There exists several termite species that inhabit Texas, but only five species are considered significant structural pests within the state. All termite species are divided into three groups; subterranean, drywood and dampwood, and each one is well represented in most regions of the state. Like all other US states, subterranean termites inflict the greatest amount of property damage within Texas. Although the invasive Formosan subterranean termite is the most destructive insect pest species that dwells in Texas, this species is responsible for far less structural damage in the state than eastern subterranean termites, as Formosan termite populations are limited to the southeast corner of Texas near the Gulf Coast. However, the Formosan subterranean termite causes a significant degree of destruction within the Houston-Galveston area. The eastern subterranean termite, the arid land subterranean termite, R. virginicus and R. hageni are the four other subterranean termites of economic significance in Texas. In addition to subterranean termites, there exists three documented drywood termite species that are also known to be significant structural pests within Texas. Drywood termites can be found in all areas of Texas, but they are most abundant along the Gulf Coast. Drywood termites do not access homes in the same manner as subterranean termites, but like subterranean termites, drywood termites also leave behind several signs that indicate their current or past presence within a home.
Unlike subterranean termite species, drywood termites do not dwell in soil; instead, drywood termites usually wind up in homes after residents bring infested wood items into a home or yard. Drywood termites can also access a home’s structural wood or dead trees on a property by swarming to new locations. The light southeastern drywood termite (I. snyderi) is the most common drywood termite in Texas. The yellow-colored alates (winged termites) of this species swarm during the night and are attracted to artificial lights. The west Indian powderpost termite alate (C. brevis) is similar in appearance to the I. snyderi alate. The western drywood termite alate (I. minor) is brown in color and they swarm during the daytime. The indoor presence of dead termite alates or their discarded wings is usually the first sign that a home has become infested with drywood termites. If alates and their wings are spotted outdoors near a home, then a drywood termite colony must be nearby, most likely within a wooded area. The indoor presence of fecal pellets that are as large as BBs indicate that drywood termites are present within nearby structural wood. Subterranean termites do not leave behind pellets, as they discard their feces within the soil. These factors will help Texas residents to tell a drywood termite infestation from a subterranean termite infestation.
Have you ever found fecal pellets within your home?