If you think your home is safe from termites because you work hard at keeping your home free of water leaks and dampness, you should know that your home could still be at risk. There are actually three main classes of termites. One is the type attracted to damp, rotting wood, another is attracted to dry wood, and the third type, which is the most common, is the subterranean termite that needs to maintain contact with soil. Knowing the difference between these types of termites will help you and your termite control professional keep them under control so they won't destroy your home. Here are a few things you should know.

Dampwood Termites

You probably won't encounter these termites in your home unless you have a chronic water leak that keeps the wood in your home damp for a long period of time. These termites live in damp wood, and because they require a high level of moisture, they won't infest a home unless water leaking is present. Therefore, one of the most important things you can do to protect your home from these pests is to check your plumbing connections regularly to make sure there are no drips you aren't aware of under the sink or behind the washer.

Drywood Termites

These termites don't need much moisture. They can live in any of the wood structures of your home, including hardwood floors. If you are unaware you have drywood termites, they can do a lot of damage to your house unseen. However, their colonies tend to be fairly small, so it takes a long time for them to do significant damage. Also, these termites aren't as common as the subterranean variety. Still, you want to be alert for signs of them that include the droppings and wings they leave behind. You may even see swarms of them gather around lights like your television or computer screen at night.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite. They form huge colonies, so they can be quite destructive in a short amount of time if they infest your house. These termites need to maintain contact with the moisture in the soil, so when they move about, they build mud tunnels. The good thing about the tunnels is that it makes a termite infestation easy to spot. If you have subterranean termites, you'll probably see these mud tunnels leading from the soil, crossing the concrete foundation, and then connecting to the wood structure of your home. The termites will travel back and forth through the tunnels, and some of them will create nests in your home.

You can often tell where the termites are working by the appearance of what looks like sawdust on the floor. The small particles of wood accumulate as the termites dig out room for a nest inside the wood. You definitely want to stay alert to signs of a termite infestation, but if you want to ensure your home is protected, it's best to keep termites out in the first place. The best way to do that is by hiring a professional termite control service. They will apply a chemical barrier around your home that keeps the pests outside. They will also help you monitor for the presence of termites in your home and on your property so the pests won't take you by surprise.