What Happens to Termites in the Winter?

Winter may mean hibernation for many animals, but termites don't take a break. Learn why you shouldn't let your guard down for termites in winter.

Termites live in practically every region in the world. These insects eat materials made from wood and can cause serious damage to structures.

Most homeowners are conscious of termite activity during the warmer seasons; however, they may not be as aware of termite activity in the winter months. Many property owners make repairs to their home and spend time landscaping and gardening during warmer weather. It is during these activities that they are most likely to come into contact with termites. During cold weather, homeowners are not as active outside, meaning they could miss signs of termites in winter months.

There are four primary species of termites: Eastern subterranean, drywood, dampwood and Formosan subterranean termites. Winter weather brings out different habits in these species.

In cold weather



So the question becomes, do termites die in the winter? The answer is no. If a homeowner is not seeing the signs of termite activity in the winter, it does not mean that the termites are dead. What happens to termites in winter depends on two factors: the species of termite and the location of the colony. The ideal temperature for all species of termite is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Individual species will respond to weather changes differently in order to stay warm.

Termites need food to survive, even in colder weather, just as humans do. Termites live in the winter, but do so deep underground in most cases. For example, subterranean termites create nests in the soil. As the weather gets colder, termites dig further into the ground, where temperatures remain warmer. In some cases, evidence of termite colonies has been found at a depth of 40 inches below ground. They will not be as easy to find, but all species of termites are still active in the winter months.

Don't let your guard down



Though signs of termites may not be as visible in the winter, there is still the possibility that you have an infestation. To survive, a termite needs three things: water, wood and warmth. In a heated home, their needs can be met. Common signs of a termite invasion include mud tubes created from the tunneling termites, damaged wood or discarded wings of the reproductive caste. Mud tubes can be found both inside and outside a structure.

Termites may be less active in colder periods, but it pays to be on the lookout for these destructive insects year-round. If you suspect you may have termites in your home, call Terminix� and schedule your free termite inspection.