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These Are the Common Types of Termites Found in Homes

Published January 15th, 2021 by Vision Pest Control

If you're a homeowner, you know about the perils of termites. In the US alone, termites damage over 600,000 homes every year. And according to the USDA, residents spend a combined $1 billion to $2 billion on termite-related repairs annually.

What you may not know is that the extent of damage to your home may depend on the different types of termites you're dealing with. Some termites are easy to spot since they forage aboveground, while others prefer to hide inside the structure of your home.

Different kinds of termites also prefer to live in different habitats. Knowing which termite species you're most likely to run into in California can help you prevent costly home repairs.

Are you wondering about the types of termites that may be causing damage to your home? Then you better keep reading because this one's for you. Plus, stick around until the end to find out where to get pest control services in California near you. 

Types of Termites Explained

Did you know that there are over 2000 different kinds of termite species? It's true and you can find around 45 of those species in the US alone! In general, we categorize these termites into five main categories:

  1. Subterranean termites
  2. Drywood termites
  3. Dampwood termites
  4. Conehead termites 
  5. Desert termites

We're taking a deep dive into all five types of termites below, so you've got to check it out!

Subterranean Termites

As their name suggests, subterranean termites live beneath the ground. They tend to enjoy building their nests in soil with tiny tunnels connecting each nest to potential food sources, including your home. 

Have a termite infestation wreaking havoc on your home? Unless you live in Alaska, odds are you're dealing with subterranean termites. After all, this type is the most common cause of termite damage in North America. 

One example of a subterranean termite is the Formosan termite. They originated in China but are now especially predominant in the Southern US. Formosan termites are highly aggressive and difficult to control except by trained termite professionals

Other types of subterranean termites include the arid-land subterranean and desert subterranean species. Eastern, dark southeastern, and western subterranean termites are named after the parts of the country in which they tend to live.

Drywood Termites

Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termite species prefer to live aboveground. You'll usually find these pests burrowing into the wood, including your hardwood floors, the structure of your home, and dying trees.

The good news about drywood termites? They don't tend to cause as much damage. This is because drywood termites don't travel with as large a crowd as their subterranean cousins, making for easier-to-exterminate nests.

Drywood termites don't require much water to survive. That's why you'll often find them inhabiting homes in the South and Southwestern US. These pests are also commonly found in the deserts of Arizona and Southeastern California. 

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites don't need contact with the soil like subterranean termites, instead preferring to live in wood like drywood termites. However, they're unique from both types of termites in that they need high moisture levels to thrive. 

You typically won't find dampwood termites nesting in your home, unless you're dealing with severe water damage. Why? Because these termites prefer wet wood, your insulated and roofed home isn't the ideal habitat. 

Perhaps surprisingly, you can find dampwood termites in the deserts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. Still, they're more common on the pacific coast and particularly prefer Nevada and rainy Florida. 

Conehead Termites

If you know your termite history, you may be surprised to see the conehead termite on this list. Previously known as tree termites, coneheads came to the US from the Caribbean islands. But by 2003, experts believed them to be extinct.

All that changed when, in 2019, researchers discovered new colonies of conehead termites in Florida. Conehead termites are particularly strange since they don't burrow in dirt or wood as do their dampwood, drywood, and subterranean cousins. They instead hunt for food aboveground, reminiscent of ants. 

Like subterranean termites, though, coneheads are aggressive. They propagate quickly, which allows them to cause serious damage in the fraction of the time it takes other types of termites. 

If you think you have a conehead termite infection, you better call an exterminator fast.

Desert Termites

Desert termites are relatively rare compared to some of the other termite types on this list. That's because they only live in three general locations: West Texas and the desserts of New Mexico and Arizona. 

You aren't likely to run into these pests in your home. Instead of wood, they prefer to feed on dead or decomposing plants and like to live in grass. Plus, in some ways, desert termites aren't pests at all.

Desert termites are an essential part of their unique ecosystem. Their underground nests and tunnels make for more porous soil, improving water flow to surrounding plants. 

Of course, you may not see these pests as a good thing if they're destroying your desert lawn. If you think you have a desert termite infestation, call a professional to take care of the problem while protecting these vital players in the desert habitat.

Deal With Your Termite Infestation Once and For All

In the US, we deal with three general types of termites: subterranean, dampwood, drywood, conehead, and desert termites. Because of the unique qualities of each of these kinds of termites, it's always best to call your local pest control expert.

Looking for a pest control company in California? We have locations in Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Burbank, San Fernando, and Pasadena. Call us today to learn how we can help you deal with your termite problem for good!


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