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7 Alarming Signs that You May Have Drywood Termites

Camille Landry posted this on Feb 20, 2017

Drywood termites like to set up their nests in wood.If you're certain that you have drywood termites on your property, you need to get equipped. Solutions Pest & Lawn has the best products on the market to get rid of drywood termites fast and we have all the tools necessary in our convenient termite control kit. Our kit comes with a special 100% satisfaction guarantee or we will take care of you or give you your money back.


Order a termite control kit today!


It’s termite season and this is usually the time that cautious homeowners schedule inspections and check their homes for termites. The question is: why haven’t you done so yet? Are you totally secure in the thought that your home is safe and termite-free? 


Termites are a lot more clever than you think they are. The funny thing about the feeling of being certain you are free of termites on your property is that termites WANT you to think that way as they silently have their way with the tasty wood that makes up your home. 


Drywood termites, as their name suggests, primarily reside in conditions where they find dry wood. They can be found in foundations of homes, windows and door frames and may go undetected by the residents of the home for ages. They frantically feed on any piece of wood found around the household, from floorboards to pieces of furniture.


If you know drywood termites are in the neighborhood, especially at this time of the year when termites are the most active, it’s a good idea to make regular inspections around your house or apartment to catch them as early as possible and prevent expensive termite damage to your home.


How Do Drywood Termites Look?

Before we can get into the signs to watch out for if you have a drywood termites lurking on your premises, it is important to first identify how drywood termites actually look and to know how big are drywood termites. Since there are two other main types of termites which are commonly encountered within the home (subterranean termites and dampwood termites) it is important to distinguish drywood termites from the others.


If you don't already know, within a termite colony there are classes of termites made up of workers, reproductives (also known as swarmers or alates) and soldier termites. The worker termites make up the majority of any termite colony and they largely look the same between the three main species of termite. So what mainly separates drywood termites from subterranean termites and dampwood termites is the appearance of the alates.


The drywood termite alates two sets of wings that are both the same length . The front set of wings have a special pattern of distinguishing and conspicuous veins in the outermost part of the front wings, of which about three or more can be seen. When they are in swarming mode, the alates shed their wings very quickly. Because of this, whenever a dead swamer is discovered they usually do not have their wings attached to them. This is one of the main characteristics which makes the drywood termite swarms stand out from the subterranean termite swarms since subterranean alates will consist of dead swarmers which may or may not have wings still attached to them. 


A few other traits which can separate drywood termites from the others is that drywood termite soldiers have larger-sized mouth parts with teeth to protect the colony against invaders or threats and they have a wider than normal pronotum which appears to be wider than their head. In addition, most drywood termite soldiers and workers are larger in size to that of soldiers and workers in subterranean termite colonies.


If you want to be sure the termites you are dealing with are drywood termites you can always search online for termites images and compare the termite images you see of the drywood termite with the termite you have found in your home. You can also go to our drywood termite page to see drywood termite images.


With the above description in mind, below you will find 7 surefire signs of drywood termites that your home may have to let you know that these destructive guests are living in your home and destroying the wood from the inside out.:


1. Clicking Noises

Termites dig loud music like RockYou may have seen enough closeup pictures of termites to know what they look like but do you know what termites sound like? If you have an infestation of drywood termites (or any type of termite for that matter) and listen closely, you’ll discover that termites make quite a racket.


One sign of a severe termite problem is soft clicking sounds coming from the walls. This clicking may come from Soldier termites banging their heads against the wood or shaking their bodies. No they haven’t lost their minds, this is what they do to alert the colony that there is danger afoot.

The worker termites, which are the termites who do the majority of the damage to your home’s precious woodwork, are very noisy eaters. If you know of an area infested by these wood-lovers and listen in, you can hear those termites having a munchfest. put your ear close to any wood infested by termites you can hear them munching away.


So you now know that termites like to be noisy, but did you know that termites also like the noise we listen to in our homes? What some may be surprised to hear is that termites love rock music! This fact was revealed widely by Snapple posting facts on their bottle caps, as you can see here. They found this fact out from learning of a recent study carried out which concluded that the eating habits of termites go into hyper drive when they listen to loud music, particuarly rock music, eating two times faster in pace than without music.


This may be largely due to the sensitivity of termites, who are able to detect vibrations and noises using several organs which are found at the base of their antennae and on the tibia. Keep that in mind next time you decide to blast some tunes in your home. You're not the only ones jamming!


2. Flying Termites and Termite Wings

Termite wings of a swarmerAnother telltale sign of a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites known as swarmers or reproductives. These winged termites are the males and females that depart from the nest to find a mate and establish a new colony — which very well could mean an even bigger infestation in your home. These swarmers may be found at night or in the daytime depending on their preferences and times of the year. Drywood termites, in particular, like to swarm after rainfall.


Discarded wings are another sign of a termite infestation. Swarmer termites (also called alates) lose their wings shortly after finding a mate. The new termite couple then then crawls to a suitable nesting site where they seal themselves in to reproduce and start a new colony. The new king and queen then care for the first batch of their young until there are enough worker termites to take over caretaking duties.


While there are seasons, like the spring, where drywood termites swarm, there isn't a set time of the year where drywood termite swarmers decide to swarm. Drywood termites pretty much swarm throughout the year to continously grow their population, emerging from existing colonies through either an eave, the frames of a door or window or from under roof shingles and get right to work.

Something that is interesting to note is that there are multiple species of drywood termites as well which have different swarming habits. For example, 
Incistermes snyderi (southeastern drywood termite) choose to come out swarming in the springtime around nightfall.  Incistermes minor (western drywood termite) prefers to swarm in states such as California during the summer and fall months, or if found in places like Florida they can swarm at practically any time of the year and typically do this during the daytime.


These variations of termite swarming habits makes it all the more important to have the assistance of a pest control expert such as the ones we have here at Solutions Pest & Lawn who specialize in termite control, to help you identify which termites you are specifically dealing with. 


So when it comes to seeing wings or winged termites, if you see either of these signs, you should be very worried about a large infestation nearby within the confines of your home!


3. “White Ants”

Termite look similar to white ants.People commonly mistake termites with white ants. This misconception is an easy one to make as ants and termites often resemble each other in both shape, size and occasionally behavior. While there are ants that are "whitish" like the ghost ant or the white-footed ant, these ants are only partially white. There is not a type of ant which is totally white. 


So how can you tell the difference between ants and termites?  

  • Termites are cream colored and can sometimes look transparent.

  • Termites have straight antennae compared to ants which look bent.

  • The waist section of a termite is a lot thicker than that of an ants. Ants have a more narrow abdomen.  

  • Both flying ants and termites have two sets of wings. However, a termite’s are both the same size compared to an ant who has a larger set and a smaller set.

Again, the important thing to keep in mind is that there are no species of white ants. If you think you have spotted an insect which looks like a white ant you can pretty safely assume that it’s, in fact, a termite.


4. Hollow Wood

termites burrow through wood to leave them looking like thisDrywood termites usually devour wood from the inside out, leaving a thin outer layer of timber or just the paint. When you knock or tap on an area that you suspect has termite damage, it will sound hollow or papery. This is because part or all of the timber inside has been consumed.


When drywood termites infest a piece of wood, whether it be furniture or some other wooden element of a home, they often develop their feeding galleries and devour all of the wood in a piece of lumber or sheathing all the way to the surface of the wood. Because of this reason, drywood termite wood damage is usually detected and identified by seeing the portion of wood under the surface being almost totally consumed with just a mere thin rippled layer of painted surface left intact.


While the feeding galleries of a drywood termite infestation can by various sizes, the larger sized drywood termite galleries are usually connected by smaller galleries, basically making it so traveling between both types of galleries can be possible. 


Some of the more common stories you might read about homeowners discovering termites is that a problem is only realized when a vacuum cleaner goes through a skirting board or a finger pressed into a door frame creates a hole.


5. Hard to close doors and hard-to-open windows

While it’s usually believed to be a sign of damp or hot weather, doors that are warped or windows that become stiff when opening and closing may mean a drywood termite problem. The moisture that termites produce when consuming wood and tunneling through the wood within doors and window frames causes wood to become warped, making it difficult to shut or open windows and doors.


So don't reach for the WD-40 to lubricate your doors hinges when it's feeling tight and hard to open, you need to reach for some termite control products. 

6. Wood Tunnels

The burrows made from termites, also known as termite galleries, may be difficult to view from the from the outside. But if you simply break a piece of broken wood in your house that has been infested you will clearly see tunnels created by the infestation of termites who are staying in your home. This can be easily done when doing a DIY termite inspection by taking a screwdriver and popping a plank off to check the underside.


To be able to tell that the tunnels were made from drywood termites rather than one of the other species like the subterranean termites, you should check for mud or dirt. The presence of mud is a sign of a subterranean termite infestation. However, if the galleries and tunnels you find are free of mud and dirt, that is usually the work of drywood termites who never really go near dirt or mud because they don't really have any need for the moisture, which subterranean termites are completely dependent upon.


7. Frass – Termite Droppings

termite leave wooden waste called frass when burrowingA calling card left behind by drywood termites, is frass – which is the fecal matter they push out of their galleries when tunneling and eating wood. In large infestations of termites, frass is always looked for to indicate the size of a termite problem and where they are located. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites don’t use their droppings to build their tunnels. Drywood termites like to keep their tunnels and nests nice and clean so they push their feces out of small holes near the entrances to their nest. This results in small black marks and a dark powdery substance around the area they are infesting. Frass can easily pile up as well and is an even bigger indicator of a serious drywood termite problem.


Drywood termite frass is very fine and looks a lot like sawdust. Because of its appearance, homeowners who spot the frass believe it to be sawdust and just clean it up and discard the mess without giving it a second thought.



Drywood termites have a tendency to build their colony nests underneath the eaves and roof shingles and may also set up show between floors and ceilings in homes that have more than one floor. We recommend inspecting the attic areas and around joists when you can and watching closely for any frass that is left behind.


There have also been reported cases where frass is found on top of surfaces of the home like counters and beddings and these are usually when the drywood termites are pushing out their droppings from ceilings and the frass falls onto those surfaces.  




As a disclaimer, while these signs are a good indication of a drywood termite infestation on your home, you shouldn't jump to conclusions if you've just observed one of the above signs. However if you have seen more than one of these signs in and around your home you can make an educated guess that you are dealing with a problematic infestation of drywood termites. 


To be absolutely sure, you can contact a professional to inspect the home, or you can go the cheaper route and reach out to us and we here at Solutions Pest & Lawn can help you the best we can in diagnosing and identifying whether you have a drywood termite infestation and whether you indeed have drywood termites you are dealing with and not a different type of termite.


Inspect Your Home and Take Action

Termites are notorious for causing a ridiculous amount of damage to homes that often go undetected for long periods of time. By the time homeowners realize they have a termite problem, an expensive amount of damage may have been done to the structure and wooden elements of the home. The thing that is most painful is that these repairs done by termite damage are usually always out of pocket as insurance companies don’t insure homes for termite damage like they do for damage caused by natural disasters like tornados and hurricanes. That is why it’s important to scan the home regularly for termites.


If you happen to find termite activity in your home, you have to act FAST! Solutions Pest and Lawn can provide you with DIY advice and present you with recommendations of the best products to conduct termite treatments on your property. Give us a phone call for more information and we can help address your termite problem and present you with an effective and easy-to-follow drywood termite control plan so you can eliminate your termite problem at once.


No matter what type of termite infestation you have, DIY termite control is among the most complex tasks a homeowner can carry out even with using professional quality DIY control products. This is because drywood termites are not easy to detect. Drywood termites are very good at hiding and being low-key so they aren't spotted by us in our homes. They live deep inside wood; and aside from the times of the year where they swarm or when they are performing maintenance work on the areas of their home or they are moving to areas where there is new drywood to consume, they are hardly ever seen.


Drywood termite colonies are also on the smaller side, much smaller than those of subterranean termites. Drywood termite colonies usually have fewer than 1,000 termites together and can be widely dispersed in the home where they aren't concentrated in one area. The most common way of sighting drywood termites is when the swarmer termites have emerged out in the open seeking a mate to reproduce with during the daytime hours in the summer or during autumn. 


A successful termite control program involves a thorough inspection, multiple methods of control to ensure best results and putting in place the right preventative measures to ensure termites do not re-infest your home. You can equip yourself with all of the necessary instruments of destruction for termites by ordering our termite control kit. 


Want to know more about termites?

Check out our Knowledge base often for the latest how-tos and informative guides on termite control. The Solutions Pest & Lawn knowledge base is ever-expanding with new articles and step-by-step informative guides on termites and any other pest you may be dealing with in your home. We are available to speak to via phone at 800-479-6583, via email at askapro@solutionsstores.com or you can live chat with us about your termite problem by logging onto our website at solutionsstores.com and clicking the chat icon found on the left hand side of the web page. 









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