Most Common Southern California Termite Species

June 23, 2021by

If you thought the only kind of Southern California termites you have to worry about are the ones that come up from the soil, we’ve got some not-so-good news. There are several kinds of termites in California that can cause extensive damage to your home or business. The two kinds of termites to be concerned about, based on the types of wood that attracts them and their habitats, are drywood termites and subterranean termites.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites in Southern California prefer dry wood in furniture, fences, decks, dead trees, and even electrical poles — all things that are commonly found near your home! While drywood termites are one of the most common termites in California, they also thrive along coastal regions. Unfortunately, there aren’t many obvious signs of infestation, so this species can do a lot of damage before they are discovered.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites in California live in the soil and infest a structure by building tubes that go from the ground up. This species is very common across Southern California and will infest structures, dead trees, landscaping timbers, and any other wood that contacts soil. While subterranean termites often leave signs they are at work devouring your home, they can also create havoc before they’re spotted. Of all the types of termites in California, the subterranean species can be the most destructive.

Regardless of what kind of Southern California termites infest your structure, you’re going to need termite control services that reflect how each species behaves and how to get rid of them. Unfortunately, the subterranean termites come in three varieties, but you only have to worry about one type of dampwood termite and drywood termite species!

What Type of Termites Are in Southern California?

Pacific Dampwood Termites

Pacific dampwood termites are the most destructive dampwood termite species in the United States. This termite species can be found as high as 6,000 feet above sea level, but are most common in humid coastal regions. The Pacific dampwood termite will attack a range of wood species, but like the western subterranean termites, prefers springwood.

Wood structures in contact with the ground or built over water are especially vulnerable to this species of termite. Signs of a Pacific dampwood termite include various sizes and shapes of interior tunneling with fecal pellets nearby.

Western Drywood Termites

Drywood termites in Southern California are called western drywood termites and can be found all along the California coastal regions. One of the most destructive of the termites found in Southern California, the western drywood termites can infest structures with multiple colonies. Because this species of termite prefers wood with low moisture, they are often spread unknowingly from infested furniture, home decor, and other items made from wood.

California drywood termites eat across the grain of the wood, creating galleries connected by hollowed-out tunnels. Wood infested with drywood termites will have tunnels and galleries that are very smooth with fecal pellets nearby.

Western Subterranean Termites

Western subterranean termites are found from British Columbia down to western Mexico.
They are particularly prevalent in areas of southern California, such as Orange County, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Western subterranean termites are very destructive to Douglas fir and other common woods used in typical construction.

Because these Southern California termites are attracted to springwood, they are known to destroy internal areas of structural members and can go unnoticed until the damage is extensive. Wood infested with western subterranean termites can often be left with only a thin shell on the exterior and layers of hollow areas on the interior.

Arid-Land Subterranean Termites

Arid-land subterranean termites are commonly found from the Pacific Coast to as far as Indiana, but are most prevalent in Southern California. The arid-land termite can be found in sand dunes, lowlands, and even at altitudes up to 7,000 feet in the Rocky Mountain area. While predominantly a desert species, these termites can also be found near streams and deep in gorges and canyons.

Their preferred wood to eat is brush, dead tree limbs, and woodpiles, but they also destroy types of greasewood and creosote. While this species isn’t typically as aggressive and destructive as other subterranean termites, they will quickly attack structures when there is a lack of food resources.

Desert Subterranean Termites

Desert subterranean termites can be found in deserts from Colorado down to the Baja California regions. Like many other termite species, the desert subterranean termite in Southern California prefers springwood, but will also devour dead cacti, utility poles, and wooden structures of all kinds.

Desert subterranean termites can also go undetected until extensive damage has been done as they eat your home from the inside out. If you spot drop tubes or termite construction that contains fecal pellets coming from the ceiling or walls, you can be sure there are Desert subterranean termites at work.

Book Your Free Termite Inspection Today

Now that you know all the different types of termites in California that can infest your home, maybe it’s time for a free inspection from one of the most trusted termite control companies in the area. If you live in Southern California, from L.A. to San Diego, Hi-Tech Termite Control is ready to take on your termite problems and get rid of them once and for all.