Are Termites Active in the Winter?

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While some pests are just an annoyance, others are hazardous to your health, and some are actually damaging to your home and personal belongings. None of these pests are pleasant to have inside your home when they are annoying, making you sick, and wrecking your home. Thankfully many pests are seasonal, and come and go with the changing seasons, or hang around but hibernate. Not-so-thankfully some pests are frustratingly hearty and resourceful, and have the ability to infest homes throughout the entire year.

One pest that stands above all others in terms of destruction, is the termite. Termites are the ultimate wood destroyer But are termites seasonal? Unfortunately, no. Termites can remain active all year inside your home, unseen and silently eating away at the wood that makes up much of your house. Of course, some termites will die off in the right conditions, but most are usually able to burrow deep enough to survive, and those that happen to live in the warm space of your home are active throughout the year.

What happens to termites in the winter?

Like all cold-blooded creatures, termite activity is strongly influenced by temperature. Studies have shown that subterranean termites will not forage in areas where upper level soil temperatures are either too hot or too cold. It turns out that the optimal temperatures for termites range from 75°F to 95°F. 

Through their movements, termites are able to avoid such extremes and exploit areas where temperatures are more suitable. During the year, for example, the center of colony activity may shift from the outer to inner portion of a log, or from the soil surface to areas deep underground where temperatures are more moderate.

In colder climates, like here in the northeastern United States, subterranean termites retreat from the soil surface. In late fall termites move deeper into the ground where temperatures are more moderate--with depths reaching greater than 40 inches during winter! Termites retreat so deeply come winter so that their colonies are able to go into an inactive state in the winter. Subterranean termites can remain active year-round in centrally heated buildings. 

What are the Signs I Have Termites in My Home During the Winter? 

Since termites spend most of their time eating covered wood inside your walls, you will rarely see them out and about running across the floor. Additionally, in the winter months you are less likely to spot outside “swarmers”. However, there are a few reliable signs that point to a winter termite infestation: 

  • Damage- Discolored/drooping drywall, buckling floorboards, paint peeling that appears similar to water damage, or simply damaged wood are all good indicators that termites are using your home as a warm space to spend the winter.

  • Leftover Mess- Mounds of termite pellets-which are black and white- are one telltale signifier of termites. Tiny holes in drywall and piles of wings (sometimes described as looking like fish scales) act as a distinctive red flag of termite presence.

  • Windows or doors often getting stuck, loose floor tiles, gnaw patterns in wood furniture, and unusually creaky floorboards are common indicators of termites residing in- and causing damage to- your home.

It can take weeks, or even months, to notice any termite activity--at that point significant structural damage may already be done. Termites could have hollowed out a structural beam without your knowledge until suddenly the beam has collapsed, floors are sagging, walls are buckling, and ceilings are warping. This can be a major nightmare for a homeowner, especially considering the usually high-cost of repairing this sort of damage. 

How Can I Get Rid of Termites? 

The best way to get rid of termites, or prevent them in the first place, is to call Thomas Pest Services. You can take some preventative measures on your own by eliminating damaged, wet, moist, or damp wood from your home, and using only stained or painted new boards. Taking Still, it ultimately takes a professional service to completely eradicate an entire termite infestation, and to ensure the protection of your property. If you want to prevent an infestation of termites, or you have seen signs of them in your home, and need termite control solutions contact us! It’s important to protect your home year-round from termite damages because there is no “termite season”, and here at Thomas Pest we have the experience and the chops to protect and, if needed, eliminate any winter termite problem you are experiencing!

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