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Drywood termites and what to know about this DESTRUCTIVE PEST

Termites: The Hidden Culprits of Southern California Home Damage

drywood termite
drywood termite


Drywood termites are airborne and do not require contact with the ground. Often found in attics, crawl spaces, patio covers, wall framing and various areas around the home.  The first sign a home owner usually sees is damage or droppings

Interesting facts on DRYWOOD TERMITES

Drywood termites can enter your home through small cracks and crevices in your walls, windows, and doors. If you have any access points in your home, you are at risk of a drywood termite infestation. Drywood termites are attracted to wooden structures, including furniture, flooring, and the framing of buildings. Drywood termites are more common in areas with warm and dry climates, as they do not require moisture from soil to survive. Drywood termites also produce termite pellets, which are a type of termite excrement. These pellets are larger than frass and have a distinctive hexagonal shape. If you find termite pellets near your wooden structures, it is likely that you have a drywood termite infestation.

Drywood termites avoid light making it difficult to detect. They can live 10-12 years. They feed on wood from the inside out, making it difficult to detect an infestation until it's too late. Look for droppings, wings, damage or kickout holes

Termites have a straight waist, straight antennae and their wings are equal in size. The swarmer is black with a red head. Workers and other termites are clear or white. Ants have pinched waists

Drywood termites can cause extensive damage in as little as 3 years. There are up to 2500 termites and often multiple colonies in properties. They do not need moisture or contact with ground

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When we think of threats to our homes in Southern California, we usually think of natural disasters like fires, earthquakes, and flooding. However, the biggest threat to our homes is not a natural disaster but rather drywood termites. These small pests are responsible for nearly $30 billion of annual damage to crops and man made structures in the United States alone. In Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange counties, between 60 and 80 percent of all structures have at least one minor termite colony.












The termite life cycle begins when a female drywood termite emits a pheromone to attract a male. Once a pair has found each other, they'll enter a crack or crevice in your home and break off their own wings for easier burrowing. Then, they gnaw a pear-shaped chamber where they mate. Young termites, known as nymphs, cause the most burrowing damage in their effort to help build the colony. A typical colony of drywood termites takes about four years to mature, all the while chowing down on wood and damaging your structure.























Drywood termites can enter your home through vents or openings in trim, eaves, window frames, and open framing. Often, the first place they are detected is within the raw beams and framing of garages and attics and eaves. From the first onset it may be difficult to identify. Often, they are eating interior wall framing and inacessible areas. And, since they attack from the inside, you may not know the damage you've sustained until it's too late.




A new colony can have 100,000 workers and an established colony can have upwards of 2 million. Imagine what 2 million termites can do if left to what they do best?  Which is to eat and destroy structures from the inside out without leaving any noticeable trace. This is why they are so pervasive in Southern California—nobody notices until it's too late.



However, there are warning signs of drywood termite infestations that you can look out for. These include swarmers flying in spring and summer months, small wings near window sills, droppings or pellets like course sawdust near window sills, baseboards or garage framing,  bubbling or warped wood, and wood damage.



Tombstone Termite Control is number one at identifying and has many treatment options for each unique situation and budget, including fumigation, local targeted termite treatment, environmentally conscious options, and all the wood repairs. You may need.  We also recommend using preventative measures and yearly termite service contracts to keep your home termite-free.


















Staying up to date on house repairs, this is something you can do to discourage these unwanted buggers. This includes priming and painting all unpainted or exposed raw wood on your home or structure, such as fascia boards and rafter tails. Caulking and sealing gaps. Removing or covering firewood. Trimming trees not hang over eaves. Additionally, use fine mesh screens over vent openings, as termites love accessing your home through ventilation but mesh screens are good for keeping them out.


Drywood termites are smaller than other species of termites, ranging from 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. They are light brown in color and have wings, which they lose after mating and forming a new colony. Unlike other species of termites, drywood termites do not live in the soil, they are airborne. Instead, they build their nests inside wood and other cellulose-based materials. This makes them a unique and challenging pest to control.



Drywood termites are found throughout Southern California, including the Riverside, Corona, Temecula area. They are most active from May to September and are attracted to warm, dry environments. They are commonly found in homes and other buildings, as well as outdoor structures like decks, fences, and patio covers.

The damage caused by drywood termites can be extensive and costly. They can infest wooden structures and furniture, causing significant structural damage. 



















In conclusion, drywood termites are a significant threat to the integrity of our homes and structures in Southern California. Their ability to cause extensive damage without and sometimes hardly leaving any trace makes it essential to be proactive in maintaining your property and having annual inspection. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation, contact Tombstone Termite Control for a professional evaluation.

Swarming Termites in Spring and Summer

Colony Size- 100,000-2 million

What Happens Next? Signs of Termite Infestations

Early Stages

Warning Signs

What We Can You Do

Drywood termite size & charicteristics

Termites Invest Homes, Patios & Garage 

What you can do

Drywood termites, also known as Incisitermes minor, feed on wood, including the wood in our homes and property. They typically swarm in spring and summer months, especially after a rain.

Despite their poor eyesight, these pests are very organized and can develop complex colonies in your home without you even noticing. In fact, they are often confused with flying ants due to their visual similarities, except that they are pale white in color.

Drtwood termite swarmer

Here are some key indicators of a drywood termite infestation:

  • Small, pinpoint holes in wooden surfaces or drywall: Drywood termites create tiny holes in wood as they burrow through it. These holes are typically round and roughly the size of a pinhead.

  • Termite droppings: Probably the most common and obvious. Also known as frass, these are small, pellet-like droppings that drywood termites leave behind as they tunnel through wood. Look for piles of frass near wooden surfaces or inside furniture basboards or window sills.

  • Winged termites: Drywood termites will occasionally swarm, during which time winged termites will fly around looking for a new place to build a colony. If you see large numbers of winged termites inside or outside your home, it could indicate a drywood termite infestation.

  • Hollow-sounding wood: If you tap on a wooden surface and it sounds hollow or papery, it could be a sign of termite damage.

termite droppings on window sill
drywood termite damage in Moreno Valley CA

Drywood termite or ant?

Here are some key indicators of a drywood termite infestation damage:

  • Small, pellets

  • No moisture apparent but wood falls apart

  • Check for sagging, buckling or distorted wood surfaces. This can indicate that the wood has been hollowed out from the inside by termites. Sometimes found when installing Christmas lights on fascia and eaves

Drywood termite damage 



  • Have a narrow "waist" between their thorax and abdomen

  • Have elbowed antennae

  • Have front wings that are larger than their hind wings

  • Have a more visible head and eyes

  • Have a more colorful and distinct body shape and coloring, such as red, black, or brown


  • Have a broad waist that connects their thorax and abdomen

  • Have straight antennae

  • Have four wings of equal size and shape

  • Have a head that is less distinct from their body and eyes that are smaller and less noticeable

  • Have a more uniform and pale coloration, often white or light brown.  

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