Detecting and identifying West Indian drywood termite

West Indian drywood termite (WIDT) is difficult to detect as it can establish colonies in concealed areas of houses and buildings.

WIDT does not need contact with soil moisture and can establish independent colonies within a structure. Colonies can be very small and hard to detect as there may be no external signs of an infestation, other than faecal pellets (frass), which termites eject from their galleries. Frass is not always visible to the naked eye and can look similar to other debris, such as ant debris.

Signs of infestation

It can take around 5 years (or even longer) for WIDT to be detectable. The signs of infestation include:

  • frass (termite droppings) appearing near skirting boards, under windowsills and in the corners of rooms
  • termites and/or wings appearing in rooms in late spring or early summer as the temperature and humidity begin to rise.

Timber close to the frass pile will have a small ejection hole (1mm diameter), but this may be sealed and difficult to see. You may find evidence of damage if you gently probe the area with a small screwdriver of similar tool.

WIDT is commonly found in pine, especially native hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and in cabinet timbers such as maples (Flindersia species), red cedar (Toona australis) and silky oak (Grevillea robusta).

Damage is generally restricted to softwood construction timber (timber-in-service), wooden furniture and other manufactured timber items.

WIDT is an introduced pest and only infests timber-in-service in Australia. It is not known to occur in the urban environment, such as in trees or other vegetation.

Identify West Indian drywood termite

Watch the video to learn how to identify West Indian drywood termites.

Find out:

  • what to look for
  • effective ways to inspect for drywood termites.

View images and learn more in our quick reference guide to WIDT.

Detections of WIDT

Infestations have been detected across Queensland.

WIDT was first detected in Maryborough in 1966. It is now established in many suburbs in Greater Brisbane and other Queensland coastal towns and settlements.

All Queensland residents should be aware of the presence of WIDT.

Find out if WIDT has been found in your area

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This information is based on the known detections of WIDT (Cryptotermes brevis) reported and confirmed by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) since 2011. This list may change and DAF will make regular updates to this information if new detections are reported.

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