Subterranean Termites vs Drywood Termites

subterranean termites vs drywood termites

There are many types of termites out there, but the most common are the subterranean and the drywood termites. With that in mind, we created this article to understand the differences between the two species. This way you will be able to identify and then eradicate them with complete precision.


The important thing to note is that the subterranean termites have an underground nest. Most of the time this will be only 20% aerial and the rest is underground. They manage to avoid any contact with the natural enemies and travelling is also easier for them since they can make mud tubes and other underground structures. On the other hand, drywood termites have a nest inside the wood they infest. They can arrive and infest from the air which makes them very dangerous and they don’t require a lot of moisture.


The subterranean alates have two dark thick veins and they can enter daylight swarming patterns. The drywood ones have 3 or 4 dark thick veins and they are mostly focused on night swarming, although things do tend to differ a little bit based on the species at hand.


There are plenty of differences when it comes to the termite soldiers as well. Drywood termite soldiers have a round head and some species also include teeth on mandibles, whereas the subterranean soldiers do not have teeth. Instead they have a rectangular head and a pronotum narrower than the head itself.


The subterranean termite workers eat a lot of grain wood and focus more on eating spring wood only, whereas the drywood workers are eating along and across grains of wood. Moreover, they eat hard summer and spring wood.

Fecal pellets

Even in this situation you can still find quite a lot of differences between the two species. For example, you get moist fecal pellets with no ridges in the case of subterranean termites. These include lingnin and they also incorporate feces into mud tubes to begin with. The drywood termites have hard, dry fecal pellets and they also have kick holes where they push the pellets out of the wood mainly because they have a very small place where they can stay and store stuff.

As you can see, the subterranean and drywood termites are quite different, but there are similarities between the two as well. Both of these species live in large colonies and thus it’s a lot easier for them to stay safe. On the other hand, it’s bad for humans because termite infestations are a lot faster due to this problem alone.

Regardless of what types of termites you have to deal with, the idea is that you have to find a good pest repellant or insecticide. Termiticides are a great solution to deal with termites, be it drywood or subterranean ones, so do keep that in mind. You do need to find a product that works well within your price range and the results can be very good in the end thanks to the choice you make!