Dampwood Termites

The Dampwood Termite

There are more than 2500 termite species that exist in world, each having their characteristic appearance, behavior, size and habitat. The dampwood termite is one of the common species of termites. The following are common features of dampwood termites, which will help in their identification. 

Dampwood Termite

Dampwood termite (Porotermes adamsoni FROGGATT, Isoptera) by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).



Dampwood termites bear a brown color with varying shades. The color can be light brown or dark brown. Reddish-brown colored dampwood termites also exist, while their nymphs are generally creamy-white colored, like all nymphs.

In terms of size, the dampwood termite happens to be the largest termite species. Kings and queens of dampwood termites can be as long as one-half of an inch, whereas soldier termites are usually about 20mm in size. Their nymphs are also large and can grow up to five-eighths of an inch in length. As compared to other termite species, they have larger heads and their pincers are located in the front.


Unlike drywood termites, the dampwood termite species requires water and high humidity level for survival, as their name infers. Dampwood termites are known to live entirely in the woods they feast upon and are not known for creating shelter tubes.

They are even known for closing the openings of the wood they ate through using fecal pallets. They do this in an effort to preserve the humidity of the wood, as they need damp surroundings for survival. Usually dead trees, stumps and felled timber are their desired places to infest and feast upon.


Dampwood termites usually don’t build tunnels. Therefore, it’s difficult to identify their presence from the outer structure of the wood, as its smooth and clean like regular wood. Their presence can even go unnoticed for several years, but they weaken home structures as they continuously eat it from inside.

To identify presence of dampwood termites, look for their frass (feces) and swarmers, which might be around the infested wood. They use the fecal pallets to seal the entry points; however, if the wood is dry, then the frass will fall from the openings. Besides frass, the swarmers of dampwood termites can also be found on the outside near the infested wood. 


These termites infest damp and decaying wood and houses. They infest wooden structures with high moisture levels. These could be trees in the garden or wooden stairs in the backyard. Wooden cabinets in the kitchen and washrooms are their favorite hideouts indoors.

Plumbing leaks, poor drainage, blocked old gutters, ventilation deficiency or stagnant water in lawns are the most common reasons behind dampwood termite infestation in the home.


Termite damage

Termite damage to wood. Own work by Alton [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Remove Moisture:

The first and foremost step that should be taken to eradicate dampwood termites is to remove moisture from your home.

Humidity is the lifeline of dampwood termites and addressing drainage, leakage and accumulated water issues will reduce their chances of survival.

Replacing Damaged Wood:

Replace the damaged and infested wood. This will prevent termites from finding other food sources in your home.

Termite Control Professional:

If replacing damaged wood and getting rid of moisture doesn’t work, then it’s better to call an expert to deal with the infestation issue. They will treat your wooden structures with the help of chemicals.

Dampwood Termite Facts

Besides the characteristics mentioned above of dampwood termites, the following are some other facts associated with them.

  • Dampwood termites rarely infest wooden structures in houses as they lack the required amount of moisture essential for their survival.
  • They are not known for transmitting diseases to humans.
  • There is no “worker” caste in dampwood termite species. Nymphs perform all the tasks of worker termites.

Termite Articles

[catlist name=”termites”]