The Difference Between Subterranean and Drywood Termites

Due to our tropical climate, Florida is home to all sorts of pests. One of the most damaging pests we have to worry about is termites. 

There are twenty species of Florida termites, six of which are considered harmful. The two most common species you’ll come across are drywood termites and subterranean termites. If you need help determining which type of termite might be infesting your home, call the experts at Anti-Pesto. 

What Are the Differences Between Drywood and Subterranean Termites? 


When termites are about to settle into a nest, the swarmers will drop their wings so they can get to work. Seeing tiny bug wings in or around your home but no bug attached is one of the first signs that a termite infestation is about to begin or has already settled. If you spot these wings, knowing the difference in structure between drywood termite wings and subterranean termite wings can help you understand what you’re dealing with. 

You’ll want to look at the base of the wing where it would have attached to the termite’s abdomen. Subterranean termite wings will always only have two veins that run parallel to each other throughout the top of the wing. 

On the other hand, drywood termite wings will have three or more veins running along the top of the wing that often twist and intersect. This small but vital difference can help you know exactly what type of termite infestation is brewing and where to target the nest. 


If you can physically see swarms of termites outside or inside your home, you are probably dealing with subterranean termites. While drywood termites have members with wings, drywood termites do not swarm


As their names suggest, subterranean and drywood termites have very different nesting habits. Knowing the difference between their nests will help you know where to look in your home or yard to inspect for any forming infestations and what to avoid when landscaping to not create a suitable habitat for termites. 

Subterranean termites need moisture and soil in their nests to survive. They often live underground, hence their name, and use mud tubes to climb to the surface. Because they are usually underground, they can be hard to spot in your home. However, they can also be found in dark, moist places like a crawl space or a basement with a concrete floor with cracks. 

Drywood termites, as referenced in their name, do not need moisture or soil to survive. They are often found in dry spaces and live inside the wood they feed on. Most commonly, they can be found in attic wood beams or other places with dry, unrotted wood. 

Telltale Signs of Termites

With the differences in habitats, appearance, and activity, it should be unsurprising that drywood and subterranean termites have distinct signs of infestation. 

With the need for moisture and soil, one of the most common signs of subterranean termites is the presence of mud tubes. These are often found in cracks along concrete or lead to the wood the termites feed on. If you find these mud tubes along your home, it is safe to assume you’re dealing with subterranean termites. 

Drywood termites are a bit more tricky to find signs of since they live inside the wood, but drywood termites do have several signs they leave behind. If the wood in your home sounds hollow or has a bubbly, blistered look, likely, drywood termites aren’t far. Also, because they directly eat and live inside the wood, you may hear a clicking sound as they burrow and eat. 


While both can be destructive to your home, the damage left behind from drywood and subterranean termites can be different. Drywood termites can compromise the wooden structures of your home and require professional treatment to be dealt with. 

However, subterranean termites are the most destructive termite species. Not only do they comprise wooden structures and support beams, but they threaten the very foundation of your home. Subterranean termites are known to collapse houses. Scheduling regular inspections ensure you find these destructive pests before they cause massive damage. 

Prevent and Treat Termite Infestations with Anti-Pesto 

If you have a termite infestation, you don’t have to worry about tenting your home and escaping while treating the issue when you go with Anti-Pesto. If your home qualifies, we offer no-tent treatment with Bora-Care, a non-toxic, odorless solution that treats any infected wood. We also utilize Sentricon, a green solution that has been proven to eradicate entire colonies of termites. 

If you’re concerned about preventing a termite infestation before it starts or treating one at its source, get a free quote for treatment, or call our pest control specialists today at 727-524-6333!

"*" indicates required fields

Get a Free Estimate

Zip Code*

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to the privacy policy.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.