The swarmer is up to 1 inch long, including wings. The antennae usually have more than 22 segments. They are not hairy and have 1 or more large spines along the length of the tibia and the apex. Coloration of the body is amberish.
The soldier it between 3/8-3/4 inches long. The mandibles have an unequal number of teeth on each member of pair. Antennae is the same as the swarmer, as well as the spines and coloration.
If the wood is sound, they will eat only the spring wood, however, if the wood is decayed, they will eat across the grain, consuming both spring and summer wood. By doing this, they make a series of chambers connected by tunnels whose walls are smooth as if finely sandpapered. There is no soil in the galleries, but if conditions are extremely damp, the fecal pellets will stick to the gallery walls. If conditions are dry, the fecal pellets accumulate at the bottom of the galleries. They will use their fecal pellets to seal off galleries or wood.
Dampwood termites are found in logs, stumps and old standing dead trees. From these places they move into structures, especially where wood is in contact with the ground or there is a constant moisture supply such as leaky pipes.
These termites do not require contact with moisture, but do require wood with a high moisture content. Wood in contact with the ground or with a constant moisture source is most susceptible to attack. Dampwoods attack directly and usually do not burrow in the soil.
Swarmers excavate a chamber, they enter, and the chamber is sealed. They mate within 2 weeks and eggs are laid within 14-18 days of the colony founding. The queen lays a range of 6-22 eggs. The second batch is laid the next spring. Colonies sizes vary, but they have been known to be up to 4,000 members.
There is no worker caste in dampwood termites and the nymphs perform all the tasks typically done by workers. Swarming begins in August-October.
Zootermopsis angusticollis Hagen