Where Do Termites Come From?

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Termites are a common pest that feeds on cellulose. Cellulose is found in many materials, including paper, wood, and drywall. So, where do termites come from? Knowing where termites come from is important to prevent further damage to your home.

If you suddenly notice termites in your yard, likely, they have already begun to infest your home. When you first saw the tubes, you felt a sense of panic. However, after pushing your feelings aside for a moment, you started to think it through rationally. 

Continue reading to find out more about termites. 

Where Do Termites Come From?

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Termites are a part of the order Isoptera and have three types: subterranean, dry wood, and damp wood. Winged termites, or swarmers, are the reproductive form of the termite. They are produced when environmental conditions trigger them to fly from their nest and find a mate.

Swarming is a dispersal flight that allows for new colonies to be formed. Unlike killer bees, who swarm because they are trying to escape an infestation, swarmers in termites are simply looking for a place to start a new colony.

During the swarm, large numbers of flying termites will emerge from cracks in your walls and foundation. Most termites die quickly due to environmental conditions or get eaten by predators. However, a small number will find their way into your home and start a colony.

Winged, swarming termites are not harmful to humans. They’re just doing what comes naturally: trying to start new colonies during spring. Swarms can contain up to 3,000 termites and have a wingspan of up to 3 inches long.

Termites come from various places, but contact with soil is the most common way to get them. If you have an infestation, you will see swarms of termites around your house. The swarms only last for about 30 minutes, and then they will disperse.

You may see another swarm in the next few days. To avoid attracting termites to your home, turn off all exterior lights.

Even after they’re done mating, termites never really stop. They immediately begin developing new generations of termites in their new nests, and these new termites can quickly do damage to your home if you don’t address the problem.

If you ignore the damage, they’re doing behind walls, you’ll likely meet new swarmers next year.

Where Do Termites Come From?

When termites swarm, it’s important to note where they first came from. That way, you can identify the entry point for the exterminator.

When collecting specimens, it’s important to ensure you get the right ones so that the treatment is effective. Termites look very similar to other insects, so it’s crucial to identify them accurately.

Unfortunately, termites come from various places and can cause much damage if they’re not caught early. By having semi-annual termite inspections, you can avoid this problem altogether.

A pest control professional will inspect your home and identify any termite activity. They will then treat any affected areas and prevent this from happening to you.

Where do different termites come from in the house?

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live in colonies of up to two million individuals and can cause significant damage to homes and other buildings.

They get their name because they live underground, often in moist soil. They can enter a building through any wood that touches the ground, including items like porches and decks.

Subterranean termites live in colonies underground and build tunnels to forage for food. These tunnels later become exploratory tubes as the termites search for more wood to consume.

Termites emerge from the ground more frequently as they expand their territory and consume softwood. They leave damaged layers of hardwood and mud tubes along different surfaces as they travel.

Drywood Termites

Cross cut of drywood termite damaged wood

Drywood termites are a common type of termite found in the United States. They get their name because they like to live in dry, sturdy wood. Unlike other termites, they do not require moisture to survive and obtain hydration from the wood they feed on.

Drywood termites usually enter a structure through dry, exposed wood. Mud tubes are not commonly found with Drywood termites.

Drywood termites live in wood and eat through it, weakening the foundation of your home or localized parts. You can tell you have a drywood termite infestation by finding a pile of sawdust called Frass.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are a type of subterranean termite that live in moist, water-damaged wood. They are usually found in areas of the home with extensive water damage, such as leaky roofs or plumbing, and can cause significant damage to homes over time.

Swarmers (termites that have wings and are ready to start a new colony) are attracted to light in evening hours and may hang around porch lights in the evening.

Dampwood termites are a big problem for homeowners as they can enter the house undetected and create a colony in any damp wood. They will mate and begin new colonies, so it’s important to be aware of their presence and address any damage they may cause.

One way to tell if you have dampwood termites is by their fecal pellets, which they use to cover their tracks. Detecting them is difficult, but termites can cause significant damage from rotting wood.

Dampwood termites are significant pests in the United States. They silently invade homes, eating away at the wood foundation and weakening or decaying it.

In addition, these termites need excessive indoor moisture to survive- whether from leaks or general dampness in the home.

How big do termites get?

Termites are a type of insect that is found all over the world. There are more than 4000 species of termites, each with unique characteristics. However, most termites look very similar, with soft bodies and straight antennae. Termites are different from ants, which have bent antennae.

Unlike other insects, baby termites (or larvae) do not have a transitional phase from larvae to adults. They hatch from eggs looking like very small termites. Their size usually depends on the amount of food they consume and the temperature of their surroundings.

Young termites are usually white, but as they get older, they will gradually become darker.

How long does termites live?

Termites are a part of the cockroach family and have three types: workers, soldiers, and reproductives.

The termite queens can live up to ten years, while worker termites only live for one to two years. They are attracted to light at night and swarm when they find a new place to start a colony.

Though various termite treatment products are on the market, most will only last for around four years. The longevity of a product is determined by a few factors: the type of product used, how thorough it was applied, and the environment in which the termites live.

Termites are detritivores, so they need to access food and moisture constantly. If either is not readily available, the termites will die off over time.

There are three types of termites: Formosan, subterranean, and cone head. All types have long skinny bodies, six legs, two antennas, elongated heads, and pinchers for chewing.

Depending on their sex and job duties, some termites will have wings to help them fly around in the springtime and find new places to build colonies and eat old dead trees.

What causes termites?

Termites come to a home looking for food, and if they find the right conditions, they will set up shop and start infesting the area. Some areas are more prone to infestations than others due to the climate as anything else.

Termites are attracted to moisture and can be found in many different parts of the world. Areas with more moisture, like near-standing water or leaky pipes, are more likely to have termite infestations.

Additionally, certain geographic areas are more prone to termite infestations than others.

How do you get termites in your home? (Termite Infestation and Damage Control)

Mud Tubes Inspection

Termites build dirt tunnels, or mud tubes, wood components, to travel between their underground colonies and the food they eat.

These tubes look like packed strands of soil coming out of the ground. They can be found on the back patio, front porch, inside garage, and tools.

Sightings of Flying Termites

Termites can be seen as flying termites when they swarm. It is usually a sign that the colony is getting too large, and new colonies are being formed. Winged termites have identical wings in shape, size, and color.

If you see what you believe to be flying termites, look for other signs of termites, such as remnants of wings or mud tubes.

Holes in wood

Termites get their name from the Latin word “termes, ” meaning “woodworm.” Termites are very small, about the size of an ant, and they live in colonies that can number in the millions. They eat wood and other cellulose materials and can cause extensive damage over time.

Termite Droppings

Termites consume wood and leave behind fecal matter as they go. These droppings are often found near the infested wood and can be distinguished by their brown color. 

Termites can be found in various forms, but the most common is drywood termite.

Hard-to-open doors and windows

Termites are attracted to moisture and heat. They create excrement and mud as they tunnel through wood, which traps moisture and heat.

It can cause doors to become so tight-fitting that it becomes hard to open them. In extreme cases, termites can swell wood, making the door even harder to open.

Do termites live in dirt?

Termites come from eggs that are deposited by the queen and king termites. There are three types of termites- subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. 

Subterranean termites are the most common type and require moisture to survive. They live in colonies in the soil and can cause a lot of damage to homes and yards.

Formosan colonies are a subspecies of subterranean termites that use mud tubes to travel to food sources. They are found in coastal areas where there is plenty of moisture.

Do termites need water?

Termites come from all over the world. They live in warm, moist environments and need a lot of water to survive. The most moisture-loving termites are the dampwood termites. They get their water from the wood they consume.

Next in line for needing moisture are the drywood termites. They get their moisture from the air. The least moisture-loving termite is the subterranean termite which lives in soil and gets its water from there.

How do drywood termites enter the home?

Drywood termites are a common type of termite that can cause significant damage to home exteriors. They typically do home invasions through attic or foundation vents, windows, and door frames.

Some of their usual entry points are cracks around window frames, door frames, soffits, and roof sheathing. If you see a swarm of termites near your home, they are likely drywood termites, and you should take immediate action to address the infestation.


Termites come from various places, but the most common are forests, suburban developments, and woodshops. They live in colonies of millions of individuals and can cause a lot of damage to homes and other structures if they are not treated.

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the signs of termites and take precautions when dealing with wooden objects. Termites cause much damage, so it is always better to be safe than sorry.

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.