Diagnosing and Indentifying Termite and Signs of Termite Damage


Termites, sometimes thought to be white ants or flying ants, are a wood destroying pest in all of the sun belt states of the United States. San Diego, having a micro climate, is prime termite territory.

Identify San Diego Termites

There are four main termites found in San Diego, listed in order of prevalence

  1. Drywood Termite
  2. Subterranean Termite
  3. Formosan Termite
  4. Dampwood Termite.

Drywood Termites


Drywood termites are the most commonly found termite in San Diego. This is because of the wealth of lush landscaping and track homes found here. But they are most common in the beach cities like La Jolla, Carlsbad, Pacific Beach, and Del Mar, -pretty much anywhere along San Diego’s Coastal Regions. Drywood termites are an “aerial” type termite, meaning they are always found in wood or cellulose type products. Most commonly found in attics, garages, patios, and eaves.

Have you ever noticed any pebbles of “sand” or little “wood balls” around your home? Maybe you have noticed a large amount of winged ants around your windows, doors, and light fixtures. They are a sure sign you have or had Drywood termites. Termites cause damage to the wood in and around your home. Most people run across this when they are out painting, hanging Christmas lights, or just working around the house, you might find strange wood damage that at first look, you may think it’s just damage from water or peeling paint. Termites swarm in early spring and late summer, with late summer being the worst. These are the times you will see them flying, sometimes you may come home and find hundreds of these “flying ants” inside your home. This is usually proof positive you are infested with Drywood termites.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termite swarmers

Subterranean Termite swarmers

Subterranean termites are also found in the same micro climates the Drywood termites and with the addition that they are also very hearty in the more extreme conditions of our deserts and mountains. This is due in part by the way they live. Unlike Drywood Termites, Subterraneans live under ground. They use the soil they live in to build mud tunnels, sometimes thought to be mud cocoons, mud tubes, or mud wasp nests. They bring their own moisture and can take refuge in your house or underground depending if they are seeking to warm up or cool down. They are more difficult to spot as they normally are good at building their tunnels in inconspicuous spots.

They become much more apparent during their swarming season which is early spring and sometimes before winter. You may find big mud castle like tubes coming from your walls, out of your windows, doors or cracks in concrete. When subterranean swarm they come out in the hundreds to thousands!

Formosan Termites

Formosan Termites are the least found termite but also the most destructive. They mimic both the Drywood and Subterranean termite evidence with the exception of aerial carton nests. It takes a very trained eye to tell the difference!

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood Termites are not very commonly found in San Diego. They infest saturated wood and usually die off when the wood dries out.

What should you do if you think you have Termites?

When the time is right Sage Exterminators trained and licensed Inspectors can do a Wood Destroying Organism’s report (WDO report or WDI ) to let you know exactly what you are looking at for free!  Contact us today!