The Common Types of Termites Found in Homes

Soldier Termite with Workers

Most homeowners are unaware that they’re hosting termites in their houses. Are you one of them?

The key to avoiding thousands of dollars in damages is to spot the signs of a growing termite infestation before it’s too late.

Are you ready to learn about the different types of termites? If so, then read on to make sure your home is safe.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are found around the country except in Alaska. They live in the soil below ground.

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Their colonies can grow to a couple of million termites. Extending out from their nest is a system of tunnels, called mud tubes, to food sources including trees, fence posts, and homes.

Depending on where in the country you live, there are several subsets of the subterranean termites including the Formosan, Eastern, Dark Southeastern, Light Southeastern, Western, Arid Land, and Desert subterranean termite.

The Formosan swarms at night and breed fast. They are capable of destroying wood structures faster than any other species of termites. They have a dark and distinct yellow-brown body color.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites love dead trees and hardwood floors. They have much smaller colonies and destroy wood at a slower rate than the Formosan termites. Their habits of eating across the grain of the wood tip you off to their activities.

Drywood termites tend to leave a trail of oval fecal pellets with six concave sides in their wake. Their nests are typically in roof materials and wooden support beams. While they don’t require much water, many times you’ll see signs of their activity near sweaty or leaky water pipes.

There are four subsets of Drywood termites including Southeastern, West Indian, Western, and Desert. They all get their nutrition from the wood they eat, so they don’t have to go far. Instead of building one big colony, they tend to build several small colonies throughout a house.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites live in high moisture environments and rarely live in homes. They prefer decaying wood over other options. They’ll collect near woodpiles or areas with consistent leaks.

They have reddish-brown heads and large bodies. Dampwood termites are attracted to coastal areas.

When You See Signs of Termites

Contacting a pest professional in this service area to assess your home is cheaper than waiting until you have a major problem that costs thousands in repairs. A pest professional can not only determine the species of termites but can also determine the extent of the damage. They can even recommend a course of treatment to bring an end to your problem before it blows up.

The pest professional will look for:

  • Mud tubes on the exterior of the home
  • Interior softwood that sounds hollow when tapped
  • Darkening or blistering of wood structures
  • Uneven or bubbling paint
  • Droppings of feces that resemble sawdust near a nest
  • Discarded wings near doors and windowsills where swarmers entered

Having a professional deal with termites ensures your home will be pest-free. 

You’ve Learned the Types of Termites

Now that you know about the types of termites including Subterranean, Drywood, and Dampwood, you’ll want to check your house for evidence of their presence. Finding evidence isn’t as easy as it seems for the untrained eye. However, if you’re diligent in checking your house quarterly, you may be able to identify a potential termite problem before it ramps up.

Should you find a hint of a pest around or in your house, you’ll want to contact a pro immediately. Or, if you prefer to have a pest professional conduct regular checks you can have peace of mind knowing their expertise is on your side.

For more information about termites and soil, check out the rest of this website for other helpful homeowner tips.