eat across and along the grain
  • Drywood are normally found in coastal regions, but they can be transported to other regions in infested wood

Subterranean Termites:
Subterranean Termite
  • Subterraneans have the main portion of their nest underground
  • Subterraneans make mud tubes to access structures
  • Subterraneans usually have large colonies
  • Subterraneans do not kick out feces and debris
  • Subterraneans typically eat along the grain of the wood
  • Subterraneans are known to make "carton" nests in wall voids and in trees. A carton is a nest made from the termite fecal matter to maintain the correct moisture level when the termites are unable to return to the actual subterranean nest.

Termite Size, Shape, and Colors

Drywood Termites
Drywood Termites

Drywood termites range in size depending on their age, from 1/4" to 3/8" long.

Drywood termites have a thick waist, short legs, and straight antennae. The Drywood termite swarmers, also known as "alates", have wings that are the same length. Termite soldiers have mandibles with teeth.

Drywood termites will vary in color depending on their level of maturity and job in the colony. Worker termites are usually cream colored and can look white against wood. Soldier termites range from cream to a brown color. Alates, the reproductive, or swarmer Drywood termite, can be brown or black.

Drywood Termite Locations Geographically

Drywood termites are mostly found in southern coastal areas of the United States.

United States of America

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