Termopsinae

Termopsinae is the name of a sub–family of termites in the family Termopsidae. Scientists once classified this group with the family Hodotermitidae, but they are now a separate group.

The sub–family Termopsinae contains two genera of termites. These are commonly called dampwood termites because they live in wood that is very wet or decaying.
.
One genus contains only one species of termites. These are the Archotermopsis wroughtoni (Desneux). These are very rare termites, however a colony was found in Thailand in 2008.

The other genus in the sub–family Termopsinae contains three species of dampwood termites. These are the Zootermopsis species. All three of these dampwood termite species are found in the Western United States.

The Pacific dampwood termite, Zootermopsis angusticolis (Hagen) is found along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia to Baja California. It infests decaying wood, especially wood that is near water. Buildings, bridges, pilings, and other wood structures can be attacked. It attacks structures in the city as well as in the country.

The Nevada dampwood termite, Zootermopsis nevadensis (Hagen) is found along the Pacific Coast from British Columbia into California. It is also found in Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. This termite is often found outside of urban areas.

The third species, Zootermopsis laticeps (Banks), is found in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. This termite usually attacks decaying stumps and large logs along streams.

Dampwood termites are very large termites. The winged swarmers can be more than one inch long. The soldiers can reach ¾" in length. There are no workers in dampwood termite colonies. The immature termites do all of the work.

Dampwood termites eat wood across the grain, so their galleries do not follow the grain of the wood like the galleries of subterranean termites.

Since dampwood termites do not nest in the soil, they do not use soil to fill the galleries in the wood. They often use their fecal pellets to fill the galleries. This may help retain moisture in their environment.

Homeowners can inspect their homes for potential moisture problems. Dripping faucets and leaking pipes should be repaired. Downspouts and air conditioner condensation pipes should drain away from the foundation.

Homeowners can also have the home inspected for termites periodically. Termite control professionals can recognize the signs of termite activity. They can also point out conditions that might allow termites to have easy access to the home.