Termites destroy approximately $5 billion worth of wood structures every year in the United States and Canada, according to the National Pest Control Institute. To put that into perspective, that's larger than Federal Emergency Management Agency's estimate for the total amount of damage done to New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. Different types of termites live in different parts of the country.
A State Without Termites?
The only state in the United States that doesn't (apparently) have home damage from termites is Alaska, where the cold winters kill termite colonies off. Even this is in doubt, though, as parts of the Alaskan Panhandle, where Juneau and Ketchikan are, are adjacent to parts of British Columbia that have subterranean termites.
States With Limited Termite Exposure
In general, termites need four things to survive: moisture, cellulose to eat, protection from predators and enough warmth to get through the winter. Consequently, the farther north you go in the United States, the less likely a termite infestation will be, and the drier the climate, the less likely a termite problem will be. Dry states with cold winters, such as Montana and North Dakota, have almost no termite infestations natively but sometimes have termite problems caused by moving infested furniture.
Types of Termites by Locale
There are three broad categories of native termite in the United States, and one invasive species of termite. The three native varieties are the subterranean termite, which is found across the country, the dry wood termite, which is limited largely to the southern row of states in the United States, and damp wood and Formosan termites, which require more moisture and are common along the Gulf Coast. The Formosan termite is an invasive species from Asia.
About the Author
Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.
tree stump weathered 1. image by mdb from Fotolia.com