We’ve all heard the term “know thy enemy”, and this is extremely good advice when dealing with infestations of any kind. Few pests do quite as much silent damage to a home as this tiny terror. The termite will quite literally eat you out of house and home. They survive by digesting the wooden components of your home.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, they will also make a meal out of your wallpaper and certain plastics that get in their way. By the time that you actually notice signs of an infestation, it may have already progressed to a huge and damaging problem

Termites don’t have to be a death knell for your home. It’s a good idea to check your basement and outside foundation for signs that these little guys have been at work. Look for strange paths in the form of tiny mud tubes along the wooden beams in your basement. They can also be seen in crawlspaces, and leading to portions of your home’s exterior. Another telltale sign is the dreaded “swarmers”. These are huge groups of flying termites that will congregate in your windows, and near light sources in your home. They are looking to mate and to create new colonies, and they will eventually leave their wings in nasty little piles throughout your home.

Swarmers are a sign of a more advanced infestation, and they definitely warrant an immediate call to a professional. Finding someone with top of the line termite detection devices can help you to evaluate just how large the colony is. This can also help you to plan for damage control, as certain areas in your home may need replaced. Not every type of termite is a danger to your home. It’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re dealing with before you get too worried.

1. Dampwood Termites

This classification is fairly self-explanatory. Dampwood termites can only survive in wood with an extremely high level of moisture. This makes them an unlikely presence in your home. Most homes are dry enough to repel these insects, and they typically live in decaying wood. This can be anything from fallen logs to neglected outbuildings.

In states that are extremely humid or bordered by water, the dampwood termites have been known to invade some homes. This isn’t extremely common, but it can be damaging if not caught in its early stages.

2. Drywood Termites

These termites don’t require a great deal of moisture, and they don’t need to be in contact with the ground to thrive. Drywood termites can infest extremely dry areas of a home in locations that are far from the ground. They enjoy making their homes in attics and sometimes under the eaves of homes.

One of their most telling features is what they leave behind. Their droppings have a distinct six sided shape, and are incredibly dry. Their bodies will leach all of the water out of their food, leaving behind piles of these dry pellets. Drywood termites aren’t common in most states, and are only a real problem in dry Southern and Western areas.

3. Subterranean Termites

These are the most common source of infestation in America. Subterranean termites require contact with soil in order to travel and obtain moisture. These termites are present in nearly every state, and have no issue infesting your home. They will use the mud to build small tunnels along the ground that will give them access to any exposed wood in and around your home. They will build these tunnels throughout a basement, and move further into the wooden structures inside a building. These guys are bad news, and require professional intervention.