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Western Drywood Termite Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from western drywood termites by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Incisitermes minor


How do I get rid of western drywood termites?

What Orkin Does

Drywood termite inspections and control efforts are labor intensive and exacting. Therefore, always contact your pest management professional to identify whether you have a termite problem and, if so, which termite species has invaded your property.

If you need termite control, your pest management professional will recommend the products, methods and techniques that will be most effective and efficient for your home. In addition, your pest management professional will suggest that your termite control program also include an annual termite inspection.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Western Drywood Termites


Incisitermes minor is the most common species of drywood termite infesting structures in the Southwestern portion of the United States. These termite swarmers (alates) are dark brown with smoky-black wings and a ½-inch long body. Soldier termites have a large, brown-colored head and two large mouthparts that look like teeth extending well beyond the head.

Often, drywood termites are identified by the damage they cause. Their damage can be described as looking like the termite has eaten across the wood grain, not with the wood grain. Also, their galleries are very smooth and without soil. Generally, they produce fecal pellets that are hard, small (less than 1/32-inch long), have rounded ends and are oval shaped with six concave sides. These pellets are excreted from the wood by being pushed out through kick-out holes located in the infested wood.

Behavior & Habitat

Western drywood termites do not live in the ground, do not build mud shelter tubes, and survive very well in non-decayed wood that has very little moisture content. Colonies in the wood they infest are generally small in size, approximately 3,000 individuals even after over 10-15 years, when compared to subterranean termite colonies. A distinctive characteristic of these termites is the lack of a worker caste since the nymphs perform all tasks typically done by workers.


Winged reprductives emerge during daytime hours beginning in late September and lasting through November, except in areas with warmer year-round temperatures. Inside warm interior environments, swarming can take place as early as April. Swarming occurs when the winged reproductives emerge from exit holes in the infested wood. When swarming, they often infest other wood within the same structure and will typically first infest exposed wood such as window/door frames, trim, eaves and attics.

Signs of Infestation

The first evidence of a drywood termite infestation is usually piles of brownish fecal pellets below kick-out holes. Other infestation signs are the presence of winged reproductive adults and their shed wings, plus blisters on the surface of infested wood.


The Western drywood termite’s distribution covers the southwestern states, especially Arizona and California. However, since travel and commerce can easily transport drywood termites, isolated infestations may show up throughout the United States. While distribution by these means occurs, this species has failed to become permanently established in the areas outside its normal southwestern and Pacific coastal range.

Termite Control

How do you know if you have termites?

Learn the signs to look for to determine if you might have a termite infestation.

Why should you be worried?

Termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage each year and most insurance plans don’t cover the damage.

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