Where Do Subterranean Termites Live? {How To Locate Their Nest}

If you have termite damage, then chances are that this damage was caused by Subterranean termites.

They are the most destructive of termite species. So, where do Subterranean termites live?

Do they live in the ground? In your house? In your garden?

Where Do Subterranean Termites Live?

Most subterranean termites live underground. Their colonies can be as many as 2 million strong!

However, they don’t have to live underground. They are more than happy to live above ground, as long as the area is fairly well secluded and damp. They should also have access to a food source.

Where Do Subterranean Termites Live

Do Subterranean Termites Live In The Ground?

Yes. Subterranean termites can live underground.

A termite nest can often appear as a large mound, however, the bulk of the system will be underground.

The termite nest system will often be filled with a complex system of tunnels and rooms. There can be millions of termites living in the same system.

As we mentioned before, not all subterranean termites live underground. While it is often the most preferred place to live, these pests can quite easily live above ground too.

The area will likely need to meet the following criteria, however:

  • The area is damp (to cater to the termite’s water needs)
  • There needs to be a food source nearby.
  • The area is secluded i.e. they aren’t going to get interrupted.

You have to remember that most termite species in the US do not create mounds. This means that seeing a termite mound is not really a sign that you can look out for.

Most termite nests will have a rather simple tunnel entrance, and this is something that can be quite tough to spot.

How Deep Do Subterranean Termites Live?

In theory, subterranean termites can live pretty much anywhere that they want. While the name does imply that they live underground, this is not always necessary. If they do burrow, they tend to only go as deep as they need to.

In most cases, a subterranean termite nest, when it is underground, will be about 20 feet. However, as the colony expands, it may get even deeper than this.

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There is also a chance that there will be parts of the nest that are much closer to the surface.

When a subterranean termite nest gets started, chances are that the bulk of the nest will be closer to the surface. However, over time, they will start to burrow deeper and deeper.

This is to ensure that they have constant access to food and water sources.

Why Do Subterranean Termites Live In The Ground?

For starters, subterranean termites need access to soil. They cannot live without it. The easiest way to get access to soil is to burrow underground.

Subterranean termites do not do well when they come into contact with the open-air either. While they can deal with the open air for short periods of time, it isn’t ideal.

This is why, when you see them build a nest above ground, they tend to ensure that the nest is well hidden, perhaps in a tree trunk or around secluded rocks.

Termites often find it a lot easier to reach their food sources when they live underground too. They are able to create a network of tubes that can lead them to wherever they need to be in order to get access to the food that they need.

Keeping the tunnels underground means that the termites are properly protected wherever they need to be.

Finally, soil underground tends to be quite damp, even when it is dry on the surface of the ground. Termites, of course, need access to water.

How Do Subterranean Termites Get Into Homes?

So, if subterranean termites live underground, how do they get into homes?

Well, as you can imagine, there isn’t really a whole lot of food underground. Subterranean termites absolutely love to munch on wood. This is how they cause so much damage to property. They need to go out and search for it.

Subterranean termites are tiny, and they absolutely love to burrow. They can squeeze into even the smallest of gaps in your home.

In some cases, they may even tunnel under your home and pop up in the middle of it. In other cases, you may find that the termites have managed to gain entry to your property via your air vents.

Honestly, if there is a way for a small insect to squeeze into your property, then you can be pretty sure that the subterranean termite is going to do its absolute best to get inside.

If you notice that you have subterranean termites in your home, then you need to work out how they are getting in.

The longer you leave it, the more chance there is of the termites infesting your home, and you will be ‘enjoying’ untold amounts of property damage, which is never a good thing.

Jason Barrett

Hello, I'm Jason. I have 11 years of experience in dealing with pests. I try to provide you the best information that'll help you to make the pest control process easy & affordable