We'll Turn Your Negative Pest Problem Into A Positive Solution!

How to Tell the Difference Between Drywood and Subterranean Termite Damages

June 28, 2022
Positive Pest Control placeholder photo

Termite damage can be difficult to deal with, especially if it affects your walls, ceilings, and posts. These insects can eat through even the most durable wooden architecture. Some homeowners make the mistake of treating all of these insects the same way, even though there are two common species of termites that can infest a home.

So what are the differences between drywood and subterranean termite damages? Some telltale signs of a drywood termite damage include hollow-sounding wood and sandy particles, while those of a subterranean termite damage include small holes with dirt and the formation of mud tunnels.

Something Bugging You?

Signs of Drywood Termite Damage

Drywood termites leave visible traces of their infestation, although the more obvious signs signify that the damage has advanced to a more complex stage. Some of these include hollow spaces, visible cracks, sandy particles, termite skeletons, and wings.

When drywood termites destroy wood structures, you should start by getting rid of the termite colonies before fixing the damaged parts. Otherwise, you may have to spend more money to get rid of recurring termite problems. 

1) Hollow-Sounding Wood

Since they are smaller and quieter, drywood termite colonies may not be detectable unless they cause visible damage to your wooden structures. The most common victims of termites include door frames, floorboards, and windowsills. In some cases, they may also eat through wooden closets and pantries in the summer months.

Drywood termites live inside the wood structures. They may live undetected in the walls for years. One of the only ways you can find drywood termites in the early stages is to knock on your surfaces and furniture. If they make a hollow sound, then termites might be present in your home. 

2) Damaged and Weak Wood

Drywood termites directly infest the wooden structures in a home, especially furniture. Without a nest in the soil, they live within the walls and ceilings of many houses. Over time, they eat through the wood, leaving many structures weak and brittle. During the advanced stages of an infestation, you may notice that some walls only have a thin outer layer left.

3) Sandy Particles

These “sandy particles” you may find in your homes are termite droppings, also known as “frass.” They’re a mixture of soil and fecal matter. Termite frass collections are small, hard particles that look similar to sawdust. Large amounts of frass indicate that there are drywood termite colonies inside your home.

4) Visible Termite Remains

Drywood termites are very sensitive; swarms may die out if they last long without returning to their nests. If they spend too much time exposed to sunlight or dry air, their remains may fall onto the floor. 

5) Bubbling Paint

Drywood termites eat through the inner wooden frames of structures. As a result, they may affect the physical appearance of some walls. The thin wooden layers left from the damage may not be enough to retain the coating of paint on the exterior of the affected area. If you see large bubbles of paint on a wall, they could be a sign of drywood termite damage.

Signs of Subterranean Termite Damage

Subterranean termites are easier to spot since they leave mud tunnels and a visible mound of dirt when they infest a household. They also need contact with soil before entering a house. In addition, they also make louder noises than drywood termites.

1) Buzzing Noises

Subterranean termites make loud, buzzing noises that can easily be heard in a quiet room. If you bring your ears close to a wall, you may hear them. You can knock on the suspected area to check if it’s hollow. A hollow area with buzzing indicated the presence of a subterranean colony.

2) Small Holes With Dirt

Subterranean termites eat through wood via pin holes or small entry points. They may leave dirt particles when they enter these holes. If you find clumps of soil around openings in your wood, you may have an infestation of subterranean termites.

3) Mud Tunnels

Mud tunnels are the most obvious signs of termite infestation. These look like tiny lines of hard dirt placed on doors, walls, and ceilings. These tunnels act as transportation and protection for termites. To check if there’s an active infestation of termites, you can break away a small tunnel piece. Some termites may go out to repair the break in the area.

4) Droopy Floorboards

Although floorboards are less susceptible to damage than walls and ceilings, their weakness is a sign that there may be subterranean termites nearby. The floorboards are close to the soil, where these insects build long-term nests.

5) Swarms of Insects

Although drywood termites also have swarms, subterranean termites travel in larger numbers. In fact, some subspecies of subterranean termites can have a million members in a single colony. Their nests can also be easily seen in the soil, as they resemble anthills.

Get Rid of Termite Damage In Your House With Positive Pest Management

Whether you have drywood or subterranean termites in your home, it is best to consult a team of professional exterminators to prevent recurring infestations. At Positive Pest Management, we have a capable group of specialists that can treat your termite problems. We can also help you repair any long-standing damages in your home.

Get your peace of mind back and give us a call to schedule an initial consultation. You may also visit our website for more information.

Something Bugging You?

Form - Sidebar