Types of Termites

The Three Main Types of Termites

There are about 45 different kinds of species of termites found in the U.S., each of which falls into one of the three main termite types:

  • Subterranean

  • Drywood

  • Dampwood

Each species has unique biology and behavior that impact what part of the country they live in, where they build their nests and their likelihood to damage homes.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites belong to the family Rhinotermitidae. This species lives in the soil and builds the largest nests of any insect in the U.S. These nests are connected via mud tubes to food sources, such as trees, fence posts and structural timbers in houses. Subterranean termites, which can live in every U.S. state except Alaska, are responsible for the majority of termite damage in this country.

  • Arid-Land Subterranean

    West Coast, Southwest, Rocky Mountain States, Midwest, and South

  • Desert Subterranean

    Southeastern California and Southern Arizona

  • Formosan

    South: Alabama, Florida, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee

  • Eastern Subterranean

    East Coast, Southeast, Midwest, and parts of New England

  • Dark Southeastern Subterranean

    East Coast: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina

  • Western Subterranean

    Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, and Nevada

Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites belong to the family Kalotermitidae and typically live in wood, such as dead trees, structural timbers or hardwood floors. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites do not require contact with soil. Some drywood termite species can cause significant damage to homes. However, drywood termite colonies tend to be smaller than subterranean termite colonies, so they typically cause damage at a slower rate than subterranean termites.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood Termites belong to the families family Kalotermitidae and Hodotermitidae and live in wood with high moisture content. Most dampwood termites do not require contact with the soil. Dampwood termites are rarely found in homes or other man-made structures, since wood in these structures typically does not have enough moisture.

Other Types of Termites

Resources

Dig Deeper on Termites

There are bugs that look like ants in my house

Q

Could these be a type of termite, and if so, what is the best way to kill them?

Holes and tunnels in interior drywall

Q

I have just been notified by a tenant that an interior drywall has developed holes and tunnels. Could this be termites, and, if so, what type of termite is most likely?

Dampwood Termites

Conehead Termites

Dark Southeastern Subterranean Termites

Desert Subterranean Termites

Eastern Subterranean Termites

Western Subterranean Termites

Southeastern Drywood Termites

Desert Drywood Termites

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