Pacific dampwood termites are considered to be large. The reproductive forms of these termites are winged, and can grow to more than an inch in size, including the wingspan. While the winged reproductive are dark brown in color, the workers are more of a cream.
The soldiers of the colony have a cream colored body with a reddish brown head. Although they are approximately ¾ inches long, their jaws and head are responsible for one-third of their entire length. In dampwood termite colonies, there are no workers. The immature form of the termites (nymphs) performs the tasks usually performed by the workers.
The dampwood termites require moist, rotten wood in order to create a colony. While subterranean termites require contact with soil, dampwood termites do not. They can be found within the damp wood that they are infesting, and are rarely found in the soil, or in dry wood. There are several causes for termite infestations within the home, including damaged gutters, and leaky plumbing.
They can also be caused by high moisture within the crawl space due to poor ventilation. Storing firewood outdoors for long periods of time can also attract dampwood termites. As the colony matures, winged reproductive termites are produced. These termites can commonly be found swarming immediately after a rainfall in the late summer. Dampwood termites can cause structural damage within water saturated wood.
Termites are known as invisible destroyers as they are often hard to see by the homeowner. This is because they spend most of their time hidden within the wood or soil. Termite swarms coming from the tubes leading to the foundation of the home is an important sign of a termite colony. Dampwood termites in particular leave characteristic fecal pellets, which can be found in damaged wood. These pellets can be used to identify the dampwood termites. It is extremely important to correctly identify the termites because it will determine which control methods to use.