4 Most Common Types of Termites

With over 2,700 known termite species it can be hard to know exactly what the difference between each is. Generally speaking though, there are four common categories that termites are sorted into, which are: Dampwood, Drywood, Subterranean, and Formosan Termites.

Dampwood Termite

  • Drawn to wood with high moisture content (decaying logs, rotting siding, decks, wet firewood)
  • Castes: Soldiers, Kings, Queens
  • Young reproductive termites do all the work!
  • Often infest wood that is sitting on the ground, but often not under the soil.
  • Tunnel across the grain vs with it
  • Notable Characteristics
    • Large head & mandible
    • 20mm to 25 mm in length

Drywood Termite

  • Able to infest wood that isn’t in contact with the ground, colonies are often found in high places like an attic
  • Tunnel with the grain of the wood
  • Castes: Soldiers, Kings, Queens
  • Young reproductive termites do all the work!
  • Swarm (mate) in hotter temperatures
  • Notable Characteristics
    • Brown Head & Thorax, Brownish-Black abdomen
    • Large jaws
    • Up to 13 mm in length

Subterranean Termite

  • #1 Arizona Pest
  • Infested wood often has to be touching the soil, as the termites derive their moisture from the soil.
  • Wood will often have soil patches or shelter tubes covering it for the termites to pass through – built with soil and feces.
  • Tunnel with the grain of the wood
  • Castes: Workers, Soldiers, Swarmers, Kings, Queens
  • Notable Characteristics
    • Rectangular Head
    • Dark-brown – Black with colorless wings
    • 6.5 mm to 9.5 mm in length

Formosan Termite

  • Though technically a Subterranean Termite, we are giving them their own category as they are one of the most common and destructive of the Subterranean Termites!
  • Construct shelter tubes, and also cartons to help expand their nest, allowing them to live outside of the soil, unlike most other subterranean termites
  • Notable Characteristics
    • Yellow & brown bodies
    • Oblong head
    • Slightly larger than other subterranean termites
    • 5mm to 8.5 mm in length

Need help identifying termites around your home or business? Contact Essential Pest to set up your consultation now! Also, check out our Pest ID Center for information on other common household pests!

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