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Dry Wood Termites
Subterranean Termites
Damp Wood Termites

Dry Wood Termites

Drywood termites are primitive termites whose damage often goes unnoticed by homeowners. They are similar to the familiar subterranean termites. Drywood termites belong to the family Kalotermitidae. Their ecology and behavior are distinctly different from the subterranean termites, a fact which
alters their monitoring and control procedures from those methods used for standard subterranean termites.

Drywood termites form colonies in a similar manner to other termites. They have flying forms, known as alates, which fly out in great numbers from mature colonies at certain times of the year. This process is known as swarming. Alates in a swarm will find mates and then flutter in search of dead wood in which to start a colony. Unlike the subterranean termites, the drywood termites form colonies within the wood itself rather than in the soil below. Since drywood termites form colonies within sound dead wood, they have no access to free water. This is the reason for their common name, drywood termites. Instead, they must either acquire water through metabolism (of wood) or through moisture in their environments. Some drywood termites make colonies in hot, dry areas such as southern California, where the high temperatures and low humidity reduce the available water from the environment. Since these termites live within their food, they must find ways to remove waste from their colonies. Drywood termites make small holes in the wood
they infest and occasionally kick out fecal pellets or frass. Piles of the pellets usually accumulate under these openings. These dry, smooth, and often powdery looking pellets are very characteristic of the presence of drywood termites.

Subterranean Termites

Western subterranean termites are highly destructive to douglas fir and other common timbers used in the construction of a building. They can rapidly eat out the internal sections of structural timbers – devouring mainly the spring wood, and preferring to leave the harder summer wood sections.
As`a result, infested timbers are often left as a thin shell with a honey-comb of layered hollow sections packed with moist soil.

Within a termite nest there are members of different castes, each with a different role to perform and all interdependent upon each other for survival of the colony. These include the queen, king, the winged reproductive (young kings and queens), soldier and worker termites.

The queen termite is an egg laying machine; her body is enormous compared to her off-spring; she can live more than 25 years and produce more that 2,000 eggs a day.

The king and queen live in a central chamber and are tended by the workers.

The workers are by far the largest caste in the western subterranean termite colony and
the one that does the damage; they are a creamy translucent colour, soft bodied and carry out all work in the nest, including gathering food (timber and other cellulose); constructing tunnels; repairing and enlarging the colony nest; grooming each other and feeding the soldiers, the king, queen and also caring for the young nymphs until mature.

Damp Wood Termites

Dampwood termites do not create shelter tubes as with subterranean termites. The appearance of timber damaged by dampwood termites can be varied but they always eat across the grain, consuming both spring and summerwood. While doing this, they make a series of chambers or galleries connected by tunnels whose walls are smooth as though they are finely ‘sandpapered’.

There is no soil in the galleries, but if conditions are extremely damp, the faecal pellets will stick to the gallery walls and appear as soil. If conditions are dry, the faecal pellets accumulate at the bottom of the galleries or are expelled from the galleries in the same way as drywood termites do. dampwood termites often use their faecal pellets to seal off their galleries in order to maintain a high level of humidity in the gallery system.
Biology and Habits: Dampwood termites as the name suggests, will only infest wood with a high moisture content.
The colonies of dampwood termites are exclusively wood dwelling, with most species not requiring contact with the soil.
Dampwood termites are usually found to infest felled timber, dead trees and stumps. One species may be found in dead limbs of living standing trees.
Dampwood termites may infest buildings or structures where timber is in contact with the soil or with moisture say from plumbing leaks, ventilation or drainage deficiencies. Old gutters filled with leaves may also cause excessive moisture to accumulate in wall cavities making it attractive to infestation by dampwood termites.