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Drywood Termites (Cryptotermes Domesticus) – Profile and Information

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This species of termites were once thought to be exotic, but it is now regarded as a native species and has been found in various locations across northern Australia, even in several islands off north-eastern Queensland and the Torres Strait.

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It is also found in Singapore and Malaysia in South-east Asia.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Blattodea
  • Family: Kalotermitidae
  • Genus: Cryptotermes
  • Species: C. domesticus

Drywood termites scientifically called Cryptotermes domesticus typically feed live and nest in undecayed wood, which has low moisture content.

Different from the subterranean termites, they do not need any contact with the soil to live. Hence they can severely cause damage to wooden objects such as furniture, doors, etc.

In the USA, drywood termites can be discovered in a little strip that runs roughly from Florida to California, they in comfortable in tropical climates where wooden structures are abundant, and winters are not harsh and severe.

Unlike its subterranean counterparts, it does not need moist soil or water nearby to survive. Hence, they are often found in dry wood above ground level. The wood they eat provides the moisture they need for sustenance.

Typically a male and female pair damage their way into the wood chosen for their nesting. The opening through which they enter the wood is sealed with a filling of the brown cement-like substance of around 1/8-inch in diameter.

Behind this filling, they carve a chamber where the queen lays the first batch of eggs. The nymphs which hatch from these eggs serve as the worker of the colony. Soldiers and reproductives also develop from these nymphs, as there is no unique worker caste.

These termites cut across the fiber of the wood, digging large chambers which are connected by small tunnels. The cavities and tunnels are used to keep the colony clean. Excreta and other waste are stored in unused chambers or thrown out through small openings in the wood.

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During the swarming period, round holes 1-16 to 1-8 inch are excavated by Nymphs, through which the reproductive forms leave the nest. When swarming is completed, these holes are filled in with the same material used to fill entrance holes.

Swarming flights of drywood termites ensue from April to July, frequently after rains. Winged adults are dark brown and about 1/2-inch long. The white, soft-bodied workers and nymphs remain in the galleries and are not seen unless the wood is broken open.

The light western drywood termites is found from California to Arizona scientifically called Marginitermes hubbardi; It is also known as the southern drywood termite. This termite has very identical habits to the western drywood termite but prefers drier environments and higher temperatures.

Habitats

There are three species of drywood termites are mostly found in the southeastern part of the U.S. They are :

The Incisitermes snyderi (light southeastern drywood termite) which is found from South Carolina to Florida and west to Texas. It is the most destructive species of drywood termite inhabiting the areas mentioned above.

A second drywood termite, IIncisitermes schwartzi(Banks), is a widespread species in southern Florida that inhabit as far north as Pensacola.

Lastly, the dark southeastern drywood termite, Kalotermes approximates (Snyder), which is found around the Gulf Coast west to New Orleans and on the Atlantic Coast north to southern Virginia. It attacks wood in different structures.

Characteristics

The drywood termites are usually of various sizes, depending on their caste, which can range from 3.5 to 12.7 millimeters. Drywood termites are often dull brown, al although their colors can vary from pale yellow to dark brown. Alates have wings than can be smokey gray. A soldier is usually

The larvae have a general pale yellowish-brown body-color with its head paler than other body parts, with wings slightly tinged with brown. Their eyes are usually large and odd, and they also have Antennae composed of 15-16 segments. Head and pronotum often have hairs.

As with most species of termites, drywood termites are categorized in a caste system. When a queen finds the right location for a colony, which often is in the rafters of a home, she selects a mate (or king) and starts laying eggs.

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The eggs hatch and join the worker caste that eats and subsequently cause damages wood and provide sustenance for the rest of the colony. Drywood termite colonies are much smaller in size than subterranean termite colonies.

A mature colony can have about a few hundred to a few thousand members. It takes many years for a settlement to have swarmers (the alates) that are future kings and queens of new colonies.

Swarmers leave the nest and are the caste of drywood termites that people see most often, with favorable conditions, the female and male swarmer (Queen and king) will start up a new colony in a crack or other opening in the wood.

These new colonies develop slowly. After two years, there can be less than 50 workers, and one soldier and Swarmers are not produced until four years or later.

As the termite colony gets older, some of the termites mature into reproductive or soldier castes. Reproductive termites can grow wings, swarm, and form new colonies. Soldier termites defend the established territory from other species of termites, ants, and other various threats.

The drywood termites like most species of termites feed on cellulose found in plants and wood. This is why they are found in homes, fences, and trees. Nonetheless, drywood termites eat across the fiber of the wood, which destroys the wood, Most subterranean termites avoid the harder layers of wood, eating only the more delicate layers.

Because they eat across the grain, the tunneling can lead to a building or tree collapsing if the colony’s network of tunnels grows too extensive.

Drywood Termite Frass

Drywood Termite excretal pellets called grass are a distinguishing characteristic of this non-subterranean species of termites. These pellets are oval-shaped, sturdy, and have six different concave surfaces on the sides; it ends are rounded.

Certain anobiid beetles also eject pellets from wood in which they feed. These pellets can easily be distinguished from those of drywood termites because they have rounded, convex surfaces.

Entrance into wood is usually made from a crack or crevice which the termites can enter before boring into the wood. This may be a crack in the wood itself or maybe the joint between two pieces of wood or even the opening underneath roofing or sheathing paper.

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Because of their ability to inhabit wood without soil contact, drywood termites are frequently found in furniture and other wooden objects int areas where they usually are not found.

Drywood termites may wreck wood products of all kinds. Architectural woodwork and timbers in buildings, wooden objects, as well as furniture, can be damaged. Although, these termites are usually less destructive than subterranean termites because they are widely spread.

A typical subterranean termite colony can contain more than 500,000 termites, while a typical drywood termite colony only holds about 10,000.

The dark western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor (Hagen), is the most destructive of the species, It is found typically in Eastern California to Utah and Arizona.

In this region, it causes substantial damage to structures as well as to piled lumber, telephone poles, furniture, and wooden derricks. It can invade any dry wooden fraction of a structure from the foundation to the roof.

Certain anobiid beetles also eject pellets from wood in which they feed. These pellets can easily be distinguished from those of drywood termites because they need rounded, convex surfaces.

Entrance into wood is typically made up of a crack or crevice which the termites can enter before boring into the wood. This may be a crack in the wood itself or maybe the joint between two pieces of wood or even the opening underneath roofing or sheathing paper.

Because of their ability to inhabit wood without soil contact, drywood termites are frequently found in furniture and other wooden objects int areas where they typically aren’t found.

Drywood termites may wreck wood products of all kinds. Architectural woodwork and timbers in buildings, wooden objects, as well as furniture, can be damaged. Although, these termites are usually less destructive than subterranean termites because they are widely spread.

A typical subterranean termite colony can contain more than 500,000 termites, while a typical drywood termite colony only holds about 10,000.

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The dark western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor (Hagen), is the most destructive of the species, It is found typically in Eastern California to Utah and Arizona.

In this region, it causes substantial damage to structures as well as to piled lumber, telephone poles, furniture, and wooden derricks. It can invade any dry wooden fraction of a structure from the foundation to the roof.

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