Termites are one of the most damaging structural pests in the Northwest. They feed on wood and wood products, as their digestive tracts contain microorganisms that convert the cellulose in wood into usable food. Termites are social insects, living in colonies comprised of a king and queen, workers and soldiers. The king and queen perform the reproductive functions of the colony, while the workers carry on all aspects of colony maintenance. The soldiers defend the colony.

There are two common species of termites in Washington: the Pacific dampwood termite and the Western subterranean termite. Both can cause substantial damage to a structure. Contact Sentinel for a free termite inspection!

Pacific Dampwood Termite

The Pacific dampwood termite is the largest species of termite in Washington. The winged form may exceed one inch in length (including the wings), and they are cream-colored to dark brown.

The soldiers have a large reddish-brown head, cream-colored body, and are approximately 3/4-inch-long, with the head and mandibles comprising about 1/3 their length. The Pacific dampwood termite colony consist of a queen, king and soldier caste. Since there is no worker caste, the nymphs of soldiers and reproductives perform the functions of a worker caste.

Wet or damp wood is necessary for attack by this species of termite. Wood to soil contact, leaky plumbing, leaky roofs and gutters, poorly ventilated crawl spaces, rain-soaked firewood leaning against a structure all contribute to infestation by the Pacific dampwood termite. It is important to note that this type of termite will not infest structurally-sound dry wood.

Western Subterranean Termite

Western subterranean termites are much smaller than dampwood termites; the winged form is approximately 3/8” long including the wings. They are dark brown to brownish-black with brownish-gray wings.

The soldiers have a cream-colored head with black mandibles and a grayish-white body. They are approximately 1/4” long, with nearly half their length being the head and mandibles.  The worker caste is grayish-white, and about 3/16” long. Subterranean termites live in the soil in nests that may originate near buried stumps or logs as deep as 10-20 feet.

Because subterranean termites must return to their nests in the soil, any wood structure has the potential of being infested. They easily attack dry sound wood. The most frequent type of infestation occurs when buildings are constructed near or on pre-existing nests.

Cement slab foundations are not a deterrent, since there are joints between slab and foundation walls, and cracks and areas around plumbing provide easy access.


We understand that your needs can be urgent. Our goal is to provide you with a pest-free home or business as quickly as possible. Call before noon Monday – Friday and a Sentinel professional will be at your door the SAME DAY!


Have any pest related questions or in need of pest control services?

Our office staff is trained to answer any pest control related questions! Once scheduled with us, an appointment confirmation will be emailed within 15 minutes with your appointment information and a picture of your technician!


We’ll give you a call and schedule the best time for you!