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Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites are very different to dampwood termites

  • Do not require ground water or any source of water other than the atmosphere and the moisture content
  • Does not have contact with ground and moisture is not a limiting factor as with subterranean species
  • Do not form a central colony but live in many small colonies, therefore can exist feed and breed in very small pieces of timber and articles of furniture
  • May destroy structural, joinery and furniture timbers
  • Produce dry plectrum-shaped faecal pellets, which are ejected from the infested timber
  • Because they require above 75% humidity found mostly in tropical areas
  • Easily transported from one place to another
  • Reproductives leave the colony and set up new ones in dry wood near the parent colony
  • Damage is very difficult to detect as no outward signs are present, particularly during the early stages. Often first signs are collapse of the article
  • Winged reproductives are attracted to light and can spread in this way
  • Do not require ground water or any source of water other than the atmosphere and the moisture content of dry timber in which they occur.
  • Do not form a central colony but live in many small colonies.  
  • Produce dry faecal pellets, which are ejected from the infested timber.
  • May destroy structural, joinery and furniture timbers.
  • Because they require above 75% humidity found mostly in tropical areas.

Cryptotermes brevis

Cryptotermes brevis is considered the most destructive termite in the world and is now found in Australia.

Cryptotermes Brevis

West Indian Drywood Termite Cryptotermes brevis (Walker)

[Isoptera: Kalotermitidae] 


Individuals of the soldier caste of Cryptotermes brevis are 4-6 mm long. Their cigar-shaped body is white and not sclerotised.


The head is sloping and rough (phragmotic) and constricted behind the frontal lobes. Mandibles of the soldier caste are very short and broad. A fontanelle is absent from the head. Antennae are bead-like (moniliform) and as long as the head. Eyes are small and maybe reduced to a small number of facets.


Adult termites generally lack wings. The primary reproductive caste have wings for the nuptial flight only. After pairing the king and queen discard their wings leaving scales. The wings of the king and queen are narrow, longer than the body and have few veins. The pronotum is flat without anterior lobes. All legs are similar in termites. The tarsi are 4-segmented.


West Indian Drywood termites have 2-segmented cerci at the apex of the abdomen.


Cryptotermes brevis is an urban pest endemic to tropical America and adventive elsewhere.

Pest Status:

The West Indian Drywood termite is regarded as the world’s most serious termite pest of homes and will often go undetected until timber collapses. The species does not produce a single colony but several small, independent nests in sapwood or hardwood of a single tree. A colony is easily transported and therefore there is a high potential of small colonies to infest small articles of wood. This species does not require contact with soil and exists on the moisture content of wood. Damage caused by this termite is difficult to detect until a structure collapses.

Cryptotermes primus

Small colonies have up to 100 individuals and few soldiers. The Soldier termites are cream in colour with dark short and wide heads. Native Australian species do not form large colonies, are not considered to cause significant damage to dwellings. Damage is usually confined to timber stump sapwood and VJ boards in old homes.

Soldier 4mm – 6mm

forest trees

wood cellulose 

Nests in small colonies

Queensland to southern New South Wales

Pest Status
Can damage timber in buildings including stumps, floor boards, skirting boards, framing timbers and furniture. damage occures slowly due to the small size of colonies.

ABIS building and pest inspections are conducted to the highest standard by building inspectors with a minimum of 10 years experience together with the highest professional qualifications in their field. ABIS has been in business over 27 years conducting both building and timber pest inspections.

Our highly recommended home inspectors are all long term trusted employees not here today gone tomorrow sub-contractors. ABIS Inspectors are supported by a unique computer aided inspection system and the latest inspection equipment such as high sensitivity thermal cameras costing thousands of dollars that others don’t often have.

When you book a pre-purchase inspection with ABIS, our friendly local (they know the area and are not in a interstate or overseas call centre) staff will make the whole process easy for you. Our Office team make all the arrangements with you, your agent, the vendor, the tenant (if there is one) and you will be sent an email to confirm the inspection time along with a pre-engagement letter which covers the scope of the inspection. Good communication and local knowledge are key to you getting the most out of your building and pest inspection. We are always happy to answer all your questions and you are most welcome to be on site when we do the inspection. Our technology, systems and processes also mean you get your high quality report shortly after your inspection is completed.

And all this for an incredible low price.

Service Areas

Area Map The Peninsula Moreton Bay Area East Brisbane Redland Bay Area Gold Coast Ipswich Brisbane West Brisbane Northside Brisbane Southside Logan City

ABIS The 1st Choice in Building & Pest Inspections