To protect your home against termites, it is helpful to know the different types of termites that exist and in what region they can be found. There are more than 2,000 species of termites across the world, but only 50 of those species are found within the United States.

Not all termite types, or species, are considered destructive to homes. The most destructive types of termites are discussed below. If you suspect termites in your home, it is best to hire a pest management professional with the tools and expertise to find the most effective solution for you.

Region: found in every U.S. state except Alaska, extremely common in southern states and hotter climates.

There are at least six species of subterranean termites common in the United States. They include the Eastern subterranean termite, dark Southeastern subterranean, light Southeastern subterranean, Formosan subterranean termite, Western subterranean termite, arid land subterranean termite and the desert subterranean termite.

These types of termites have the ability to form large colonies and eat rapidly through wood, making them the most destructive termites. The Formosan termite is particularly destructive due to its larger colony size. It can be distinguished from other subterranean termites by its darker, yellow-brown body color.

Region: southern parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and all of Florida.

There are four common types of drywood termites in the United States, including the Southeastern drywood termite, West Indian drywood termite, Western drywood termite and the desert drywood termite.

These types of termites primarily attack wood structures, frames, flooring and furniture. They receive all of their nutrition from wood and, unlike other termites, do not require moisture from soil. Drywood termites can be difficult to treat because they have the ability to create multiple colonies within a home. While they are uncommon in cooler temperatures, they can survive in Northern climates under the right conditions.

Region: Montana, Idaho, Northern Nevada, Oregon, Northern California and Washington. Occasionally found in Southwest and Southern Florida.

Like drywood termites, many dampwood termites can survive without soil. They are attracted to wood with high moisture content and have a preference for decaying wood, areas with leaks and woodpiles. These termite types have reddish-brown heads and are larger than other termites. Due to their need for a free water source, dampwood termites are less likely to invade a home.

While termites are more common in southern areas, termites exist in every state across the country, except for Alaska. The best way to handle termites is to prevent them from ever entering your home. A pest management professional can help you develop a battle plan to relentlessly combat both current and future termites.

Termite Behavior Resources