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 is considered the most destructive termite in the world and is now found in Australia.
West Indian Drywood Termite Cryptotermes brevis (Walker)
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.
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.
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
Nests in small colonies
Queensland to southern New South Wales
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.