Scientific Name: Cryptotermes brevis
The tropical rough-headed drywood termite is part of the Kalotermitidae family. It is sometimes known by other common names: the West Indian drywood termite or powderpost termite.
Distribution in the U.S.
Tropical rough-headed drywood termites are found in Hawaii, Florida and the coastal areas of the Southeast, as well as Galveston and Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the first infestation was identified in 1919, these tropical termites have become the most common drywood termites in Florida. Globally, West Indian drywood termites are believed to be the most widespread termites.
Colonies can contain more than 1,000 termites. It takes approximately five years for a colony to mature, and a single colony can exist for more than 10 years. Colonies have been found living in close proximity to each other – with multiple colonies supported by a single door or wall frame.
As a drywood termite, West Indian termites do not require soil contact. They can remain completely hidden in the wood they infest, except for swarming alates.
Do Tropical Rough-headed Drywood Termites Damage Homes?
This species of tropical termites is thought to cost U.S. residents and businesses $120 million annually in control and damage costs. They are known to infest homes, buildings, boxes and wooden furniture items.
What Do Tropical Rough-headed Drywood Termites Look Like?
The tropical rough-headed drywood alate (swarmer) is brown and about 3/8 inch in length, including its wings. The shed wings of an alate are about 1/3 inch and translucent.
The soldier is 1/5 inch long. Its wrinkled head is very dark and about 0.05 inches (1.3 millimeters) wide with mandibles that face down.
When Do Tropical Rough-headed Drywood Termites Swarm?
The tropical rough-headed drywood alate swarms at night, typically from April through July.