How They Work

The drywood termites get their common name due to the fact that they establish themselves in wood that is not decayed, nor in contact with ground moisture which is to all appearance perfectly dry.

Drywood termites can exist in wood that has a moisture content with as little as 2.8% to 3% moisture. Drywood termites are larger than the subterranean termites and smaller than dampwood termites. The winged form and soldiers are up to 1/2inch 12mm long. The pallets are smooth as though the surface has been gone over with sandpaper. The large intestine of the termite removes the water from the waste material and them compacts it into pellets and extrudes in through the anal opening. 

When too many of these fecal pellets accumulate in the drywood termite channels and chambers, one of the nymphs eats a hole to the outside of the wood and pellets are thrown out of the workings. They fall to the floor below the “cleanout hole” and pile up on a flat surface, revealing the presence of a drywood termite infestations. They field representative should always scout the premises for the presence of piles of fecal pellets.

Control of Drywood Termites

The best method of termite control is always preventative. The integration of construction timbers with chemicals preservatives and screening are the most effective method of preventing damage by Drywood termites, which do not need much moisture for their survival and attack wood directly, without ground contact.

If it can be ascertained that the infestation is relatively new and/or restricted to a small, rather accessible area, local treatment can be successful. Local treatment can consist of removing and replacing the infested timber or in some cases, using an electric drill in a random pattern hoping to hit a termite channel. Dust, liquids or aerosol preparations are then injected into the channels with the hope that the termites will spread the toxicant around the colony thus poisoning out the inhabitants. The primary objection to the spot treatment approach is that since the termites are inside the wood, it is hard to be sure if they have been eliminated. It is possible that the infestation is greater than imagined.

This of course, results in the infestation becoming evident once more and requiring further treatment. The factor in favor of localized treatment is that if it is effective, it is far less expensive than the alternative of general fumigation. If the infestation is extensive as revealed on inspection of the premises, then a general fumigation is the best choice. If the fumigation is performed properly, it will result in the death of 100% of the termites in the structure. 

Swarming is stimulated by brilliant sunlight when the temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. In Northern California, swarming occurs in June and July; and in September through October in Southern California.

Refer to our Instagram post to learn how you can protect your home from drywood termite infestation.

Where They Live

These termites work only in moist wood (thus the name “dampwood”). They require a constant moisture source and are often found in decaying wood. Alates of dampwood termites are dark brown and wings have sclerotized median vein which runs parallel to the radial sector. It must maintain ground contact and will attack partially buried wood. It has been found in utility poles, posts, and citrus trees, and in a few cases in woodwork. It only attacks moist wood. These termites fly during the day from September to November in California. In Arizona and Texas, they fly from June to July; Alates have been found in April. New colonies begin in the soil in preference to wood.

This species occurs from Barstow, California to Cotulla and Weslaco, Texas in desert or semi-desert regions. They occur as far north as Northern New Mexico. It is common in the coastal ranges of California and occurs there from elevations.

It is common in Monterey cypress at sea level in Monterey and in various species of pines at the 6000 level in the San Bernardino Mountains. It is present but not commonly found in the Los Angeles Basin and on the floor of the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys. As one progresses to the State of Oregon and Washington, the Dampwood termite infestations become more numerous and in fact, share the limelight with the subterranean termites as the most prevalent termite problem in homes.

Control of Dampwood Termites

Since Dampwood termites need a very moist environment in which to thrive, the basis for their control in homes is to eliminate the source of the moisture-this may involve the correction of the leaky stall shower condition, the repair of plumbing. Improvements of drainage or the correction of a poor under-area ventilation problem. After the source of moisture has been eliminated, the infested wood is usually removed and replaced and the infestation is under control. If the infestation is partially under the surface of the ground, it is important that all Earth to wood contacts are eliminated (no pier posts extending below the surface). In this instance, treatment of the damp soil with a termiticide may be desirable. Fumigation is not usually an applicable method of control. In summary, drying out of the infested area by controlling excess water is the key to dampwood termite control. The best way to control damage is through the correction of the source of excess moisture.

Habits And Behavior

97% of termite damage in the world is caused by the subterranean type. These termites must maintain contact with moist soil in most situations. However, if enough moisture exists above ground, some subterranean termites can survive without ground contact. Normally, these termites move between the ground and their food source (wood) inside shelter tubes. These tubes are contracted from soil particles, sand, and small bits of wood stuck together becoming sticky substance from the mouth or gullets of the termites. Tubes may also be constructed over wood in which the termites are feeding.

The shelter tubes provide protection and may also help to maintain favorable moisture and temperature gradients necessary for the termites’ survival. Colonies of subterranean termites consist of swarmers, soldiers, and workers which lives for two to three years, and queens may live for many years.

Several factors must be present before emergence occurs:

(1) Adequate moisture (2) warm temperatures (3) Light trigger the emergence of swarmer termites. Nature usually provides these factors, but man may unintentionally modify one or more of the conditions necessary for emergence. Lawn irrigation, leaky plumbing and artificial light are few of the conditions that may encourage mergence. Flights usually occur in the spring when the ground is moist and temperatures begin to increase. Fall flights may also occur and are triggered by rain after dry periods or by rain and sunlight, if fall is delayed. Flight is weak and often effected by wind. The termites are attracted to well illuminated areas. The colony must be at least three years old before swarming will occur.

As soon as the termites land, they shed their wings, A site is selected by a pair and they dig a cell into the soil near a source of wood. They then seal the opening of the cell and mate. The male and female live together and mate at intervals throughout their lives. If either or the pair die, they are replaced by supplemental reproductives. Eggs of subterranean termites are laid in the colony and hatch in 50 to 55 days. The first young nymphs in the colony, hatching, must be fed by the queen. This permits the transfer of protozoa which workers must have in order to digest food.

Control of Subterranean Termites

Practically all damage from subterranean termites can be avoided by proper construction. Much damage by the termites to substances not containing cellulose is due to the fact that these materials were in the path of termites with the Earth and excreted wood from which they build sheltered runways. Usual method of protecting buildings against subterranean termites attack involve the creation of barriers in substructures. These barriers are either mechanical or chemical or a combination of both.

A less through method sometimes used in preventing termite damage is chemical soil poisoning which alone often proves inadequate. Periodical inspection at not less than 12 month intervals should be made not matter how completely preventative measures were initially employed.

GnB strives to exterminate and prevent termites from returning.
We offer different types of treatments customized to your needs.


Tent fumigation is the most effective treatment method for drywood termite and if performed properly, will eradicate 100% of the termite infestation in the structure. This treatment will protect the areas of your home which may not be easily accessible such as voids in walls, cracks or crevices in your foundation, and areas around pipes or insulation.

Local Treatment

When drywood termite infestation is minor and is localized, treating the area by drilling holes and injecting termiticide can be an effective and affordable option. Local treatment is usually used as a main treatment method for subterranean termites. The goal of the treatment is to control the termite infestation and to create a perfect barrier around the entire structure to prevent reentry of termites.

Bait Treatment

Termite control bait can be used as an alternative to soil-applied liquid treatment. The bait provides an insecticide-laced food to the termite colony and take advantage of their food sharing behavior. This method is not intended to keep termites from entering a structure but are designed to suppress termite colonies so they will no longer be able to feed on the structure.

Wood Repair

GnB’s licensed contractors are not only capable of repairing damage done by termites, but they can also repair dry rot and fungus damage to prevent further termite infestation. GnB offers combination treatment options with local treatment and fumigation to completely eradicate termite infestation.