The Common Types Of Termites You Must To Know

Termites are insects that feed on wood and other plant materials. They can be found all over the world, with more than 2,000 known species of these bugs. The termite is a social insect that lives in colonies where they cooperate to eat through wood like cows munching grass. In some cases, these colonies can grow up to millions of individuals. Here are some of the types of termites you will find in nature.

Drywood Termite

Drywood termites live in the western parts of North America, where they are found in warm and dry areas like outdoor furniture or houses. They only come out at night to feed on wood such as the sides of buildings , wooden doors and paneling, window frames, molding, book bindings and decks. Drywood termites don't build tubes, but their droppings appear as small gray pellets.

The drywood termite is a little bit larger than the dampwood and more reddish in color. Drywood termites go about 3 mm long and live inside walls of buildings instead of making colonies on wood.

Eradication is usually not required since the drywood termites don't cause damage to wooden structures.

Subterranean Termite

This is the most common type of termite in North America, found all over the place, especially in the southern regions where there are warm and humid climates. subterranean termites live underground in colonies that can reach up to a million members. They're known to damage almost anything, but they are fond of agriculture or fiber based products.

Dampwood Termite

These termites live in trees where they create colonies that can reach hundreds in a few years. They eat holes in the wood and stay inside living tubes as they travel from one tree to another. The dampwood termite can be found in the eastern part of North America.

They'll also feed on the wood of stumps and fallen trees. The dampwood termite is about twice as long as a drywood termite. Because it lives within a tree, the dampwood doesn't need to build a mound structure out in the open like other species do.

The dampwood termite's main predator is the giant African cockroach.

Powderpost Termite

Powderpost termites are very similar to the yellowish-brown dampwood termite. They have a high population density and can cause significant damage in just a few hours if they aren't treated.

These termites live in wood that is soft, like old structures, new wooden furniture with glue made from wheat or ground corn cobs, which they can break down in their gut.

The average size of a powderpost termite is 4 to 6 mm, but sometimes they get bigger than 8mm long. They have wings and are very active during the day. They're known for drilling web-like tunnels into wood that resemble tiny brown lines in timber. Powderpost termites will build very thin mud tubes around the area that they live.

An estimate of one billion powderpost termites live in buildings and other wooden structures in the U.S.. They are known to cause $ 1 billion worth of damage every year nationwide alone . 

Nasute Termite

This termite comes from the eastern coast of Africa and is often found in wooden houses surrounded by palm trees. It doesn't need to build a mound like other species because it lives inside dead or dying palm trees. They'll also feed on other dead wood, as long as temperatures are warm enough for them to survive.

They're reddish-brown in color and have a long white tube coming out of their abdomen. The nasute termite is about 5mm to 10 mm long.

The nasute termite is able to break down most types of cellulose, which makes it one of the closest related species to humans . Other than being a pest, these termites are also considered a delicacy in Africa.

The nasute termite is considered the most serious pest of palm trees, which are an important resource for food and shelter in African countries. Other than that, it's not a major concern to humans living in America or Europe.  Millions of dollars are spent every year trying to stop this species from spreading.

Odorous House Termites

These termites are fairly easy to identify. They're found in the southern regions of the United States and they build small mud structures on wall sides in homes. They eat through wood, which can make them a hazard for wooden shingles or decks connected to homes.

The odorous house termite is also known as the eastern drywood termite. They're about the size of a pinhead and can be found in other parts of the world, including China and India.

The odorous house termite is known to eat through wooden housing material, including wood used for furniture or cabinets. It's considered a pest because it's very difficult to eliminate them from houses once they are inside. When left untreated, they can cause large amounts of structural damage to a home within just two or three years.

As the name implies, these termites give off an offensive smell as soon as they're crushed. The odor is very similar to fruit and other food that has been tainted by bacteria growing inside it.

Eastern Subterranean Termite

This termite species is often found in the northern states of America. They're known for building mud structures in soil that has been exposed to sunlight and rain, which will then resemble mounds about 50cm high (19.5 inches).

Eastern subterranean termites are also able to live in wood from dead trees, as long as they're moisture-rich. They can also be found in or around old furniture, especially if it's made of wood .

The eastern subterranean termite is able to destroy wooden structures by feeding through the cellulose that holds them together. It's not uncommon for infestations to cause massive amounts of damage in a short amount of time .

This termite species is not only found in the northern U.S., it can also be found in parts of Canada as well. It's a very common pest and needs to be treated immediately if it happens to invade homes .

Western Subterranean Termite

The western subterranean termite can be found in many states of the Southwest, including New Mexico and California. It's a popular pest that is known to infest wooden structures from the ground up .

The western subterranean termite builds mud tubes on horizontal surfaces, especially brick walls. They're able to feed on wood inside furniture or buildings, which can lead to major structural damage .

Coptotermes Formosanus Termite

These termites are primarily found in households in Taiwan, but they also live in the United State. They build mud tubes around the foundation and upper parts of wooden buildings.

A very characteristic trait about these termites is that they only have three pairs of legs, which is a lot less than their other species of termites. 

They can be identified by their distinct antennae shape , which looks like a club. Coptotermes formosanus termites are usually found in southeast Asia, including Taiwan and China .

This species of termite is very similar to the eastern subterranean type. It feeds on wood used for construction or furniture . It's also able to live off dead plant material that it finds inside homes as well. As a result, it can be found in furniture like old beds or couches.

Formosan Termite

This species of termite is also known as the Taiwanese termite. It has a yellowish brown color with darker colors on its wings. Its body length ranges from 2 to 3 millimeters (0.11-0.12 inches).

It builds mud structures at ground level or above in wooden homes or buildings . They may be a little difficult to recognize, as they look similar to other species of termites. However, when you search for their distinctive wings , you can be sure that it's a Formosan termite.


Incisitermes are another type of termite that like to build their homes in wood, but they generally live inside the tree instead of underneath it. They can be found throughout Europe and North America with nests that grow as deep as five feet into building structures.


The kalotermes is a termite native to the Australian region. It's one of the most destructive species for that area and has been seen in New Zealand as well. They have an interesting lifestyle where they live inside a hollow log and feed on fungus that grows from the decaying tree.

Amitermes Termite

Termites are insects that feed on wood and other plant materials. They can be found all over the world, with more than 2,000 known species of these bugs. The termite is a social insect that lives in colonies where they cooperate to eat through wood like cows munching grass. In some cases, these colonies can grow up to millions of individuals. Here are some of the types of termites you will find in nature.


What Are The Different Types Of Termites?

Termites are among the most common pests in the world. There are around 2000 known species of termite, which can be categorized into three different types .

The main differences between these types is their physical appearance and location found. Most common species are subterranean termites and drywood termites .

Subterranean termites live and nest underground. They're usually found in wooden structures, which they will damage by feeding on the wood . Drywood termites live within or near buildings that are made of wood - but not necessarily inside them. Underneath their nests, drywood termites create galleries and tunnels out to food sources .

In the United States, there are around nine different species of subterranean termites. They're widely distributed throughout North America, including Canada. In fact, there are as many as two million infestations in California alone!

By contrast, drywood termites have a much smaller number of species . Most of them live in tropical and subtropical regions, although a few live in temperate zones .

The number of types of termites is a general estimate, since new species are still being discovered. However, there are currently about 3000 known types of termite in the world .

Are termites dangerous?

Termites are not directly harmful to humans. However, they're indirectly linked to diseases and even death due to their destructive behavior towards wooden structures .

Drywood termites are associated with asthma due to their ability to cause allergic reactions in humans. They can also carry organisms that can cause diseases, such as tuberculosis or leprosy  in populations where they're abundant. Therefore, it's important to control the number of drywood termites within a home.

Termites cause over $5 billion dollars worth of damage to homes in the US every year . They're responsible for more than $1 billion in repair expenses each year.

What is the best treatment for termites?

Chemical treatments should be used with caution, because they can create problems that are worse than the insects themselves .

There are natural insecticides that can effectively kill different types of termites . There are also repellents, which can be sprayed directly on the insect to prevent them from entering a building . 

What is a common type of termite?

There are many different types of termites, but the most common ones are drywood termites and subterranean termites .

What is a rare type of termite?

The Formosan termite is the rarest variety of termite in the world . It's found only in Taiwan.


As you can see, there are several different types of termites. However, they're a problem that needs to be taken seriously , because of the damage and destruction they cause within homes if left untreated . If you live in an area where subterranean or drywood termites are likely to appear, it's best to understand their habits and take precautions to prevent infestations in your home.

However, if an infestation does occur, don't panic! There are several different methods you can use to kill termites or keep them out of your residence. Try some of the natural products suggested above and talk with a professional exterminator about how they can solve the problem for you.


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