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Termite Species in the U.S.

Termites are considered to be the most destructive insect pests in the world. Many buildings and structures are damaged by these pests each year resulting in huge financial losses.

Dampwood Termite

Dampwood Termite

Size

  • These are the biggest termites in the U.S.!

Lifecycle

  • Swarmers excavate a chamber in the wood, enter, and seal it off.
  • Female (queen) lays eggs.
  • Swarming takes place in daytime in the spring in the northern regions, and following rain in southern regions. In the fall, swarms can get pretty big in some areas.

Habits

  • Where there is food, there is home – wood.
  • During swarming time, they enter decaying wood from outdoors.
  • As the name suggests, dampwood termites nest in… damp wood.

Drywood Termite

drywood-termite-bug-book

Appearance

  • Antennae have a third segment that is enlarged and clublike.
  • A swarmer's head and pronotum is orange brown and the abdomen is dark brown.
  • A soldier's head is orange to reddish-brown, with a whitish eye spot.
  • Wings are smoky and the membrane and pigmented veins are blackish.

Lifecycle

  • They can lay up to 5 eggs, 20 nymphs and 1 soldier.
  • By the end of the second year the colony may have grown to 6-40 nymphs and 1 soldier
  • By the third year there may be 40-165 individuals, and by the fourth year the population explodes to 70-700.

Habits

  • Just as dampwood termites like damp wood, drywood termites like – what else? – dry wood.
  • Unlike other termites, drywood termites don't have anything to do with dirt.
  • As there is no worker division, immatures and nymphs get stuck with all the work.

Western Subterranean Termite

western-subterranean-termite-bug-book

Appearance

  • The winged reproductive caste (alates) is dark brown to brown or black, with brownish-gray wings
  • The queen, all other members of the colony are whitish.
  • Soldiers look like peanuts.
  • The front wings have two dark, hardened veins in front, and the front wing is larger than the hind wing.

Lifecycle

  • The female lays about 10 eggs, which hatch 50 days later.
  • Development takes over 5 months, with up to 7 instars (stages).
  • Swarmers don't even appear until the third or fourth year.
  • Swarming takes place in daytime in the spring in the northern regions, and following rain in southern regions.

Habits

  • No spring wood is safe from them to eat, but in summer, they stick to the newspapers because they cannot digest the lignin in the wood.
  • Unlike other termites, subterraneans prefer not to live in their food, having a slightly elevated sense of lifestyle.
  • Rather than embracing moisture like dampwood termites, they live between it – below the frost line but above the water table.