The southeastern drywood termite, Incisitermes snyderi (Light), is a termite found mostly in the southeastern states of the United States. Southeastern drywood termites live in relatively dry wood compared to their subterranean counterparts. In fact, southeastern drywood termites will infest and consume what appears to be sound wood, with a moisture content of approximately 12%. Usually, 12% is a safe moisture level and is not conducive to damaging subterranean termites. Drywood termites actually prefer the dry wood.
Southeastern drywood termites are typically found from South Carolina to Texas and south. They are also found on the islands east of the United States, such as the Bahamas. While southeastern drywood termites are more commonly found in these areas, they can be easily transported in infested furniture including picture frames. Drywood termites have been found in New England after a move from Florida.
Southeastern drywood termite swarmers or reproductives are up to a half inch long and are tan in color. These swarmers are attracted to light and typically swarm at night. The swarming season is long, from spring to early fall.
Drywood termites in general do not have huge colonies. The number of insects in a colony is only several thousand compared to over a million for some subterranean termites. Since the drywood termites do not have to go to the soil for moisture, there are no mud tubes or shelter tubes. Usually, the first sign of southeastern drywood termites is the appearance of pellets on floors or other horizontal surfaces. These pellets are small hard droppings the color of the wood consumed. These are about 1/32” long and have six concave sides.
What is interesting is that there are no worker termites in this species. All “workers” are immature termites.
Treatments for control of southeastern drywood termites range from local treatment to structural fumigation or fumigation of infested materials.