Drywood Termite


Actual Size: ¼ to ⅜”

Characteristics: Wide variation of size and coloration. Can be told apart from ants by the equal-sized, drooping wings.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Wings: Alates/swarmers have wings.

Habitat: Feeds on dry wood above ground level, and prefers warm or humid environments.


  • Has saw-like jaws that can bite through dry wood.
  • Less common than the subterranean termite.
  • Adapted to live with very little water.

Drywood Termites in the Pacific Northwest

Drywood termites look and act slightly different from other species of termites. As their name implies, they typically target dry wood rather than damp or decaying wood. Additionally, drywood termites do not require moist soil to survive – which means they typically build their colonies inside of wood, rather than in the ground. Though these termites are not as destructive as subterranean termites, they eat across the grain of wood and can severely weaken the structural integrity of homes or other buildings. Most infestations can be spotted because of discarded wings, feces, or small piles of a sawdust-like substance called frass. Some drywood colonies also swarm, which is another way to identify an outbreak.

Drywood Termite Habitat

Since drywood termites do not feed on damp wood, they rely on the moisture within the air. That is why drywood termites typically thrive in warmer, humid climates where winters are mild. Most drywood termites will enter homes through exposed wooden beams, and they may be carried indoors on wooden furniture. Once they have found the perfect habitat, these termites will live inside of the piece of wood that they also use to feed.

Drywood Termite Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Drywood termites are not aggressive and do not pose a health risk to humans. However, they can cause extensive damage that may weaken the structural integrity of buildings and lead to a safety concern. It can also take years to detect these termites, which means they can cause a lot of destruction before they are even found. If you see any signs of an infestation on or near your property, it is important to call a professional termite exterminator before the colony can spread.