Termite Distribution by State: Is Your Property at Risk?
Distribution of termites in USA
Termites in the United States by geographic region
The risk of your property being impacted by termites depends on several factors, among them which state you happen to live in, and in some cases, which part of that particular state. Relatively speaking, termite pressure in the United States is heaviest in southern states from Texas through the Carolinas, southern California, and Hawaii. Moving further north, the termite pressure tends to gradually lessen, with states along the Canadian border have some of the lowest levels of termite activity. But structures in all states, other than Alaska, are susceptible to termite damage.
What types of termites are found in each state?
In the United States, three main types of termites are known to infest structures, each requiring different types of termite treatment measures. A fourth type of termite, known as the dampwood termite, can infest homes in select parts of the country, but is not consider a particular threat.
Colony location: In ground
Average colony size: 100,000 - 1,000,000
Treatment options: liquid soil treatment; termite bait; termiticide foam;
Found in 49 of the 50 states (except Alaska), subterranean termites are by far the most widespread and commonly encountered termite in the country and are responsible for the overwhelming majority of structural termite damage. Making their colonies in the ground, subterranean termites foraging above ground in search of a cellulose-containing food source, often the wood inside home and other structures. Because subterranean termite colonies are not within the wood they are infesting, removing and replacing the impacted wood is unlikely to resolve a termite problem.
Colony location: In wood
Average colony size: Up to 5,000
Treatment options: structural tent fumigation; localized fumigation; heat treatment; wood injection; termiticide foam; wood spray; freezing; wood removal
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites live entirely within the wood they are consuming without any contact with the soil. They are also much less widely distributed, found only in a small handful of southern states from Texas through the Carolinas, southern California, and Hawaii. Property owners in other states are unlikely to encounter drywood termites except for rare instances of introduction within impacted wood members brought in from other geographies. Drywood termite colonies are also significantly smaller in size than subterranean termites, getting no larger than about 5,000 termites. As a result, damage from drywood termites typically advances at a much slower rate than with other types of termites. That said, drywood termite left unattended are able to cause significant structural damage over a period of several years.
Colony location: In ground and/or above ground in carton nests
Average colony size: 1,000,000++
Treatment options: often a combination of treatments to include liquid soil treatment, termiticide foam, and structural fumigation
Formosan termites are a particularly aggressive, especially destructive type of subterranean termite. With colonies reaching several million termites, they have the capacity to do the most amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. Complicating termite elimination efforts is the ability of formosan termites to colonize above ground in nests made of carton without the need for continual contact with the soil. Because of this, traditional liquid soil treatments as used for subterranean termites alone may not always be effective against formosan termites. On the bright side, distribution in the U.S. remains isolated to certain specific regions of only a few states...at least for now.
State by state termite guide