The Different Types of Termites Found in Homes

There are several common types of termites you should be familiar with. If you would like to learn more, you should click here.

The Different Types of Termites Found in Homes

They say ignorance is bliss. Sure, that sounds good, until you have to deal with a structural disaster in your home’s foundation because you’ve ignored the tiny little terrorists that have been eating your home (literally) one nibble at a time. 

This rule of thumb doesn’t apply to home maintenance, pest control, and the crowned jewel of all pest issues, a termite infestation. 

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an average of $5 billion a year in damages in the U.S. alone. Needless to say, they’re not well-loved by homeowners. 

If you’re completely unfamiliar with termites and their types, no worries. We’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for the full breakdown of the different types of termites. So you’re more aware of which unwanted visitors you need to remove from your home. 

Types of Termites 101: The Basics

Did you know that there are more than 2,000 species of termites on the planet?

But, for the purposes of this article, we’ll explore the most common ones. We’ll focus specifically on the species that you’ll find in the U.S. and pose the greatest risk to homeowners in the country

The Subterranean Termites

This type of termite is aptly named. These ones live underground and are commonly found all across the U.S., except Alaska. The subterranean termites tend to build underground colonies that will (on average) exceed 2 million members.

Interestingly enough, these termites have to pick damp conditions to live in, so they can build their “mud tubes.” These tunnels that are made of mud are their main way to travel from one spot to another, as well as stay constantly damp. It’s their main way of protection from preditors, as well as finding accessible food sources.

A clear red flag that your home has been infested by subterranean termites is finding holes in your damaged wood. Specifical ones in the shape of a honeycomb. Make sure to write down all the signs and other red flags of pest infestation as these can be quite helpful in nailing down the infested areas in your home. 

The Dampwood Termites

If you live in Washington state, Northern Nevada, Montana, or the northern parts of California, you’ve probably been exposed to the dampwood termites. 

Those ones have the ability to love without any soil. However, they prefer to inhabit areas with decaying wood, woodpiles, and (in other words) any form of damp wood.  You can identify those termites by their sizes. As they’re much bigger than other types of termites and have big reddish-brown heads.

The Drywood Termites

Similar to the dampwood termites, the drywood termites are found in areas that have an abundance of dry wood, or any wood that doesn’t have a high percentage of moisture. 

They’re found in places like Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Alabama. In addition to their well-known viciousness in attacking wooden furniture, wood structures, flooring, and other frames, they are identified by their large sets of wings and huge mouthparts. 

The Desert Termites

These ones abound in the states with majorly desert-like terrains. That’s why you can easily find desert termites in west Texas, Arizona, and the regions of New Mexico. 

This species of termites are known for their huge numbers, as the ‘workers’ of a single colony are responsible for providing food to the other members of the colony. 

On the other hand, there is the ‘soldier’ caste, which is responsible for protecting the rest of the termite colony from predators. You can identify them by their big teeth-like mouthparts. Moreover, the ones that are responsible for reproduction are called ‘reproductives.’ These have a light-brown body with wings that tends to be half an inch long or so. 

Unlike the drywood termites, the desert termites have a tendency to actively lose moisture at the drop of a hat. Therefore, they’ve evolved to build big moisture-retentive environments, like a sheet or tube that’s made out of material like a carton.

This carton is made of a mixture of moist soil and feces that have been combined with the help of the termite’s saliva. After creating their perfect habitat, these termites will go on to forage and tunnel through the soil so that it becomes more porous and filled with oxygen. Also, by tunneling through the soil, these termites find the decomposed plant or animal material, like dead grass, which they love to use either as a food source or even use them as building blocks for their colony.

The Formosan Termites

The Formosan termites originated from China, however, they’re commonly found in the southern regions of the U.S. like Texas, Hawaii, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and California. 

Terrifyingly enough, this species of termites are well-known for their voracious appetites, as well as their aggressive and devious nature. This makes them one of the hardest termite species to get rid of once they’ve infested a home or formed a colony within a structure. 

These termites build enormous underground colonies that are well-contained with a walled structure. You can also identify their colonies by their intricate mud nests. They follow a similar hierarchy to other classes of termites. Basically, there are the ‘workers,’ the ‘alates,’ which are yellow-brown in color and are 0.5 inches long with transparent wings that have a thick layer of small hairs. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the ‘soldiers’ have big oblong-shaped heads, and they’re even more aggressive than the other castes within their colony, as their main job is protecting their colony from any danger. 

The Importance of Eliminating Any Kind of Termite Infestation

Sure, there’s always our first response to termites as homeowners, which is closing our eyes and hoping they go away on their own. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work.

Not only do you have to get professional help, but you’ll also want to get a free inspection as soon as possible to avoid dealing with the host of illnesses that pests can inflict upon your household. Hopefully, our guide on the different types of termites has helped you narrow down which type of termites is most likely infesting your home.

Make sure to fill in this free inspection form, and contact us if you have any questions. We’re more than happy to help. If you liked this article, you’ll want to check out other tips and advice on pest control in our news section.