What’s The Difference Between Drywood Termites And Subterranean Termites?

The termites are pests that have a bad reputation for destroying wooden buildings made by humans. However, not all termites are the same, and not all do the same damage when they get into a house. But no matter what kind they are, they seem to be bad news for your home. 

So if you know how each species is different, you can do anything you can to stop these invaders from eating up your investment. Here’s a list to help you tell the difference between drywood and subterranean termites:

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The drywood termite looks remarkably similar to its subterranean cousin. For instance, you may get both in a variety of white and brown tones, and occasionally they even appear transparent. The main distinction between the two species is that drywood termites are much bigger than subterranean termites.


Alates are the name for termites with wings. Subterranean alates have one thick, dark vein which runs parallel to the top of the wing. There are at least three or four veins in each wing of a drywood termite. Most termites lose their wings shortly after they land.


The size of subterranean termite colonies contributes to the fact that they cause more damage than drywood termites. A typical subterranean termite colony is considerably larger than a drywood termite colony; subterranean termites would round up to hundreds of thousands termites, whereas drywood termites are just in hundreds or thousands. The colonies of the species known as the Formosan subterranean termite can number up to 2 million insects.

Living Environments

The primary distinction between subterranean and drywood termites is their preferred habitats. drywood termites like to construct their nests and reside within wooden constructions, thus their name. In contrast to drywood termites, subterranean termites prefer to inhabit the soil. This is because certain termite species require a water supply to thrive. Subterranean termites need a link to the ground in order to maintain their nest and tunnels sufficiently humid for survival and to get building materials. If sufficient moisture is available, they can construct nests above ground.

Speed Of Destruction

Since subterranean termites have more extensive colonies, they do more damage to houses and businesses than drywood termites, even though drywood termite colonies are located within a structure’s wood rather than in the ground outside. Formosan subterranean termites are even more destructive because they can make nests that are damp enough to be set up inside buildings.

Sign Of Infestation

When drywood termites get into buildings, they make small holes in the wood and push their waste out of these holes. These droppings are hard and look like a cross between coffee grounds and pepper. When subterranean termites get into a building, they usually make mud tubes on the foundation walls to get from the ground to the wood. The sun and air can dry out worker termites, so these tubes are made to protect them. 

In the end, this fight won’t be about drywood termites vs. subterranean termites. It all comes down to the relentless battle against the termites vs. your home. That’s a fight you can’t win on your own. So call Facility Pest Control if you want professional help keeping termites out of your house. We employ cutting-edge methods and solutions for immediate and effective termite control!