Pest Resources

Where do termites come from?


Termites exist on nearly everywhere in the world. Since they feed on wood and cellulose material, almost every home or business property is at risk of a termite infestation. 

While they do not bite and tend to avoid humans, termites are one of the most destructive insects in the world. If you are not careful, they will destroy your wooden furniture and cause damage to the home’s foundations.

One thing that baffles people about termites is their sneaky nature. They love to hide. This quality makes it difficult for homeowners to detect a termite problem early. In most situations, it seems like you wake up one day to find termites activity in your home. Read on to learn where termites come from and how they get into your home. 

What are termites?

Termites are tiny insects that have distinct castes. They live in colonies like other insects. A termites colony consists of kings – fertile males, sterile workers/soldiers, and at least one fertile female called the queen. Each termite colony ranges in size and can have up to a million termites.

Many people refer to termites as white ants due to how they look. Ants and termites have six legs, and their bodies have three segments. However, termites have straight antennae, and a straight waist, unlike ants.

Also, swarming termites (winged termites) have wings of equal length, while those of flying ants are uneven. You should also note that termites only eat dead trees or items they can derive cellulose like newspapers and books. Meanwhile, Ants can eat just about anything.

Termites are not ants, and they are not closely related to them.

Where do termites come from?

It depends on the type of termites involved. There are different types of termites. We’ll look at three types based on their habitats. You’ll see where each type of termite comes from, the things that attract them, and how they can enter your house.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are the most common species. They love moisture-rich environments, so they breed and form their colony in the soil. 

These termites live and come from underground. They may enter your house through the foundation, or anywhere there is contact with the ground. It could be through door frames, deck posts, or porch steps. 

Subterranean termites are the most difficult to eliminate because they live in the soil. They also wreck the most damage in a short amount of time. Subterranean termite workers build tunnels from their nest to your house and any point where there is softwood. These tunnels are called mud tubes. They help to provide them with moisture as they go about their activities. 

Dampwood Termites 

This species of termite loves moisture but does not live in the ground. Instead, you’ll find its colony in wet wood. Their favorite food is tree stumps, branches, lumber, and mulch that has absorbed water. They live in and extract moisture from them.

You should be careful with the kind of timber logs you bring into your house, as they might be termite infested. Dampwood termites can also enter your house through areas of extensive water damage like a leaking or damaged pipe. They are attracted to rotted wood and will help decay the wood further, causing more damage.

Drywood Termites 

Unlike the above two, this type of termite does not require much moisture. They feed on dry and exposed wood.

Drywood termites only occur in areas where the weather does not reach freezing points. You’ll typically find them in dry wood habitats. There’s also a high chance of them being in dry firewood or wooden components.

Here’s how they get there. 

Swarmers look for holes in dry wood. Once they see one, they enter and seal themselves there. Then they build a nest and procreate until they form a new colony. The entire process sometimes takes years. So don’t be surprised if you suddenly find thousands of termites in your furniture one day. They have been silently growing in there for a long time.

Signs of Termite infestation

It is relatively easy to spot the signs of a termite infestation than the pests due to their tiny size. Therefore, homeowners should always watch out for the following proofs of termite activity in their homes.

Presence of swarmer termites or discarded wings 

An early sign of termite infestation is when you keep seeing swarmers – flying termites in or around your home. Swarmers are winged termites with the responsibility of breeding new colonies. They consist of fertile males and females looking to find a mating partner. Swarming termites often appear around summer and are usually attracted by light. They shed their wings once they find a partner, so you might also notice discarded wings on the ground or window sills. In that case, you should call a pest control company for immediate termite treatment.

Patterns on walls and wood

Irregular patterns on your walls or wooden furniture signify an active termite infestation. Think of it as their signature. The patterns will look like lines drawn on a surface, with each line going in different directions like a maze.  

They are mud tubes built by termites to serve as a tunnel from their nest into your home. The mud tubes also shelter them as they carry out their operations. If you look carefully, you’ll find that the patterns lead to entry points of the house.

You’d likely find some termites if you scrape the mud off. But if you don’t, it’s probably an old tube from a previous infestation. However, opt for a termite inspection to be sure.

Clicking Sounds

Worker termites work steadily to build the colony and protect the queen. While at this, they make low but steady noises. You’ll hear soft sounds like someone is scribbling or scratching on a surface. Also, soldier termites sometimes bang their head against the wall to signal other termites of danger. So if you keep hearing strange sounds from your walls, it probably means termites are hard at work.

Structural Problems

Termites eat wood from the inside, which is why you don’t get to notice them. However, even though you don’t see them, some things show termites are inside a wooden item. For instance, the item will

  • Have holes with mud in them

  • Sound hollow when tapped

  • Look weak and tattered

You may also notice small piles of droppings in the corners of the ground or wooden structures. These signify dry wood termite infestations.

Damaged walls or floors 

Termite damage is always visible on the walls of a house. You would find that the paint or wallpaper would begin to come off. The walls may also look discolored, with tiny holes all around them.

Meanwhile, if you have wooden flooring, it might become weak and shaky. Besides that, the tiles might fall, and the laminates may peel off.

Note that some of these signs only show up after a long period of termite infestation. Hence, you should thoroughly inspect a termite before procuring a new property.

How to prevent a termite colony in your home

Although they are very tiny, termites can cause heavy damage to a home or business property. It would be foolhardy to underestimate termite damage. These pests are always working, and they move in large colonies.

The best way of preventing termite infestations is to keep your house clean and void of things that attract termites. For instance, avoid using raw wood in your home, as it’s a food source for termites. You should also repair every leak or crack and ensure the water drains properly. Lastly, every homeowner should carry out termite inspections often.

Conclusion on where do termites come from

Knowing where termites come from is very important to stop the termite problem. So, where do termites come from?

Termites come from different places depending on their species. They enter your home through holes, crevices, or cracks in your property. All they need are crawl spaces to find their way.

We have discussed where do termites come from of termite infestations in this article. Some species of termites come from the soil. Others come from infested wood that you bring into your home. Seek professional help from a pest control company if you see any sign of termite damage in your home.

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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