4 Types Of Termites In Arizona And How To Identify Them?

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Termites may look similar to the untrained eye. However, you can still look for the signs to differentiate them, and in this guide, you will find the distinction between 4 types of termites in Arizona. Termites cause billions of dollars of damage each year, so it’s best to be prepared!

There are four kinds of termites in Arizona: the subterranean termite, The dampwood termite, the drywood termite, and the Formosan subterranean termite.

It’s important to address any potential termite issues as soon as they’ve been discovered—the longer you wait, the more damage they can do.

What is the diet of the termites?

Termites get their food from wood and other cellulose-containing materials. Termites cannot digest cellulose directly and must rely on single-celled protozoans and bacteria living in their hindguts to do so.

The cellulose that has been digested is then shared with the developing larvae, other workers, soldiers, and reproductives.

4 Types of Termites in Arizona And How to Identify Them?

what do termites look like in arizona and How to identify them?

Arizona has four termites:

  • Arid subterranean Termites
  • Desert subterranean Termites
  • Drywood Termites
  • Dampwood Termites

Each type of termite has different characteristics that will help you identify them.

For example, the dry wood termite lives in dry conditions and can be found in wooden furniture or structures. The dampwood termite prefers wet environments and can be found in tree stumps or logs.

Subterranean termites are a major pest in Arizona. They build their colonies below ground and forage through the soil for food sources.

They will construct tubes to keep them hydrated until they can return to their colony to replenish moisture and feed other colonists. There are two kinds of subterranean termites:

Arid Land Subterranean Termites

Arid land subterranean termites are found throughout Arizona. They live in areas with little to no moisture, so they attack moist, decaying wood.

The color of these termites ranges from dark brown to black. They have a veiny wing and can be distinguished from other types of termites by their straight antennae.

These pests live in colonies in the soil and can cause significant damage to homes and other structures. You need to identify them so that you can take steps to protect your property.

Desert subterranean termites

Desert subterranean termites are the most common type of termite in Arizona. They grow to be about 3/8″ long and have nearly colorless wings. They are typically identified by their mud tubes, which they use to travel above ground.

They are identified by their pale coloring and indistinct head fontanelle. The fontanelle is a soft spot on a newborn’s head that hardens as it matures. If this spot is not present, it may be difficult to identify this particular termite species.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are found in Arizona. They are not a widespread problem but can cause damage under certain conditions.

They typically infest wood at or slightly below ground level and attack the moist wood of living trees and shrubs. They get their name from the damp, rotting wood they prefer to eat. 

Dark Western Drywood Termites

Dark Western Drywood Termites are a common destructive termite in Arizona. They are often mistaken for the Eastern Subterranean Termite, but there are a few key ways to tell them apart.

Dark Western Drywood Termites swarm in the springtime and can cause significant damage to homes and other buildings.

Moreover, dark western drywood termites often infest wood products such as furniture and building components. 

Damp wood termites i=destructing the wood

Light western drywood termites are a variety of drywood termites that can be found in Arizona. They are distinguishable from other drywood termites because they are light in color. This variety can tolerate drier conditions than can the dark western drywood termite.

What Factors Attract Termites?

Many conditions can attract termites. These include moisture, firewood, trees, and damage. If you want to avoid an infestation, it is important to be aware of these factors and take steps to prevent them.

Another factor that can attract termites is an imbalance in the soil. If there is too much clay and not enough organic matter, it creates a perfect environment for termites to thrive.

Leaks and damage from water or pests can create an inviting environment for termites. If you notice any leaks, have them fixed as soon as possible.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

They are a common pest in Arizona and can cause a lot of damage to homes if left untreated. Four types of termites are found in the state, and they each have their own unique signs of infestation.

If you find any unusual termite infestation, there are several methods for detecting and managing them. Damaged wood, bubbling paint, mounds of soil near the home, and flying insects.

Swarming is often the first sign of an infestation, and it can be difficult to detect as the swarmers may only be present for a short time. Once termites are detected, it may be too late for repairs or treatment as the colony has likely already been established.

Infestations can go undetected for some time, so it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Several signs signal the presence of a termite infestation in a home or building. These signs can include:

  • A foul odor
  • Visible evidence of entry into and damage to building materials
  • Changes in property values


Termites make various noises, but the most common one is when they bang their heads. This noise is used for communication and to attract mates. Termites are often heard during the day, but they can also be heard at night. 

Arizona’s four types of termites create different noises based on their activity.

  • Drywood termites make a tapping noise as they bore into the wood.
  • Subterranean termites whistle or chirp when they are foraging for food.

 If you’re not sure what kind of termite you have, it’s best to consult an exterminator who can identify them for you.


They are one of the most common signs of termite activity. They vary in color depending on the termite, but they will always be smaller than a grain of rice. 

The droppings of a termite are one of the easiest ways to identify an infestation. Mounds of frass (a combination of feces and powdery soil) will be identifiable by collections of dark powder and small black markings. 

Termite activity in your home

Termites generally live in colonies. These are known for their habit of building tunnels and mounds in the soil.

Each type of termite has its own unique characteristics and can be identified by looking at its physical features or behavioral habits. It is important for homeowners to be able to identify these termites so they can take the necessary precautions to protect their homes.

Damaged house due to termite infestation

Can I get rid of termites myself?

If you see termites, such as those that swarm at certain times of the year, you may be able to get rid of them by spraying. The issue is that for every termite you see, there could be thousands more that you don’t see.

Every year, a mature termite queen can lay thousands of eggs, and some termite colonies can contain up to a million termites. DIY termite control rarely eliminates a termite infestation permanently. Other do-it-yourself options include orange oil and cardboard traps.

Over-the-counter pesticides and poisons may be brought back to the nest and kill some colony members, but they will not kill termites at all stages of their life cycle, including eggs and larvae. So, how to get rid of termites in Arizona?


Baiting generally uses a liquid or solid bait that is placed in an area where termites are known to live or have been found. When the termites eat the bait, they spread it to other termites, eventually leading to the extermination of the colony.

Trapping uses either a physical or chemical barrier to prevent termites from passing. If termites attempt to cross the barrier, they will die.

Monitoring is the most passive eradication method; it involves setting up monitors near termite activity and checking them regularly for signs of termites. If termites are detected, appropriate action can be taken to eradicate them.

Adult and baby termites eating the wood


To sum up the guide, there are four types of termites in Arizona, and each one can be identified by its physical features.

There are measures that can be taken to prevent termite damage, such as sealing crevices in the foundation of your home and placing barrier products around the perimeter.

Barrier products work by creating a repellant line that termites cannot cross. If you ought to have a termite problem, it can be eliminated using a multi-pronged approach, including baiting, trapping, and monitoring.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.