Termites typically live in the soil near a food and water source, such as rotting lumber. Some termites do not require a damp environment to survive.
Subterranean termites live underground, and may live in large mounds in tropical regions of the world. The subterranean termite is one of the most common in the United States, as it can be found in all 48 contiguous states in the country.
Drywood termites are most commonly found in the southern United States from North Carolina to California. Drywood termites infest sound wood, as the insect does not need as much moisture as other species to survive. In the United States, dampwood termites are typically found in coastal regions, and the insects infest decayed trees or other rotted wood. Dampwood termites can live in wooden home foundations if water exposure causes rotting wood to develop.
If the termite colony is well-established, the insects can live in wooden structures, rather than underground. Typically, the presence of termites in structures indicates the need to make repairs in order to control humidity levels. In homes, termites typically live in rotted lumber and in areas around joints, such as the area where the porch meets the home, as these areas provide adequate moisture.