Termites are typically known as wood-eaters, but did you know they have also earned the title of the silent destroyer? Read all about the different types of termites, their characteristics, and how to identify them.- Advertisement -
By looking at a single termite, one wouldnt expect it to be even remotely close to being dangerous or menacing; however, massive colonies of termites have been found to inflict serious structural damage in a lot of peoples homes.
They have also been given the title of silent destroyers due to their unbelievable ability to chew through wood, furniture, flooring, wallpapers, and fence posts, and that too, undetected! You will be surprised to hear that in a given year, termites cause more than $5 billion in property and structural damage each year.
Related: 21 common household insects (in and outside the home)
Termites were once known as the white ant and were widely confused with an actual ant. However, with the advent of technology and the use of microscopes, people were able to prove that there are several distinguishing features between termites and ants. These were typical termite features that include a broad abdomen, straight termite antennae, and equal sized wings.
Fascinatingly though, due to the million dollars worth of destruction caused by termites each year, they are considered truly novel insects and have been ranked as the most successful insect pests to deal with.
Although there are up to 2000 species of termites found on the planet Earth, the following are the most common and popular ones that pose the greatest threat and risk to most homeowners in the United States.
As the name suggests, these termites live underground and are typically found across every state in the US except Alaska. Subterranean termites build underground colonies that often contain more than 2 million members. An interesting fact about these termites is that they have to live in damp conditions in order to survive, so they build mud tunnels that are specifically called mud tubes to be able to stay damp and travel from place to place. These tubes also allow them to protect themselves from open air and find accessible food sources.
Their typical food sources include fence posts, trees, and timbers in houses. These termites are known for their rapid wood-eating abilities which make them the most destructive kinds of termites. One way to tell if the wood in your home has been infested by subterranean termites is by the appearance of the holes on the damaged wood that appear like a honeycomb.
Subterranean termites are commonly divided into 4 groups in order to easily identify them. The Alates (swarmers) sport a dark brown or black color and are almost half an inch long with two pairs of wings while the workers are almost one-fourth inch or less in length, have no wings and are ream in color. Then there is a group called soldiers with creamy-white bodies, brownish heads, and they have large jaws and no wings.
There are six main categories or species of subterranean termites that are commonly found in the United States.
The Arid-land Subterranean termites are typically found in the regions including the West Coast, Midwest, Southwest, South, and the Rocky Mountain States.
They have also been divided into 3 main castes that include adult reproductives that are usually black or dark brown in color and are half an inch long with clear wings. The soldiers have long mandibles to fight off predators and are the same size as the adult caste. Finally, the worker caste that has an appearance similar to light colored ants.
These termites usually attack types of greasewood and creosote although they do resort to attacking structures when their natural wood sources are inaccessible or are removed.
Some common signs that indicate infestation by arid-land termites include piles of shed wings often near windows and doors, mud tubes in houses that have peeling paint and swarming termites.
These termites are commonly found in regions of Southern Arizona and Southeastern California.
They are normally very small in size and can easily thrive in dry conditions. The workers are typically cream colored and have an appearance similar to that of ants, soldiers are fairly large with big mouthparts and heads shaped like rectangles, and adult reproductives are half an inch long with wings and sport a yellowish-brown color.
The survival of desert subterranean termites largely depends on food sources like structural timbers in houses, utility poles and woody plants like cactus. Their colonies are usually massive, often containing more than 300,000 members.
These termites also build mud tubes for protection and prefer to search for food in moist soils and areas with shades soils.
Common infestation signs of these termites include the sudden appearance of swarming termites and mud tubes. They usually attack varieties of softwood that leaves a honeycombed print, and the damaged wood often contains a hollow section filled with mud.
The Eastern Subterranean termites are commonly found in parts of New England, East Coast, and the Midwest.
These are more of an organized and functional group of termites where every member of their colony carries out a specific function in order to maintain the success of the entire colony. The workers in this species basically help feed the whole colony and sport a cream color. The alates are usually winged and are known to leave the existing in order to build a whole new colony. The soldiers are like the colonys main protectors that use their large jaws fight intruders, and they are typically one-fourth inch long.
They are also quite popular for their destructive habits, and their feeding abilities are so dangerous that it can seriously weaken building structures, causing the entire framing to collapse.
Typical infestation signs include the presence of mud tubes and shed wings usually near windows, doors, and sources of light.
Commonly found in the East Coast regions of New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhodes Island, this dark southeastern subterranean species of termites is a one-third inch long and usually has a dark brown or black body.
The soldier caste has large mouthparts with rectangular shaped heads and is known as the colonys defenders. The workers resemble cream colored ants and are mainly responsible for colony maintenance. The reproductive caste expands the colonies by laying eggs and swarming.
These termites like to feed on plywood, pine wood and structural lumber for survival. Common infestation signs include honeycombed damaged wood, partially digested wood and presence of their typical mud tubes.
These termite species are found in Nevada, California, and Washington. Their workers are similar in appearance to cream colored ants while the soldiers have pincher-like large mouthparts and rectangular heads. The swarmers have two large pairs of wings and dark brown bodies.
The western subterranean termites have a Queen termite that serves the purpose of a reproductive engine in the colony and has the potential to produce even more than 2000 eggs per day.
Interestingly, these termites are not picky food-eaters and usually eat decayed wood, fallen trees, and stumps. However, they do have quite a peculiar feeding system. They follow a shared feeding system called trophallax which involves a give-and-take process between colony members. This is basically marked by an exchange of gut contents through which nutrients are efficiently utilized.
Common signs of infestation include partially digested wood, damaged wood with mud-packed hollow sections and a honeycomb appearance in the infested wood.
Dampwood termites are usually found in Northern California, Washington, Northern Nevada, and Montana. They have the ability to survive without soil, so they prefer areas with woodpiles, decaying wood, and wood with an adequate amount of moisture. This is also why they are called dampwood, due to the fact they infest wood that has a high moisture content.
They are fairly larger than other termites and often have reddish-brown heads.
Dampwood termites are also divided into the following sub-categories.
This group is found in California, Texas and New Mexico. The best way to identify their presence is the appearance of the infested wood. The tunnels that they create within the wood have super smooth walls that look like they have been smoothed-out with sandpaper. These termites have spotted abdomens and often occur in variations of brown and yellow. They like to eat damp wood and are likely to be found in wet wood structures.
As the name suggests, these termites are found in the Florida Keys and are supposedly the largest termites in the Eastern United States. Their survival hugely depends on high humidity levels and water accessibility which is why they prefer living in moist woods. Instead of tunneling into the soil, Florida dampwood termites build galleries through the woods that they infest. Common signs of infestation by these termites include shed wings, the presence of the alates caste, and piles of fecal pellets.
The Nevada Dampwood termites are distributed across Nevada, Montana, and Idaho. Their primary castes include nymphs that have a cream color, the soldiers that have large mouthparts to defend from predators and brownish heads, and the alates that have dark brown bodies and wings and their length goes up to inches long.
There are likely to feed on any kind of wood present in structures or soils that have high moisture content and areas that are prone to tidal flooding. Some of their mature and well-developed colonies contain more than 4000 individuals; however; they can always vary in size.
These termites are found in mainly all of Florida, parts of California, Texas, Mexico and Alabama. They are known to attack furniture, flooring, wood structures, and frames which are also their main sources of nutrients. Unlike many other groups of termites, drywood termites dont require as much moisture from the soil for their survival. They also have large mouthparts and large sets of wings.
Drywood termites are further divided into two categories.
They are found in California and Arizona and usually form small colonies with about 3000 members. The soldier caste has two large mouthparts a brown colored head. The alates have a half an inch long body with smokey-black wings. They commonly infest exposed wood like attics, window frames, and doors.
Signs of infestation include shed wings, piles of fecal pellets and blisters of the damaged wood surface.
These termites are found in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Alabama. They are quite similar in appearance to other drywood species which is best associated with the way they infest the wood that is, eating across the grain.
These termites can survive without a large amount of moisture, and their colonies are not as huge as those of the subterranean species. Their common signs of infestation include dead termite swarmers, shed wings, and fecal pellets.
These termites are native to the Caribbean and were first found in the United States sometime during the year 2001, but were then apparently eradicated from there in the year 2003. Initially, they were referred to as tree termites but were later renamed to Conehead termites in order to eliminate the fallacy that these species were only found in trees.
Unlike several other termite species, the Conehead termites are actually found above the ground where they rummage for food on the ground as ants do. They have quite a reputation for being aggressive termites that cause mass destruction in very short periods of time.
The name conehead comes from the fact that these termites have a cone-shaped head which is usually dark in color. The total conehead termite colony majorly consists of soldiers that make up about 30% of the entire colony. Another distinguishing feature of these termites is that they build more extensive and wider tunnels as compared to the subterranean species. They also build these their nests out in the open that are often round or oval in shape and are fairly large and dark-brown in color.
The conehead termites prefer to eat anything that has cellulose in it. Some of their common food sources include furniture, paper products, structural timber, trees, roots, shrubs, and fence posts.
Typical infestation signs include extensive tunnel networks that go all the way from the nests to their feeding locations.
This species of termites is commonly found in Arizona, West Texas, and New Mexico regions.
The workers colony of the desert termites are found in great abundance and are the major food providers. The soldier caste serves the main purpose of protecting the termite colony from predators, and they have large teeth-like mouthparts. The reproductives, as the name suggests, are the reproducers with wings and have a light-brown body that is usually half an inch long.
Desert termites have a tendency to dry out and lose moisture. So, one of their biggest survival tactics includes building a moisture-retentive sheet or tube that is made out of the carton. Carton is basically a mixture that contains feces and moist soil that is then bonded together with the help of the termites saliva. These termites usually tunnel and forage in or on the soil which helps make the soil more porous.
They like to feed on decomposed, living or dead plant material and prefer to live within dead or living grasses. Common infestation signs of desert termites include swarming soldier termites and layers of their protective sheets or tubes within the soil.
These termites have originated from China and are commonly found in southern U.S. regions such as Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, Mississippi, California, and Tennessee. They are popularly known as the most devious, aggressive and voracious of termite species which makes them extremely difficult to control once they form a colony or infest a structure.
Formosan termites build huge underground colonies that also include intricate mud nests that are well-contained within a walled structure.
There are over 2000 species of desert termites that are known to science which occur in three major castes. The workers are quite similar to the workers of the other termite groups while the alates are about half an inch long and sport a yellowish-brown color. They also have distinctive transparent wings that are covered with a thick layer of small hairs. The soldiers on the other hand have an oblong-shaped head and tend to be more aggressive than other termites when protecting their colony from danger.
Because their colonies are large, they are able to consume a great amount of wood compared to other termite colonies.
Whichever part of the world you live in, it is always suggested to have any leaks in your home fixed immediately, ensure that there is no amount of wood debris next to or near your house, and any openings to the house are sealed that may provide access for termites to enter in.
Related: 21 common household insects (in and outside the home)
Read this article:
13 Different Types of Termites Eating Houses All Over the World
- Termite Control System Market Report, History And Forecast 2020-2025, Breakdown Data By Manufacturers, Key Regions, Types And Application - The Daily... - August 13th, 2020
- Check Out the Innovative Winners of LACMA's Art + Technology Grant - Hyperallergic - August 13th, 2020
- Peter Okoye enjoys a meal of termites, reveals other insects he loves eating - Legit - August 12th, 2020
- Cameroon cancels logging plan that threatened rare apes - Devdiscourse - August 12th, 2020
- Growth of Biological Pest Control Market has been derived from the growing CAGR 2020-2028 - The Daily Chronicle - August 12th, 2020
- Are more pests popping up because of the COVID-19 pandemic? - KVUE.com - August 12th, 2020
- Termite Treatment Chemical Products Market Size, Share, Segmentation, Business Growth, Top Key Players, Analysis, Opportunities and Forecast to 2027 -... - August 12th, 2020
- Loved and Lost: No matter where she lived, Harriet Hohman felt most at home on a stage - NorthJersey.com - August 10th, 2020
- Sacred Heart School - Kalyan's Biomimicry Lab's discovery could change building construction technology i - Times of India - August 9th, 2020
- Termite Control Market 2020 Size by Product Analysis, Application, End-Users, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies and Forecast to 2027 - Owned - August 9th, 2020
- Petition To Remove Farrakhan From Twitter Gains Signatures - The Jewish Voice - August 9th, 2020
- ServiceMaster Names Brett T. Ponton as Its Next Chief Executive Officer - Business Wire - August 8th, 2020
- article image World's most trafficked animal gives Trump new way to hit China - Digital Journal - August 8th, 2020
- Photos found forgotten in a Tulsa home reunited with family - kjrh.com - August 7th, 2020
- Petition to remove Farrakhan from Twitter gains 1400 signatures and counting - Cleveland Jewish News - August 7th, 2020
- Petition to remove Farrakhan from Twitter gains 1,400 signatures and counting - JNS.org - August 7th, 2020
- Movies from Iran competing in Rhode Island festival - Tehran Times - August 7th, 2020
- Termites Archives - Pest Control Hacks - August 6th, 2020
- Termite Bait Systems Market Key Players, Product and Production Information analysis and forecast to 2025 - Owned - August 6th, 2020
- Termite Bait System Products Market is Expected to Thrive at Impressive CAGR by 2026 & Top Key Players are DowDuPont, BASF, Bayer, Sumitomo... - August 6th, 2020
- The new kind of bigotry growing among progressives - opinion - The Jerusalem Post - August 6th, 2020
- Moviegoer: Inheritance - Bay Weekly - August 6th, 2020
- Termite season about to kick off - Shepparton Adviser - August 6th, 2020
- Roasted Winged Termites Are My Favourite Monsoon Snack, Even If Others Might Not Find it 'Appropriate' - VICE - August 6th, 2020
- LETTER: Kristallnacht and pogroms - unfortunately a sign of the times? - Wicked Local Plymouth - August 6th, 2020
- U.S. Pest Protection Inaugural Pest Control Service Center in the Expanding Murfreesboro, TN; Experiencing Growth Amid Pandemic - Yahoo News - August 6th, 2020
- Two more movies from Iran join Rhode Island festival - Tehran Times - August 6th, 2020
- Letter: Rein in the mayor - Anchorage Daily News - August 6th, 2020
- Black Termite Inspector Alleges White Ex-Boss Threatened to Kill Him - MyNewsLA.com - July 9th, 2020
- Termite Treatment Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 5th, 2020
- Termite Monitoring Service Market Growth By Manufacturers, Type And Application, Forecast To 2026 - 3rd Watch News - July 5th, 2020
- Fiber Cement Siding Market 2020 Worldwide Industry Size, Key Vendors, Growth Drivers, Opportunity And Competitive Landscape Forecast to 2025 - Jewish... - July 4th, 2020
- Termite Control Market Size, Analysis, Trends and Segmented Data by Top Companies and Opportunities 2020-2027 - Cole of Duty - July 3rd, 2020
- COVID19 Impact- Global Termite Control Products Market Recent Industry Developments and Growth Strategies Adopted by Top Key Players: BASF SE,... - July 1st, 2020
- CenTex Foundation Repair Servicing the Temple, Texas Areas Foundation and Leveling Needs - Press Release - Digital Journal - July 1st, 2020
- When Sports Were Played: Kane, Wild Things were able to pull off 2003 comeback - Observer-Reporter - July 1st, 2020
- Termites flying in swarms invade Thailand supermarket as shoppers continue to buy products - 7NEWS.com.au - June 30th, 2020
- Fox Soul Announces It Will Not Broadcast Louis Farrakhan July 4 Address - Jewish Journal - June 30th, 2020
- Summer bug treatments that don't bite - ConsumerAffairs - June 30th, 2020
- What helps, and what doesnt, during a hectic home sale - The Mercury News - June 30th, 2020
- BOOR: Troublesome pests crawling out of the woodwork - hays Post - June 24th, 2020
- The Wonder Of Termites (Yep, That's What I Said) - Connecticut Public Radio - June 24th, 2020
- Europe Pest Control Market to Exhibit Rapid Surge in Consumption in the COVID-19 Crisis - Cole of Duty - June 24th, 2020
- Why is this the most trafficked mammal in the world? | Living - Euronews - June 24th, 2020
- The minister of hate | Opinion | jewishaz.com - Jewish News of Greater Phoenix - June 24th, 2020
- Day of reckoning has arrived for NASCAR and its fans - Yahoo Sports - June 24th, 2020
- Essays on Non-virtual Reality: Examining the big world of the tiny ant - The News-Messenger - June 22nd, 2020
- HGTV's Renovation Island : Everything You Need to Know About Stars Bryan and Sarah Baeumler - Yahoo Finance UK - June 22nd, 2020
- Termite Pictures: Species, Signs and Damage - June 20th, 2020
- Termite Treatment Market Analysis, Top Manufacturers, Share, Growth, Statistics, Opportunities and Forecast To 2026 - Cole of Duty - June 16th, 2020
- Termite Control Market Analysis, Top Manufacturers, Share, Growth, Statistics, Opportunities and Forecast To 2026 - Cole of Duty - June 16th, 2020
- Ant-Man better watch out, because these termites are the supervillains of the insect world - SYFY WIRE - June 15th, 2020
- Termite Control Services Market to Witness Robust Expansion Throughout the Forecast Period 2017 to 2026 - Farmers Ledger - June 15th, 2020
- Homeowners in 'termite belt' should be wary of insect - Henry Herald - June 15th, 2020
- Of dung beetles and elephants - Daily Maverick - June 15th, 2020
- Termite Control Products Market Industry Size, Share and Forecast to 2026 - Weekly Wall - June 15th, 2020
- Aggressive rodents not issue in LR, experts say - Arkansas Online - June 15th, 2020
- Coronavirus threat to global Termite Treatment Market 2020 Industry Share, Size, Consumption, Growth, Top Manufacturers, Type and Forecast to 2027 -... - June 15th, 2020
- 'Renovation Island': Fans worried that Bryan and Sarah might not stay married after the show - MEAWW - June 15th, 2020
- Homeowners in 'termite belt' should be wary of insect - KPVI News 6 - June 13th, 2020
- China removes Pangolin from its traditional medicine list to protect the endangered animal - Republic World - Republic World - June 13th, 2020
- Harrell: One of the most dangerous driveways in Bluffton - Bluffton Today - June 12th, 2020
- Improved attic ventilation helps protect your roof and keep your home comfortable - theday.com - June 12th, 2020
- Harrell: One of the most dangerous driveways in Bluffton - Online Athens - June 10th, 2020
- New books present the PhyloCode, an evolution-based system for naming organisms - University of Florida - June 10th, 2020
- Termite Treatment Market 2019 Break Down by Top Companies, Countries, Applications, Challenges, Opportunities and Forecast 2026 - Cole of Duty - June 10th, 2020
- The Walking Dead star reveals horror at cannibal slaughterhouse scenes where men were hung from hooks and - The Sun - June 10th, 2020
- Impact of COVID-19 on Termite Control 2020 Industry Growth, Size, Trends, Share, Opportunities and Forecast to 2026 - 3rd Watch News - June 9th, 2020
- Back From Extinction: Returning Threatened Pangolins to the Wild - EcoWatch - June 9th, 2020
- Enviro-Safe Protection Pest Control Services, Inc., announced today they have again won the coveted Angie's List Super Service Award - Press Release -... - June 9th, 2020
- At the zoo, meerkats work for their dinner with the help of GE engineers and some titanium - The Cincinnati Enquirer - June 9th, 2020
- For The Love Of Mulch And Mulching! Inorganic Mulch & Termites - Osprey Observer - June 6th, 2020
- Covid-19 Impact on Global Termite Drug, Market Insights and Forecast to 2026 - 3rd Watch News - June 6th, 2020
- The Barton mansion: A building worthy of a novel - Richmond.com - June 6th, 2020
- Stay Orders - A termite in the Indian Justice System - Lexology - June 5th, 2020
- COVID-19 Update: Global Termite Drug Market is Expected to Grow at a Healthy CAGR with Top players: Bifenthrins, Borates, Sulfuryl Fluorides, Others,,... - June 5th, 2020
- Pest Control Market Size Worth USD 31.94 Billion by 2027; Rising Adoption of Pest Control Software will Add Impetus to Market, Says Fortune Business... - June 5th, 2020
- 4 Signs Your Home Has Termites and 4 Ways to Prevent Them - WDRB - June 4th, 2020
- It's the time for storm-proofing; frequent weeding; and making careful cuts in the garden - NOLA.com - June 4th, 2020
- 7 Signs of Termites in Your Home | Today's Homeowner - June 2nd, 2020