Pest Identification

Drywood Soldier


Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Incisitermies snyderi, Cryptotermes brevis, and Incisitermes minor


There are three common species of drywood termites found in the south. You can identify the species by looking at certain features of either the swarming termites or solider termites. Incisitermes snyderi are the most common species found. The reproductive termites are light yellow in color and are 7/16 inch long. The wings are uniformly transparent. Their swarming tends to occur at night, and tend to swarm towards lights. Cryptotermes brevis are similar in appearance to Incisitermes snyderi. The body of the swarmers for Incisitermes minor are dark and measure approximately 9/16 inch long. Their wings are yellow, brown or colorless and will swarm during the day-time. For both species of Incisitermes, the soldiers are about 5/16 inches long with dark yellow-brown heads with strong mandibles. The head of the soldier for Cryptotermes brevis is square shaped, black in color with very short mandibles. The worker termites are smaller than the soldiers with soft, white bodies.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Unlike subterranean termites, drywoods do not need moisture or soil to create a nest. They are always found inside dry wood. They eat and build galleries both across and within the wood grain and produce dry, six-sided fecal pellets. The pellets are often ejected from their galleries. The wings of drywood alates have three or more major veins on the front edge. Drywood soldiers have teeth on the inside edge of the mandibles. Depending on the species of Drywood, they will swarm either at various times of the day. The most common drywood termites swarm in the evenings and tend to be drawn to light.


Drywood Termite colonies are smaller than the typical subterranean colony, and they take several years to fully mature. This causes fewer new colonies to be established because there are fewer swarmers (reproductive) to be produced. The drywood swarmers tend to be weak flyers so this makes it that much more difficult to find other ter-mites to mate with.

Signs of Drywood Termite Infestation

The presence of winged reproductives is usually the first sign of a drywood termite infestation. They can be found swarming from small openings found in the surface of the wood. They will quickly lose their wings after swarming, but the wings are necessary for the proper identification of the termites. If found within the structure, it is almost a sure sign that they are in the structural timbers of the building. If they are found outdoors, they may have come either from within the structure or from nearby timber or brush. Damage to wood, though seldom apparent, definitely indicates a past or present infestation of drywood termites. These termites will consume both the harder summerwood and the soft spring wood of timbers. This leaves a smooth sculptured appearance to their galleries. Fecal pellets will be present in the galleries.