Drywood Termites (Identification, Damage & Treatments)


There are several types of termites throughout the United States, however, there are specific types that are found in various regions of the country to help identify drywood termites. They are found in warm weather—mostly in the southern and southwestern United States. As their name suggests, drywood termites feed on dry wood, as well as dry plants and furniture. They can infest dead trees located near water and they do not need soil to develop a colony as subterranean termites do.

Drywood termites are often found feeding on wood in upper parts of structures—in attics and inside walls where they were able to find their way in through a crack or hole. Drywood termites can find their way through tiny of opening into your home. Other types of termites include dampwood termites who also don’t need soil to grow like other termites, but they prefer humid and cool areas with soft dampened wood. Subterranean termites need soil to develop a colony and can be found in southern states.

Identify Drywood Termites

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They are 1mm long and absorb moisture from their feces called frass. Typically you can locate where these termites are living by a pile of feces on the ground or on the floor in your home. They are shaped like a hexagon and as the feces is kicked out of their growing colony you will notice a pile getting larger. Other distinct appearance is that they have two sets of wings, making them have four wings total and they are tan and brown. They have a rectangular-shaped head and large mouths with teeth.

It can be difficult to know that you have drywood termites if you don’t see them or notice any pile of feces. There can be evidence of detached wings and tiny ‘kick-out holes’ in the walls. They can do a lot of damage before you know that you have a problem happening in your home. It is highly recommended to have an annual inspection for termites to prevent or remove drywood termites.

Video explaining different drywood termite treatment options

Choosing a drywood termite treatment method

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Decide on a spot treatment or a whole structure treatment. When you select a spot treatment you are targeting one area where you know the termites infest. A whole structure treatment tends to be more effective overall. Then decide on the type of treatment you will explore whether it is chemical or heating. 

  • With sulfuryl fluoride, you can treat and kill the drywood termites within days.
  • Monitored fumigation is a process where gas lines are installed inside the structure of the home,  generating fumigation that kills most termites. Monitored fumigation has the highest success rate.
  • With a non-monitored fumigation process you may run out of gas that will not end up killing all of the termites. You can use foam, liquid, or dust methods to fumigate throughout the structure of your home.

Another drywood termite treatment method is heat tenting, which doesn’t use chemicals. It heats up the entire structure to a minimum of 120 degrees and higher and holds the temperature for at least 30 minutes. This process takes less time than fumigation, but it tends to be less successful than chemical treatment because the heat tends to not reach everywhere in the structure where there are parts of hidden areas to the structure and the heating device cannot send enough heat to reach it.

Therefore, termites can hide in these specific locations to not be killed off.  Fumigations affect termites long-term, with 99 percent of the termite colony killed off and just leaving. You will need to evacuate the premises when fumigating for several days and you will need to take your pets and plants with you.

When using a heating process you will need to leave with the pets and put the plants outside temporarily. You will leave for about 30 minutes or a few hours. Keep in mind that any type of treatment should be performed by a professional or termite expert as you need to know what you’re doing before trying to remove these termites.

Spot drywood termite treatment

If a drywood termite infestation is localized, you might be able to conduct spot termite treatment. Sometimes, if you catch termite activity early enough, you might catch a localized drywood infestation.

Sometimes this happens when drywood termites first infest a window sill or when people buy used termite-infested furniture and unintentionally transport drywood termites into their home. If the termites didn’t spread to other areas of a building, you might avoid termite fumigation.

Video showing some drywood termite spot treatments

Have an Expert Treat Your Home

Select at least three different companies that offer such treatments and have them give you instructions and estimations on how much they would charge. Research their reputation and you can ask for referrals. If you do not select a highly qualified company and they happen to perform the treatment incorrectly, you are not only out of money but you are going to be in a bad situation. More damage can be caused to your home and you can end up paying thousands to properly fix the structure of your home.

Be sure to follow these steps:

  • Identify that you have an infestation of drywood termites.
  • Choose a treatment method.
  • Decide on a spot treatment or whole treatment.
  • Make a decision on long-term effects.
  • Call upon an expert to fumigate or heat out the drywood termites.
Categorized as Termites

By David Jackson

I enjoy learning about new pest control strategies and sharing what I learn at NeverPest.com. I aim to create a reliable resource for people dealing with all sorts of pest issues.

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