Drywood termites live in dry, 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, doorframes, window trim, wooden picture frames, and other isolated pieces of wood. Their colonies are relatively small, with a few thousand members, 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 but 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 kick-out 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, and 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.
Your licensed pest management professional can also help explain how to correct any conditions that currently exist in your home that are inviting to termites.