Types of Termites

Subterranean termites live in colonies in the soil. They require moisture from the soil to survive, and can tunnel hundreds of feet to reach feeding sites. To reach food above ground, they build mud tubes to protect them from exposure to light, air and enemies.

Found coast to coast throughout the southern regions of the U.S., Drywood termites live inside dry wood. Their colonies can be dispersed within your home and can spread, infesting more than one area.

Formosan termites are a more aggressive species of Subterranean termites that can establish secondary nests above ground.

Identify termite risk areas

Run-off moisture, drainage
Condensation under home

Wood house framing, debris in crawl space
Landscape timbers, mulch, stumps

Controlled home temperatures create favorable conditions for termites year-round

Access: Tiny cracks throughout your home
Concrete slabs or basement foundations
Around utility pipes
Veneers: stucco, brick, wood

Termite Inspection Resources

Quick Inspection Guide

What do I need?
Flat bladed screwdriver

What are the signs of termites?
Shed termite wings and dead swarmer termites
Termite mud tubes
Termite damage

Where do I look for damage?
Window sills are a good place to look for termite wings.
Wings and dead swarmers often fall into spider webs.
Mud tubes are evidence of an active termite infestation.
Termites can damage softwood and hardwood lumber products, paneling, siding, books, cardboard, wallpaper and paper covering on drywall.
The most commonly infested areas are exterior walls, near cracked foundations, sill plates and joists, walls next to garages and areas near porches. Also places where moisture builds up such as plumbing leaks and leaky roofs.

How do I find the termites?
Tap exposed wood by firmly hitting parallel to the grain with a screwdriver.
If the wood has been damaged, the blade of the screwdriver will penetrate into the wood.
Tapping the wood by hitting with the blunt end of the screwdriver will help you hear hollow or dull sounds indicating possible hidden termite damage.

What do I do if I find live termites?
Use a tweezers to carefully pick up several of the insects.
Place them in a small container and close the cover tightly.
Bring the sample to the Termite Workshop or your local county extension office for identification.


Look for wood-soil contact areas.
Be especially wary of foundation walls that are of hollow-block construction. Termites frequently enter wood through the voids in the blocks and are very hard to detect.
Check each room inside for damage, decay and excessive moisture.
Look at baseboards and around door/window frames.
Look for termite-damaged wood and/or water stains.
Check all walls, ceilings and floors.
Look for cracks in the baseboard (could indicate excessive moisture and/or feeding damage).
Look for raised paint or wallpaper (termites can eat paper and leave paint behind).
Look for ripples in paneling and wallboard (caused by moisture/termites).
Look for drywall ripples or tiny holes in surface of drywall or wall paper (termites seal holes with mud after emerging through the paper).
Probe wall plates (board at bottom of walls) with a screwdriver.
Pry back the baseboards and window/door trim boards if possible, especially if you suspect termites and/or moisture problems.
Probe sill plates and joists with the grain of the wood using a screwdriver every foot or so.
Check for structural sagging, buckling, or settling.
• Check for improper ventilation in crawlspaces and correct if necessary.
Note plumbing and utility fixture entrances and passages through the basement floor and the foundation.
Look around showers and tubs.
Be sure to check closets as well.
Walls constructed of stone, concrete, cinder blocks, hollow tile, or brick may develop cracks through which termites can pass to sills and other wood members; carefully inspect such walls.
Check plumbing for leaks/condensation.
Spend extra time inspecting areas around porches.
Earth-filled porches and steps account for more cases of termite attack than any other building feature.
Check all perimeter walls carefully. Check wood paneling and other wall finishings on basement walls, wood partition walls and other wood construction in the basement that extends from masonry to the sills or joists.
Look for moisture problems—proper grading, down spouts, poor drainage.
Check sheathing of eaves, chimneys, and vents.
Record the outside dimensions of the house. Compare outside dimension of house with inside measurements to determine if there are any hidden areas that may provide access to your home for termites.


Termites are constantly foraging, just because you didn’t find termites last year doesn’t mean that you won’t find them this year.
Lots of things can help to make it easier to inspect for termites or provide a sign they are present: use of termite shields, establishing 6-8-inch gaps between soil and wood parts of the house, and eliminating vegetation near the exterior foundation (more on this in Chapter 4).
The average home takes two hours to completely inspect.
Inspect your home at least once a year.
Even if an infestation is found, the inspection should be complete and thorough to ensure all points of entry and damage have been found.
A light infestation may escape detection even with careful inspection.
Termite workers attempt to remain concealed.

by University of Nebraska, Department of Entomology

©2010-2013 TermiteInspection.Com™