Scientific Name: Incisitermes minor
The western drywood termite is part of the Kalotermitidae family.
Distribution in the U.S.
The western drywood termite is found primarily in California and Arizona. There are some western drywood termites in the coastal areas of Washington, Oregon and Florida, with other infestations occasionally located outside these regions. In non-native regions, the termites are usually traced to shipments of furniture or wood that originated in an area where these termites are common.
Western drywood termites eat and nest in fences, utility poles and the dead portions of many types of trees, as well as the structural wood inside homes and pieces of furniture.
Do Western Drywood Termites Damage Homes?
In the southwestern U.S., the western drywood termite is the most common termite found in man-made structures. Western drywood termites seem particularly attracted to new homes that are in the process of being framed. They also are a threat to wooden furniture.
Drywood termites form smaller colonies than subterranean termites. As a result, they cause damage at a slower rate than most subterranean termite colonies. Under optimal conditions, it would take seven years for a drywood termite colony to grow to a size that could consume 0.5 lb of wood a year.
What Do Western Drywood Termites Look Like?
Swarming western drywood termite alates are approximately 1/2 inch, including the length of their wings. Their bodies are an orange-brown color at the top and a dark brown or black at the bottom. Their wings are dark with dark veins.
Closeup of western drywood swarmer:
Soldiers measure approximately 1/3 inch and have reddish-brown heads with large jaws and unusual-shaped antennae.
When Do Western Drywood Termites Swarm?
Western drywood termites may swarm any time of the year, depending on the local conditions. These termites prefer sunny days when the temperature is at least 80 degrees. In California, peak swarming season typically takes place in the fall, from September through November.