Subterranean termites are found in every state except Alaska. This termite species lives in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas aboveground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species in the U.S.
As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. They do not usually infest structures because of the low moisture content of wood in structures, however, care must be taken to avoid attracting dampwood termites to a structure. Dampwood termites are found in Pacific coastal and adjacent states, the desert or semi-arid southwest, and southern Florida.
Drywood termites infest dry wood and do not require contact with the soil, unlike the subterranean and Formosan termites. This termite species often establishes nests in roof materials and wooden wall supports and can infest dead wood that may be around homes. Although they don’t require as much moisture for survival as other species, they can also be found in wood near a water source such as a leaky pipe or water heater. Drywood termites are found in the southern tier states, from North Carolina through the Gulf Coast and into the coastal areas of California.
Formosan termites are a major pest species of subterranean termite. They originate from southern China, Taiwan, and Japan and have spread to other parts of the world including the United States. Formosan termites can cause significant damage to timber structures when they nest inside buildings. They are more aggressive than native subterranean termite species and can build larger colonies with higher populations.
Fortunately, despite their invasive nature Formosan termites are not a problem here in New York State and Vermont because of the region's cold climate. The cooler temperatures and shorter growing season make it difficult for Formosan termites to establish large colonies and thrive. Additionally, New York and Vermont have stringent regulations that require pest control professionals to inspect any wood brought into the state from areas known to be infested with Formosan termites. These measures help keep New York and Vermont free from Formosan termite infestations.