The Who-What-When-Where-Why of Termite Mounds and Nests
The word “termite” has struck fear into the hearts of homeowners for years. Learn more about termite nests and how to check for signs of infestation.
Termites. These homewreckers that can cause thousands of dollars in damage and repairs. Know the facts about how to spot a termite nest.
Do termites live in mounds or nests? Fortunately, termite mounds are not part of the landscape in the United States. The species of termites that are found in the United States do not build mounds. Their nests are in the ground. Below, find key information to help you keep an eye out for termites, termite nests or termite damage.
Q: WHO to look for?
A: Subterranean termites are the most abundant and economically threatening of the termite species in the United States. These termites usually build their termite nests in soil, as the drying effects of too much exposure to air can kill them.
Drywood termites don't need the moisture other termites require. They seek out dry, sound wood. They are found in the southern coastal areas of both the Pacific and Atlantic as well as along the Gulf Coast.
Dampwood termites seek out wood with excess moisture. They are typically found along the Pacific Coast, the desert Southwest, southern Florida and the Caribbean.
Q: WHAT to look for?
A: With subterranean termites, look for wood with a hollowed-out or honeycombed appearance. You might also see tunnels made of soil and grayish or brownish specs of fecal matter.
Drywood termite damage can sometimes be found by closely inspecting wood surfaces directly above an accumulation of pellets.
To find dampwood termites, first look for spots of excess moisture in your home. Then look for any signs of pellets in or below wood.Q: WHEN to look?
A: Termites often prefer the warmer seasons and are most active spring through fall.
Of course, in warmer climates, they can remain active year round. In cooler climates, they are usually less active during the winter months.
Q: WHERE to look?
A: Subterranean termite nests are underground and rarely seen. However, you can spot termite mud tubes, which are built to connect the nest to the source of food, i.e., your home. Check every point where the soil meets your home. If you break a mud tube and it is rebuilt, termites are active in your home.
Drywood termites typically seek out the wood of building structures, door frames, furniture, hardwood floors and more.
Dampwood termite infestations are generally limited to moist or damp wood. Check spots affected by excess moisture, possibly roof or plumbing leaks or wood-to-earth contact.
Q: WHY look?
A: Termites cause about $5 billion in damage every year. How do they do that? By sneaking in when people aren't looking and hanging around unnoticed for a long time.
Termite nests are hidden, usually deep underground. Fortunately, termites leave other evidence of their activity. If you're worried about termites, the best answer is to have a trained professional perform a termite inspection.