Drywood and Formosan termites are very popular and very destructive in the south. The two termites are each treated differently so it’s important to understand the differences between them. Understanding the characteristics, from nests to eating patterns, of Drywood and Formosan termites will help you control and prevent termite infestation in your home.


Formosan termites establish large, rock-like nests in the ground, some reaching up to 2 feet tall. Their colonies can reach over 10 million individuals in a single nest. They create mud tubes in the ground to travel from structure to structure. The mud tubes serve as a type of covered highway that also protect from dehydration and predators when traveling.

Drywood termites establish nests inside the wood they infest, such as structural wood or furniture. They don’t use mud tubes to travel, nor do they require any soil contact to survive.

Eating Patterns

Eating patterns are a good indicator of termite type. Drywood worker termites eat across and along the grain of only spring wood and hard summer wood. Formosan worker termites eat along the grain of only spring wood. Both species will eat just about any type of wood such as wood in houses, utility poles, furniture and dying trees.

Swarm Patterns

Most species of Drywood termites are night swarming. Depending on the species, Drywood termites can swarm at almost any time of the year.

Formosan termites generally swarm in the evening. Their swarming season ranges from late to spring and well into the summer. Huge swarms of Formosan termites will emerge typically after a warm, rainy day.

While these are only the basic differences between Drywood and Formosan termites, you should contact your local pest control management for more information. With termite season in full swing, be sure to look for any signs of termite infestation in your home. If left untreated, termites can cause a significant amount of damage, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs.