Are There Different Species of Termites?

Entomologists have identified approximately 2,000 species of termites worldwide and 45 species in the United States. The behavior and biology of each species impact the preferred environment, nest location and propensity to attack homes. The various species are broadly classified as either subterranean, drywood or dampwood termites. In Georgia, one type of drywood and two types of subterranean termites are the most common varieties found.

Eastern Subterranean Termites

Eastern subterranean termites are extremely common in 36 of the 48 continental states. In addition to the economic impact these termites have on the timber industry, approximately 20 percent of all homes built in areas of high activity will be or have been attacked by these particularly voracious termites.

Eastern subterranean termites typically build underground nests that are between the water table and the frost line. They then construct mud tubes to travel between the nest and food sources. These mud tubes are often found on the walls or foundations of homes that the termites are attacking. However, they may also construct subsidiary nests inside walls or other voids if moisture collects in that area.

Formosan Subterranean Termites

Native to China, the Formosan subterranean termite was first discovered in South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana during the 1960s. Since then, they have also been found in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi.

One colony of Formosan termites may consist of millions of individuals; the colonies of species native to the United States usually contain a few hundred thousand. A mature colony often consumes more than 12 ounces of wood each day, inflicting severe damage on a home in little more than three months and significant structural damage in less than six months.

The nesting habits of the Formosan subterranean termite are virtually identical to those of other subterranean termites. However, Formosan termites require less moisture than other species, allowing them to build nests above ground if other conditions are right.

West Indian Drywood Termites

West Indian drywood termites are also known as furniture termites since they are quite willing to infest movable objects. They construct their colonies inside the wood that they infest, and because they do not need to travel between a nest and a food source, they do not normally build mud tubes. However, they may occasionally build tubes to serve as a bridge to a nearby piece of wood.

Colonies are relatively small, seldom exceeding 5,000 individuals. Unfortunately, the small size of the colonies means that they usually establish multiple colonies within the same structure. Small colonies also allow them to infest objects as small as a picture frame or windowsill. They can build colonies in tables, doors, headboards, chairs and cabinets as well as in the wood used to construct or trim the home. Drywood termites prefer sound wood rather than wood that has started to decay.

Let Us Help You

If you suspect that termites have invaded your home, contact the professionals at Flexible Pest Services. We proudly serve multiple Georgia towns and offer an extensive range of safe, effective solutions for pests of all types, including termites, wildlife, stinging insects, roaches and fire ants. Contact us today to request a free quote.