Termite activity levels and active termite species vary by region. Each species – dampwood, drywood, Formosan or subterranean – can be found in the particular region of the United States that offers the right balance of moisture (whether dry or damp) and temperature (above or below freezing in the winter).
- Drywood termites typically live in regions of the country that do not reach freezing temperatures during the winter.
- Subterranean termites can withstand a wider range of temperatures and are able to survive in every state except Alaska.
- Formosan termites have been reported throughout the southern United States, including in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
- Dampwood termites are primarily found in the Southwest, on the Pacific coast, and in central and southern Florida. Since dampwood termites typically do not infest building structures, they are not included in the following map.
To learn which species of termites live in your region, check out the map and article below.
Termites in the United States: What and Where?
Daniel R. Suiter, Ph. D., University of Georgia, Department of Entomology
Out of the more than 2,000 termite species worldwide, only about 50 species can be found in the United States. Of those species, as many as 20 are considered structural pests, which means they have been known to infest and eat wood in structures. Termites are found in every state in the U.S., except Alaska. Because they thrive in warm climates, termite activity is greatest in the South, Southeast, West and Southwest. The three most important groups of termites in the U.S. – in terms of damage – are subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites.
Subterranean termites, which live underground in the soil, are the most widespread and destructive group of termites in the U.S. They are most common in the South and Southeast. There are several species of subterranean termites that are of economic importance to U.S. homeowners, including:
a) The Eastern Subterranean Termite: This species is the dominant termite species in the Eastern half of the country, and is the most economically important termite in the U.S.
b) The Dark Southeastern Subterranean Termite: Related to the Eastern Subterranean Termite, this species is found principally in the Eastern and Southeastern parts of the country.
c) The Light Southeastern Subterranean Termite: This species is similar in distribution and importance to the Dark Southeastern Subterranean Termite.
d) The Formosan Subterranean Termite: Native to China, this is the most destructive termite species in the U.S. The Formosan termite is found occasionally in most Southeastern states and southern California, and is the only species of subterranean termite found in Hawaii.
e) The Western Subterranean Termite: While this termite species is the most abundant subterranean termite species in the West, it can also be found as far east as Idaho and Nevada.
f) The Arid Land Subterranean Termite: Found primarily in arid regions (prairies) of the Rocky Mountain states, the Arid Land Subterranean Termite is the most common subterranean termite in Arizona.
g) The Desert Subterranean Termite: This species is a major structural pest in areas where it exists, mainly in southern Arizona and parts of California.
Drywood termites can live in dry, sturdy wood and are found along the East Coast from the Mid-Atlantic states to South Florida, along the Gulf Coast, through the Southwest into California, and in Hawaii. These termites infest wood products, such as furniture, picture frames and the woodwork of buildings. The drywood termite species that are most detrimental to homeowners include:
a) The Southeastern Drywood Termite: This species is the most common drywood termite species in the South and Southeast.
b) The West Indian Drywood Termite: Also common in the South and Southeast, this species is reportedly the only drywood termite species found in Hawaii.
c) The Western Drywood Termite: Found in the Western and Southwestern U.S., it is also found sporadically in the Southeast.
d) The Desert Drywood Termite: This drywood termite species is found mainly in Arizona and parts of southern California.
Dampwood termites live in moist and decaying wood, so this type of termite is less likely than drywood and subterranean termites to infest a home. Structure-infesting dampwood termites are most common in the Pacific Coast states, beginning in northern California and continuing north.