How to Detect Drywood Termites

Written by brenda priddy
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How to Detect Drywood Termites
Drywood termites attack wood that is dry and healthy. (tree with termite holes image by Yvette Bessels from

Drywood termites are different from subterranean termites that dig into wood from the ground. Drywood termites will attack dry wood that is nowhere near the ground. Almost any wood can become infested. It is important to detect drywood termites early as they can destroy any wood product, including house supports and furniture. Termite inspections should be done once a year.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Magnifying glass
  • Flashlight

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  1. 1

    Check to see if you live in a region that can harbour drywood termites. Drywood termites live in a very small portion of the United States, which is stretched out along the very southern edge from California all the way across to the very bottom of Virginia.

  2. 2

    Examine dry wood to find any cracks or crevices that the termites may have tunnelled through. Cracks in the surface of the wood and joints in furniture are ideal locations for drywood termites to enter.

  3. 3

    Look for small 1/8-inch diameter holes that signify a drywood termite tunnel. These can be extremely hard to spot because drywood termites plug the holes after entering.

  4. 4

    Check for small spotted areas of wood throughout the house once a year. Use a flashlight to inspect the wood indoors and out. The spotted areas of the wood generally signify the presence of termites because the termites use their pellets and chewed wood to plug their entrance and exit holes. Over time, this material becomes a different colour than the main wood, appearing as if the wood has something splattered on the surface.

  5. 5

    Check for termite droppings and waste near dry wood and any suspected tunnel openings. Drywood termite pellets are hard and they have six small inverted bumps on the sides of the pellets, and the very ends of the pellet are rounded. This gives the pellet a bumpy surface that is easy to identify. However, the pellets are very small and you may have to use a magnifying glass to check the pellets. The pellets often look like sawdust. If you notice sawdust next to a wood object, investigate for drywood termites right away.

Tips and warnings

  • The chances of having an infestation of drywood termites goes down if vents are covered and cracked wood is sealed right away. If there is no way for the termites to enter the home, then they cannot attack the wood.

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