How To Identify Drywood Termite Infestation: 6 Signs

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Drywood termites can cause devastating damage to your furniture. In this blog, we look at how to identify the presence of these pests.

Drywood termites are a type of termite whose food source is dry wood rather than moist wood.

Thus, they are able to do termite damage inside homes, especially to furniture, window frames, hardwood floors, and so on.

While doing a termite inspection, there are certain signs of drywood termites inside your furniture.

These include hollow sounds, termite droppings, feeding galleries, termite wings, clicking noises, and stuck doors and windows.

How To Identify Drywood Termite Infestation: Helpful Tips

Termite Poop (Frass)

Criminals always leave behind proof, and similarly, drywood termites leave behind frass. Drywood termite droppings (their fecal matter) are called frass.

Termites build their nests inside wooden structures, and they like to keep their nests clean. So they throw out their fecal matter from tiny pores near the entryways of the nest.

Frass looks similar to sawdust or grounded coffee grains. When you remove the pellet, a dry, black, powdery substance is left behind, along with a dark mark on the spot.

If you find a pile of frass around your furniture, it indicates a severe drywood termite Infestation.

Hollow Furniture

Drywood termites are more dangerous than other species as they do not need moisture to sustain their lives.

Instead, they reside inside the wood and start eating it from inside. Over time, they hollow it out and leave behind just the outer shell.

If you suspect drywood infestation, try knocking on your wooden furniture, doors, and frames. If the sound is hollow, it is confirmation that drywood termites indeed infest your house.

In severe termite infestations, pressing your finger into the window frame or furniture might end up creating a hole in it. While vacuuming, you might even end up going through the furniture because it is completely hollow inside!

Termites create feeding galleries to eat up wood right upto the surface, leaving nothing but a thin layer of paint.

How To Identify Drywood Termite Infestation: Helpful Tips

Wood Tunnels

The feeding galleries mentioned above are a telltale sign of termite infestations. But you cannot see them from a distance.

Even a closer inspection might not help you find these feeding tunnels. You might have to break an already damaged piece of wooden furniture to view them.

You would discover tunnels of comparable sizes that are connected to each other to allow termites to pass from them.

Alternatively, you can use a screwdriver to make a hole inside wooden furniture to inspect for tunnels.

If you find dirt or soil in the tunnels, then the subterranean termites are the culprits; otherwise, it is the work of drywood termites.

Termite Wings

A group of drywood termites called alates or swarmers are the reproductive caste of the colony.

Often these winged termites move out of their settlement to find a suitable mate and start a new drywood termite colony, especially during late fall.

This means making the infestation scenario is getting worse for you.

Once these termites find their mate, they lose their wings and dig into new territory to reproduce and make a colony.

These swarmers take the role of the kings and queens of the new settlement. They take care of the offspring until enough worker termites are produced to take over the nursing duties.

The presence of flying termites and termite wings in the house indicates that drywood termites are now spreading to new wooden pieces in the house.

How To Identify Drywood Termite Infestation: Helpful Tips

Clicking Noises

Yes, termites are pretty noisy pests. Although it requires an expert ear to identify the clicking noises from other insects, drywood termites make a racket.

Soft clicking sounds might come from behind the walls of an infested area.

The sound comes from termites that bang their head against the wooden surface or shake their bodies to alarm the colony of forthcoming danger.

Clicking noises are also made by worker termites when they are eating their meal. When they chomp off your favorite wood furniture from the inside, they make a noise.

Another interesting fact about drywood termites is that they are very sensitive to sounds coming from their surroundings and can easily sense danger.

They make noises to alarm their fellow colony members about such dangers, which makes a racket inside the furniture.

White Ants

If you find that your house is inhabited by too many white-colored ants, look closer. They might be drywood termites wrecking your house.

But how can you tell if it’s a termite or an ant?

Well, termites are not exactly white-colored. They are cream-colored, unlike white ants. Termites sometimes also look translucent.

Additionally, termite antennae are straighter, whereas ants have bent antennae.

Ants are thread-waisted. That is, they have a much narrower abdomen than termites.

White ants also have two sets of wings – one larger and one smaller, while the wings of termites are of comparable sizes.

How To Identify Drywood Termite Infestation: Helpful Tips

Furniture That Doesn’t Open or Close Properly

Some of the favorite places of termites to reside in your house include furniture, wooden frames of doors, and window sill.

They move inside the wood and start eating them and building their nests. The colonies of termites grow in size every day, hollowing your picture frames.

The infestation might even spread to the wooden doors and windows, creating a pest disaster.

Most people think that closing furniture or doors is becoming harder due to damp weather during rains.

But termites can also make the wood become warped, thus making it difficult to close them properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do drywood termite damage hardwood floors?

Yes, drywood termites can damage hardwood floors. But it is unlikely to happen as termites prefer softwood rather than hardwood.
But if termites do infest the floor, it would not be visible to the homeowner until it has become dangerously weak.

What do drywood termites look like?

Drywood termite swarmers measure half an inch, while soldiers measure closer to 3/8th of an inch in length.
They are not white in color but rather have a creamy to brown tinge. They might be similar to white ants but have a wider waist and wings of comparable sizes.

What is the best way to get rid of drywood termites?

Seeking help from the experts would be the wisest decision if your termite infestations keep coming back.
Other ways include the use of insecticidal chemicals or herbal solutions in your house.
Some of these include spreading essential oils like neem and orange oil, and boric acid powder all over your furniture to repel these pests.

Where are drywood termites most often found in homes?

Drywood termites can be found in any wooden structure present in your home.
Infestation occurs in a particular region on wooden structures, furniture, doors, door frames, window sills, and even wooden floors.
Since these pests can live inside dry wood, they do not need damp or moist wood to live inside your home.

Wrap Up

Drywood termites can wreck your entire house in just a few months.

If you have the slightest doubt about termite infestation and seek professional help as early as possible.

The presence of fecal pellets and wings inside the house are the two most easy ways to identify their presence.

Homeowners that live in areas where the infestation is common should perform preventive pest control at least once a year.

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.

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  • 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.

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Tags: Drywood Termites

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