What Every Homeowner, Realtor & Property Manager Needs to Know About Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites Close Up
They’re Busy Taking A Bite Out Of Your Home—And Another, And Another!

We Take the Bite out of Termites!

Whether you’re a homeowner, realtor, or property manager, you’ll be hard pressed to encounter a headache like the one that comes along with a termite infestation—especially if you don’t have access to a dependable termite control company.


I’m going to tell you how to get rid of them, but first let’s take a moment to understand what you’re dealing with.

What Exactly are Drywood Termites?

There are a lot of different kinds of termites in the world, but only drywood termites, subterranean termites and, less frequently, dampwood termites are found in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While subterranean termites live in the soil, drywood termites do not live in the ground, do not require soil contact and do not build mud shelter tubes.

Drywood Termite Immatures
Drywood Termite Immatures
(Image: University of Arizona – Entomology)

They often find their way into your home through various cracks, gaps, holes, etc., and they set up shop and start eating your house from the inside out.

Termites can be extremely difficult to get rid of, as there can be several colonies in a single home, sometimes consisting of thousands of termites.

What Exactly do Drywood Termites do?

It’s pretty easy to sum it up—termites eat wood, tirelessly, 24 hours a day, no holidays or vacations.

If your home is built out of wood (most homes are in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties), it will get termites. We can’t predict when, but termites are a force of nature – their job is to eat dead wood.

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These deposits are comprised of tiny grains or pellets that you’ll begin to notice in areas of infestation. The pellets are very small (about the size of poppy seeds) and vary in color from light to dark, depending on what part of the wood grain the termites are eating.

Here are the termite droppings very close up:

Drywood Termite Droppings/Frass
Drywood Termite Droppings/Frass
(Image: University of Arizona – Entomology)

Many people mistake these deposits for chewed up wood, but they are tiny piles of fecal matter left by the termites.

You’ll find these droppings under or around wood structures in small piles that will look similar to this:

Drywood Termite Pellets
Drywood Termite Droppings/Frass


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What Does Franz Termite do to Solve the Problem?

Whatever it takes.

There are two proven methods of exterminating drywood termites:

1. Fumigation (tenting)


2. Localized spot treatment

Which option is best for your situation depends on a number of factors that are specific to your home, your preferences and how extensive the infestation has grown. Once we perform a termite inspection of your home, our inspector will discuss the pros and cons of the available options.

But know this…

We Will Get Rid of your Termite Problem…We Guarantee it!

Termite Free Guarantee

If you need to schedule an extermination of drywood termites, we’ll go about it in one of two ways:

  • Fumigation
    This is what most people have in mind when they imagine termite extermination. It involves tenting the entire home. This is the most effective means of eradicating your drywood termite problem.We recommend using this method in cases where there are either many different colonies or when it’s discovered that the infestation is difficult to reach. Not only is this the most effective treatment, but we cover all of our fumigations with a three-year warranty. That means, in many cases, fumigation is more thorough and, depending on the extent of the infestation, it is often more affordable than local treatment.Note that fumigation is NOT appropriate to get rid of subterranean termites.

    Termite Fumigation

  • Local Treatment
    When the infestation is localized, it may be sufficient to perform spot treatment. This method is an option when an infestation is limited to a few specific areas and the location of the infestation can be identified for best treatment results.Treatment material is injected into small holes drilled in the wood and into termite galleries. This is the simplest and most direct method of treatment. We cover local treatments with a one-year limited guarantee that protects the areas of the house that have been treated.

There are Pros & Cons to each Method.

Termite Treatment Palo Alto


Local Treatment

  1. Complete eradication of drywood termites throughout the entire structure.
  2. Safe and effective – fumigation with Vikane has been around for over 50 years!
  3. No residue left after treatment.
  4. Does not require drilling into wood members.
  5. Three- year extendable warranty.
  1. No move-out required
  2. Minimal preparation work
  3. No plant trimming or roof damage
  4. Usually less cost than fumigation
  1. Occupants must vacate for two nights.
  2. May require significant preparation work (bag or remove food, plant trimming, etc.)
  1. Not a whole house solution. Spot treatment may not reach hidden infestations.
  2. Effectiveness and warranty is limited to specific areas treated.

Which Treatment is Right for you? It Depends…

  • If you want to be sure that ALL drywood termites have been eradicated and have a three year extendable warranty – then fumigation is the solution.
  • If you have extensive infestation in multiple areas, or hard to reach areas, then fumigation is probably the best solution.
  • If you have had a full inspection and drywood termites have been found in only one or two accessible areas or isolated areas – then local treatment may be a good option.
  • If you live in attached building (condo townhouse or apartment) then local treatment may be the only viable option.
  • If your building has a fragile roof or extensive plants growing on the building (vines, trellis, etc.) – then local treatment may be the least intrusive option.

The decision is yours.

Franz Termite will give you all the information you need to make the decision that best suits your needs. We are here to answer all your questions and provide professional expert service to help you get rid of your termites.

After the Treatment – Damage Repair

Once we’ve exterminated all of your termites, we will also repair the damage done by the pests.

If caught early enough, damage will be minimal, requiring little to no repair.

If the problem was more extensive, however, repairs can, likewise, be more extensive; in some extreme cases, expensive repair is required.

Drywood Termite Damage
(Image: University of Arizona – Entomology)

Bottom line: if you want to keep termites from significantly damaging your home, you need to act quickly at the first sign of their presence.

More about Drywood Termites

Drywood termites are found in coastal regions, particularly warm climates that don’t have harsh, freezing temperatures. The conditions in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Alameda counties, the counties we service, are ideal for them to thrive.

Drywood Termite Workers and Soldiers
Drywood Termite Workers (Left) and Soldiers (Right)
(Image: University of Arizona – Entomology)

Identifying Drywood Termites

These termites are larger than their Northern California relatives, the subterranean termites. They can reach up to 1/2 inch long for reproductive groups and a bit shorter, around 3/8 inches, for the termite soldiers.

Drywood Termites: worker, reproductive, soldier
Drywood Termites (left to right): worker, reproductive (swarmer), soldier
(Image: University of Arizona – Entomology)

They are cylindrically shaped, with 6 legs and a light brown color. If the termites are swarming, they will have 4 equal sized wings that continue beyond the body.

During this swarming phase, they mate and find new areas to form new colonies. The colony size slowly grows into maturity. Dry wood termites swarm in August and September, usually during very warm weather.

Drywood Termite Swarmers
Drywood Termite Swarmers
(Image: University of Arizona – Entomology)

Drywood termite swarmers will shed their wings, so dead swarmers will most frequently be found with discarded wings. This is in contrast to subterranean termite swarmers which will often be found with the wings still attached.

The drywood termite swarmers, upon leaving their original colony, will attempt to immediately find sound, dry wood to form a new colony. They will enter the new wooden structure through cracks, natural checks, overlapping or adjoining pieces and exposed grain at the end of the member.

A new colony of drywood termites will develop relatively slowly when compared to other termite species.

Drywood termite colonies will continue to increase in size, so it’s important to take measures to control them and remove or minimize potential future colony homes.

Contact Franz Termite Control for a termite inspection report and for professional help and recommendations for your particular home.