Meet the drywood termite, a hidden threat to your home

Aug 9, 2018, 11:39 AM by Fred Speer

Drywood TermiteClark, your neighborly pest control expert, is on a mission: to educate California homeowners on a pest Clark hopes they never encounter – termites. A few weeks ago, we met the subterranean termite. This week, you’ll meet another destructive pest that can threaten your home – drywood termites.

Drywood termites are found mostly in the Pacific coast region, which in some areas extends into the Central Valley. Sometimes, drywood termites are confused with dampwood termites, which are also found in central and northern coastal areas in California.

While both drywood and dampwood termites nest in wood, not in soil, and do not require soil contact, dampwood termites require wood that is high in moisture content, whereas drywood termites do not.

Drywood termites are cryptic insects that are difficult to detect with the naked eye. They live deep inside wood, and except during periods when they swarm, or when repair work is being done on infested homes, they are seldom seen. Colonies are small, usually fewer than 1,000 individuals, which usually are widely dispersed and can take years to mature. The most common sighting of drywood termites are flying adults (also called swarmers, alates, or winged reproductives) that occur during daytime hours during the late summer and fall.

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

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

What are the signs of a drywood termite infestation? Drywood termites eat across the wood’s natural grain. They will consume both spring and summer wood. They will make chambers connected by tunnels whose walls are smooth as if finely sanded.

While a homeowner may initially detect the presence of drywood termites when they swarm or if fecal pellets are discovered, inspecting and determining the extent of an infestation requires a highly trained eye.

Based upon years of experience dealing with this destructive adversary, Clark recommends a thorough termite inspection by one of Clark Pest Control’s highly trained inspectors.

During the inspection, Clark’s inspectors will look for feeding damage, shed wings, fecal pellets, and kick-out holes (small holes less than an inch in diameter) through which termites push fecal pellets out of the wood.

Following the inspection, Clark will analyze the findings and assess whether treatment is needed, and what kind of treatment will work to eliminate the drywood termite threat.

If you are having a problem with drywood termites in your home, call or text California’s trusted, friendly termite expert, Clark, at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or send an email at

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



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