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Drywood Termites

Drywood termites live in dry (usually <12% moisture), sound wood and derive their moisture requirements from the wood they consume. Infestations can occur in structural timbers in buildings, pieces of furniture, flooring, doors and doorframes, window trim, wooden picture frames, and other isolated pieces of wood. Their colonies are relatively small, with a few thousand members lacking the true worker caste, and there are often multiple colonies in the same structure.

Drywood termites do not need a connection to soil and there is no soil in their feeding galleries. They do not build mud tunnels; they construct large, irregular galleries that run across and with the wood grain, with a very smooth, clean, and sandpaper-like appearance. The galleries are connected by openings small enough for one termite to pass through. The sure sign of drywood termite feeding is their fecal pellets that are ejected from the galleries via kickout holes, often found right below the damaged wood. These pellets are quite distinctive, and are hard, elongated-ovals with rounded ends, and have six concave sides.

Approximately 400 global species of drywood termite species are known, but only a few species are important in the United States.

Powderpost or "furniture termites" (Cryptotermes spp.) have small fecal pellets and are smaller in size than other drywood termites. Their feeding on furniture or movable wooden objects can reduce wood to a fine powder. They can be found in Florida, southern Louisiana, Texas, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. Some have been found as far west as Los Angeles and as far north as Ontario, Canada.

The other main group of drywood termites is Incisitermes spp. The most common species in the west is the Western drywood termite (I. minor), which is found in southern California, Arizona, Utah, and has become established in Florida. This species infests both dead sections of living trees and wooden articles in homes.

The Southeastern drywood termite (I. snyderi) is found primarily in seven southeastern states, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

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