Drywood termite season is here: Know the signs

Aug 6, 2021, 13:34 PM by Fred Speer

The calendar tells us that summer is beginning its descent toward fall, which means back to school and cramming in those last vacation getaways. It also means that the season for drywood termite swarms is upon California.

Clark, your friendly termite, grounds care, and pest management expert, would like to get you up to speed on the other termite that can cause damage to structures. Meet the drywood termite.

When homeowners find damaged wood in and around homes, most assume the culprit is the subterranean termite, which lives in the soil underneath structures and stealthily invades homes from their hidden vantage point. There is, however, another termite that doesn’t get down and dirty, but still poses a significant threat to California homes – the drywood termite.

Meet the drywood termite

Drywood termites are cryptic insects that are difficult to detect with the naked eye. They live deep inside wood. Aside from periods when they swarm, or their nests are disturbed when repair work is being done on infested homes, they are seldom seen. Colonies are small, usually fewer than 1,000 individuals, and usually are widely dispersed and can take years to mature.

The most common sighting of drywood termites are flying adults – also called swarmers – that occur during daytime hours in the late summer and fall.

Drywood termites will colonize in attics where temperatures may exceed 131 degrees Fahrenheit. There, they locate their colonies in wood with more favorable temperatures, such as ceiling joists that have bottom sides cooled from below by an air conditioner.

Drywood termites excavate small tunnels into the wood, close it behind them, and create a hollowed-out chamber that depletes the wood’s structural integrity. They can stay dormant for extended periods of time – more than a year – and then re-emerge stronger and hungrier than ever. They also are creatures of habit and will re-infest the exact same location in a home, causing further damage.

Areas of a home that are most susceptible to drywood termites include:

  • - Wood siding and wooden roof shingles
  • - Wood framing and supports in attics
  • - Wood molding and framing around windows and doors
  • - Eaves and overhangs
  • - Protected joints or crevices in and around doors

Four signs of drywood termites:

  1. Large numbers of flying insects focused on the wood exterior (and sometimes on the interior) of your home

  2. Wings on windowsills, or flying termites sighted on the exterior of your home

  3. Hollow-sounding or visibly damaged wood: If you can easily make a hole with a pocketknife or flat-blade screwdriver in the wood, it might have drywood termite damage.

  4. Unexplained piles of what looks like coarse grains of sand (these piles are termite fecal pellets sifted out of wood by the drywood termites).

It takes a well-trained termite inspector to know where to look for drywood termite activity in a structure, correctly analyze the findings, assess whether treatment is needed, and recommend a treatment that will be most effective.

If Clark Pest Control inspectors identify the presence of termites or wood-destroying pests and organisms in your home, they will first determine the source of the infestation, and then provide you with treatment recommendations. They also will make recommendations for any necessary repair work for damage because of the infestation.

For maximum protection against termites, ask about Clark Pest Control’s exclusive Termite Infestation Protection (T.I.P.) program, which is designed to cover your home from future infestations and damages caused by all species of termites.

Clark Pest Control is committed to safeguarding your home from pests during these challenging times. Our service technicians use such personal protective equipment as gloves, masks, and respirators, they practice social distancing, they call ahead to notify you before a service, and they adhere strictly to all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines when servicing inside or outside your home.

If you’re having a problem with drywood termites, call California’s trusted, friendly termite expert, Clark Pest Control, at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at

Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

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