Dampwood Termites: Profile and Information

Dampwood Termites

The Dampwood termites make a small, primitive family Termopsidae of the termites family, Isotepra. They include four or five still existing genera with 13 to 20 living species but can be split into several subfamilies.

They may be a disturbance, in comparison to the drywood termites (Kalotermitidae), their destructive inclinations pale, as they do not cause widespread disruption to human-made structures.

As the name Dampwood termite implies, they eat wood; damp wood even rotting, and which are consequently of little use to humans.

So they are often found in fallen logs, decayed woods, tree stumps in forests, but also the decaying wood found in buildings, fences, or other structures with high moisture content.

The Dampwood termites are the most enormous of all species of termites and can be about 1/3 inch to over 1/2 inch in length. As a result of their size and capacity and proficiency to damage wood faster than their cousins, the drywood termites, and subterranean termites, they are considered a significant economic pest in areas of the Pacific Coast.

Dampwood termites often called rottenwood termite habits moist wet areas such as wood in contact with the ground, trees, rotten leaves, sheds, fence posts, and other related fields.

The moisture quantity in the forest has to be on abundance enough to attract the dampwood termite; otherwise, they cannot survive as the dampwood termites need a steady water source or close contact with water and rarely, if ever, cannot live in a high humidity climate without water.

They need high amounts of moisture, humidity, and access to water for sustenance, which is why they tend to nest damp logs, in trees, and untreated posts.

The Florida Dampwood termite, which is one of the species of The Dampwood termites is distinctive as it causes the least damage and rarely infests homes while the Nevada Dampwood and the Pacific Dampwood Termite, on the contrary, can do enormous amounts of damage to homes and are deemed an economic pest in these areas.

Dampwood termites are found in areas; cold, coastal, humid with low altitudes such as Oregan, Washington State, and in the mountains of Nevada, Montana, and Idaho, They are the largest of all the termite species and can infest homes, causing substantial damage.

Scientific Classification

  • Scientific name: Porotermes Adamsoni
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Isoptera
  • Family: Termopsidae


The dampwood termite is giant in comparison to the dry wood termite and the subterranean termite but naturally form smaller colonies; maybe they believe there is strength in “small numbers.”

Dampwood termites have large heads with mandibles positioned in the front, and their Physical characteristics include the following:

  • Soldiers have long brown of black mouths and flattened brown head and can be up to 20mm long.
  • The dampwood termites’ nymphs can also be over 20mm long.
  • Alates are usually dark brown with four pairs of same-length brown colored wings. They can be over 25 mm long; this includes their wings. They have a straight-sided body and straight antennae.
  • Nymphs have spotted pattern on the abdomen which is caused by the presence of food in the intestines and are cream in color


Worker caste in this species is absent, so the nymphs are the laborers, in the colony.
Particular microorganisms in the dampwood termites’ digestive system allow them to digest wood.

Dampwood termites swarm in small amounts at various intervals annually, and this is influenced by temperature, light, barometric pressure, and humidity.

Feeding Habits

Dampwood Termites eat deteriorating, rotten wood and other cellulose materials in dying trees, homes, utility poles, and furniture with high moisture content, digested through the support of symbiotic protozoa and bacteria.

They may also feed on injured or dead colony members and other termites within the same habitat. The cellulose found in plants is the primary food sustenance of all species of termites.

They may find their food sources in furniture and elsewhere within the home, in dying trees, and poles, and other structures with high moisture content.


Dampwood Termites do not need soil connection for moisture but require wood with high moisture quantity.

They often nest inside woods that are halfway buried in the ground, such as fallen branches or tree stumps. Dry wood termite prefers non-decaying wood, unlike Dampwood Termites that are associated with deadwood.

Dampwood termites can be found nesting in the around leaky showers and tubs, rotting planks of an old deck, leaky roof, and other construction elements with insufficient ventilation that could eventually dry them.

There are numerous species of Dampwood termites found across the United States.
The Nevada Dampwood- commonly found indoor frames of buildings, baseboards, and fence posts; are inclined toward the drier mountain regions of the Sierras.

This species also exists around the coast of Northern California. Distinctive from the Pacific species in that they attack moist wood only. Swarming usually occurs in late summer evenings after rainfall.

The Florida Dampwood- this variety is a common pest of building structures in the Florida Keys and most southeastern Florida parts. This species like damp and solid logs close to ocean water, and may also inhabit woods under the soil, although soil contact is not a requirement.

Destructive Nature

Correlated to dry wood termites, dampwood termites naturally do not cause such extensive destruction to human-made structures. However, damp wood termites can destroy the structures of houses by eating out support beams, which can mandate costly repairs.

Their activity is tough to identify until the effects are already severe and overwhelming, as the termites always remain hidden.

They often eat across the fiber, and the wood that they have already destroyed usually looks clean and smooth outside. Most insurance designs do not underwrite this type of damage, dampwood infestation can represent a finance biting economic threat.

Observing and fixing any water issues such as leaks, in and around the home and other structures is a significant component of damp wood termite control. Woods damaged by water that rests on the ground can attract rottenwood termites.

Signs of infestation can be examined and identified; such as littered termite wings, heaps of fecal pellets that are the same color as the wood being eaten, ejected wooden pellets, an appearance of wood as if finely sandpapered.

To rectify this problem, it is vital to reduce moisture in plagued areas which can be done by repairing any plumbing leaks, checking functioning drains, minimized water, soil and wood, and increased ventilation.

Have you ever had a Dampwood infestation on or an infestation scare? Please, leave a comment about your experience; I would love to hear from you

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