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Are Termites Active In Winter

Are Termites Active In Winter

Written by J Brocas

November 30, 2020

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Animals tend to hibernate during winter. Termites are an exception because they remain active in winter. Homeowners normally see a lot of termites during the warm season. They tend to be less wary during winter because termites can barely be seen during this period.

Warmth for Survival

are termites active in winter

Warmth is important for survival. Mosquitoes find it hard to survive in temperatures that are less than 50 degrees. The same goes for wasps when temperatures reach less than 45 degrees. Rodents don’t hibernate and seek warmth to survive aside from food and water. The same goes for pests like termites.

Queen termites lay eggs continuously. The number depends on their age and on the species. Egg production is less likely to be affected when the nest is in heated buildings or in soil that is near heated basements. However, egg production can be halted for termites that live in temperate regions.

During winter, damp wood and dry wood termites can create nests in tree stumps. Subterranean termites normally go deeper into the ground. Tunnels and food sources that are near the surface and exposed to the cold can be abandoned.

Dry wood and subterranean termites, which we get in North Carolina, especially in the Aheville area – can take refuge inside your home to survive the harsh temperatures outdoors. Most termite species remain active but it is rare to find a swarm of termites from December to January. This may not be the case if you live in a tropical region where the temperature inside your home is 70 degrees or more. However, here in Asheville it is very very rare, but does not mean that you can’t have termite problems.

Possible Termite Infestation

Termite infestations can still occur especially when you live in a heated home. Termites thrive on three W’s: water, wood, and warmth.

Termites don’t die during winter. Termites often appear during mating season. Not seeing them isn’t a guarantee that they are under control. They stay underground most of the time so you don’t see them as often as you thought you would.

Termite species in general thrive in temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.89 °C). The location of the colony and the termite species will affect how active termites are during winter. Species like the subterranean termites seek shelter in the soil by creating nests. This is why some colonies can be found 40 inches (1.02 m) deep into the ground.

Bringing firewood inside your home during winter may be common. But doing so can cause problems especially when you store it on the ground. Firewood can easily attract insects and termites if you leave it indoors for long.

This was a picture I took just for fun. One of those “that would look cool”-moments. I only realised the contrast between the new, fresh, ready-to-burn wood and the spent ashes of a campfire, like the wood was ready to meet its maker. Kinda sad actually.
Photographer: Niklas Tidbury | Source: Unsplash

Termites feed on wood, and they cause structural damage if left untreated. They aren’t easy to find so you shouldn’t let your guard down when you don’t see them. If you observe mud tubes and wood damage in your home, your home might be at risk of termite infestation.

Checking for Termites in Winter

Termites live in dark spaces, well hidden under wooden structures. You can find traces of termites if you inspect crawl spaces and attics. Remember that these places aren’t the only areas with active termite colonies. Still, they will be a great place where you can start.

Inspect wooden surfaces to find channels or grooves. Check for tiny holes in the wooden structures. The holes don’t serve as pathways for termites. They can be used as signs to check for debris or frass pushed out of termites’ tunnels.

Are Termites Active In Winter 1
Termite tube and Frass

Frass refers to the excrement of termites that has a saw-dust texture. Termites keep their tunnels tidy most of the time. The termites’ frass will be your clues to a possible active termite colony in your home.

Inspect your foundation walls to see if there are mud tubes inside and outside. The tubes made of mud are as wide as a pencil. Termites use these mud tubes as tunnels to protect them from the sun and the open air.

Knocking on wooden structures to check for a hollow sound will let you know that there are tunnels inside the wood. If termites are active inside a wooden structure, you can hear them as you put your ear right next to it. Crawling termites can sometimes be heard especially when they feed on the interior part of a wood.

Regular Termite Inspection

Termites can still live closer to the surface during a mild winter. A termite infestation that doesn’t get resolved immediately will result in structural damage. The severity of wood damage caused by termites gets worse with time. The cost of the repairs will be huge as compared to the cost for a regular termite inspection.

A termite inspection should be done regularly as a preventive measure. This is to ensure that you keep termites at bay not just during winter but throughout the year. You need to consult termite inspectors to inspect your home for any infestation and deliver effective termite-proof solutions.

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