Bullet Dampwood Termites


This is the largest species of termites we will be concerned with. It sometimes will reach a length of one inch. It is also the least economic importance of the three termites we are discussing.

In their role as wood destroyers, dampwood termites are associated with excessive moisture conditions. Their environment is enhanced by the presence of excessive moisture, whether derived directly from the ground as in a forest situation, from the ground due to faulty construction in the case of a residence, or from a leaking pipe, clogged roof drain, inadequately engineered cooling system run-off, faulty grade level condition, or other man made moisture conditions.


Dampwood termite colonies in the understructures of houses are found in the structural timbers that are, for one reason or another, exposed to excessive moisture conditions. These conditions might be caused by a simple earth to wood contact as might be found where a supporting post for an outside porch extends directly into the soil or when a structural beam underneath the house is directly in contact with the soil of an earth filled porch. Sometimes these colonies are found under the bathroom area where a leaky bathtub or toilet produces a continuous or frequent source of moisture. An excessive moisture condition under the house may even be caused by inadequate ventilation due to lack of or insufficient number of foundation vents to allow free circulation of air.

Dampwood termites, like drywood termites, do not have a true worker caste in their colonies. The work of the colony is performed by nymphs which later become either soldiers or swarmers (male or female).

Swarming occurs from July through October, usually occurring around September.

Although the queen of this species is not a great egg layer, some colonies are known to have up to 4,000 individuals. This is probably due to a large number of supplementary reproductives being present in the colony.

The tunnels of these insects are of many sizes and shapes, having a velvety appearance in the runways. This surface may be covered with dried liquid feces. The pellets are deposited in clumps or clusters usually in the galleries and may have a slightly hexagonal shape. The color of the pellets will vary with the type of wood being eaten. The pellets have a great resemblance to dried coffee grounds.

This insect will eat sound, dry wood as well as slightly damp wood.