Termites build nests inside of homes because Formosan termites do not have to live in a subterranean environment in order to survive. Formosan termites, a species of subterranean termite, form the largest nests, also known as cartons, of any known termite species in the country. They cause the most damage of any termite species because of the sheer size of their colonies which can number in the millions.
As a distinction from other subterranean termites, Formosans can build nests both above and below ground. Above ground, nests known as cartons, which are formed from soil mixed with both chomped and undisturbed wood particles, can be found behind the interior walls of homes. They enter the home either through wood that touches the ground by forming mud tubes and traveling from the soil to the wood; or by accessing unsealed openings at joints and cracks by traveling through mud tubes gaining entry. Aerial colonies, Formosan termites with wings as opposed to the non-winged variety, are also able to gain entry through roofs and small openings near the rooftop. These destroyers converge on damp wood and wood located in places containing excessive moisture in the soil where water does not run off from the home’s foundation. They can create much destruction if they go undetected for an extended period of time.