Do Termites Eat Dry Wood? Truth Revealed

Do termites eat dry wood, or is it just old wet and damp wood?

Many people believe that termites only eat damp and decaying wood.

However, there is one species of termite that can also attack dry wood inside the house. Let’s learn more about these pests.

Drywood termites, as the name hints, eat hard and dry wooden furniture, flooring, and roofs of the houses they infest.

So, yes, termites do eat dry wood. These termites only need little moisture to survive, which they get from the drywood they eat and live in.

Continue reading to learn more about these types of termite pests.

Do Termites Eat Dry Wood? Truth Revealed

What Are Drywood Termites?

Drywood termites live inside hardwood and, unlike dampwood termites, do not need soil for moisture – they get enough from the air around them.

These termites live in castle-based colonies, with approximately 1,000 termites in each.

As a first step to establishing her colony, the queen termite finds a good spot to mate and lays eggs. This marks the beginning of infestation in the wood structures of your home.

When the eggs hatch, some become worker termites, while others grow to become soldiers who guard the colony against predators.

A few others grow wings in the early fall months, August and September. Their job is to create new drywood termite colonies by seeking forth and scouting for locations.

Drywood Termite Characteristics

The size of a drywood termite is determined by its caste. Reproductive termites are about half-inch long. They are longer than soldier termites since they need to lay eggs. Soldier termites are usually only three-eights of an inch in length.

The other important characteristic of this type of termite is its color, which can range from yellowish-brown to light brown, but it is typically pale brown.

Winged termites have a pair of smokey-gray wings, but some of them might also be colorless.

As mentioned, drywood termites do not need wet and soft wood for moisture.

They thrive on hardwood structures, like furniture or hardwood floors and fences. They can cause a significant infestation inside your house, especially since they live in large colonies.

Do Termites Eat Dry Wood? Truth Revealed

Where Can You Find Them in the US?

Drywood termites are common on the West Coast, Florida, and Hawaii but can also be found in Texas and North Carolina.

Since these termites’ primary food source is hardwood floors and furniture, you should check your house for termite infestation regularly if you live in these states.

What Do They Eat?

The drywood termites thrive on cellulose found in wood and other plants. They search for dry wood structures such as hardwood floors, furniture, and structural timbers.

Unlike subterranean termites, which live in soil, this species thrives on drywood found above the ground.

Do Termites Eat Dry Wood? Truth Revealed

Signs of Termite Damage

Soldier drywood termites grow wings when they need to look for a new spot to set up a colony.

So, the first sign of an infestation is to look for winged reproductive termites swarming in small holes in wooden structures.

The soldiers lose wings after swarming, so you can also spot these wings near wooden furniture and can use them to identify them.

If you find swarmers or their wings in the house, the colony is already in the making. However, if you find them outdoors, they may have come from the wooden structures underneath your home or from any nearby timber.

Remember, drywood termites are attracted to light. Most houses leave one or two lights open at night, so to avoid an infestation, try to switch them off.

Tips for Drywood Termite Control

As discussed before, if you notice reproductive termites emerging from holes in your wooden furniture, it is a significant sign of termite infestation.

If you find this happening, you must seek out good pest management professionals. Many of them offer free termite inspections, and you can take benefit of this service.

Some other signs of infestation may also include clicking noises from inside the furniture, small wood pellets, mud tubes, and blistering on the surface of the wooden objects.

Termite tunnels are quite close to the surface, and so are the blisters. They are easy to spot if you look carefully.

The pellets are nothing but fecal matter from the termites. It is chewed-up and undigested wood and usually matches the color of the furniture near which it is found.

You can also follow the following tips for drywood termite control:

  • Keep hardwood structures like firewood and lumber far away from your house.
  • Use type 20 mesh screen to fit your doors, windows, vents, etc., especially those that lead you to areas like attics, fences, and crawl spaces.
  • Use paint, varnish, or any other sealant to cover your house’s hard and dry wood material. Make sure to seal any holes or cracks in the wood regularly.

Do Termites Eat Dry Wood? Truth Revealed

Frequently Asked Questions

Will termites infest drywood?

Yes, drywood termites are a species of insects that infest even the dry wood that is commonly found in furniture and houses.
There are other termites that live underground and need moisture from the soil to survive. However, drywood termites don’t need a lot of moisture; whatever they need, they can absorb from the air.
They eat and live inside dry and hardwood. They can cause severe damage to wooden structures.

Do termites eat old drywood?

The drywood termite can eat both old and new drywood. It doesn’t need a lot of moisture to thrive, unlike subterranean termites. It is able to get the moisture it needs from the air.
Drywood termites can get inside the frames of doors and windows, on your furniture, in the structural wood of your house, and so on.

How do you get rid of drywood termites?

The best way to get rid of drywood termites is to hire a good pest management professional. You should also avoid keeping drywood away from your house’s foundation and seal any cracks in it.
Moreover, keep your furniture and wooden structures painted and varnished at all times to avoid an infestation.

What are the signs of drywood termite infestation?

The main sign of termite infestation is to notice reproductive ‘winged’ termites emerging from tiny holes in the wood structure.
You can also see blistering on wood surfaces and hear clicking noises from the walls. Other signs include small wood pellets near holes in wood and termite wings.

Wrap Up

We hope this article helped you learn a thing or two about drywood termites.

They are wood-eating insects that can cause severe damage to your furniture, wood frames, hardwood flooring, and structural wood beneath your house.

Thus, it is important to notice the signs of infestation and get rid of them at the earliest sign.

Thank you for reading!


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

Leave a Comment