There are three species of wood-destroying termites in Southern California: the Drywood, the subterranean, and the dampwood termites.
Drywood termites are the most common termites found in Southern California. About 78 percent of structures inspected each year are infested with this type. Subterranean termites are found in approximately 26 percent of structures, and Dampwood termites are found in approximately 2 percent.
Drywood termites leave piles of droppings or pellets near their nest. They also swarm on warm days, leaving the nest to breed. Swarmers look like red ants with wings. Actually, they have a red head and long brown body.
Subterranean termites are ground dwelling termites and build tubes to access their food. Look for mud tubes or swarmers in the spring months. Subterranean swarmers look like small black water ants with wings. The easiest way to differentiate flying ants from termites is to check the insect’s wings. If the wings are short, stubby and end at the rear end of the insect, it is a flying ant. If the wings are long, tear-shaped and twice the length of the insect, you’ve got termites. Hollow holes in wood is a strong indicator that you have termites.