Termites in Winter: Active, Dormant, or Do They Die

Termites in Winter: Active, Dormant, or Do They Die?

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Termites are a common household pest that feasts on cellulose in wood found in homes all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica. It is easy to see why these pests wouldn’t survive the colder climate of Antarctica but it may leave you wondering if they survive normal winters.

If you’ve wondered whether or not winter climates will stop termites, we have provided a guide that contains useful facts. Some insects may not survive colder temperatures, so it’s best to know if termites will no longer pose a problem as the seasons change.

If you suspect an infestation, read through the information provided and contact a pest control specialist. As with any pest, it is always better to be safe than sorry so that you can take control of the situation.

What Are Termites?

If you live in a region that has a warm climate, then you have probably heard of termites before. Termites are insects that invade your home using tunnels burrowed underneath the soil. They colonize areas and feast for years as they forage and defend against other insects.

Termites are social creatures that work together to build tunnels, feed each other and defend the colony. They thrive by eating cellulose in wood. Foraging worker termites feed on the wood and store it in their gut to later feed other termites in the nest.

Termite infestations occur in many cases without any visible signs of damage. You may not notice the infestation because these insects are subterranean in nature. Because of this, once the termite king and queen begin creating their colony, they can live underground for the remainder of their lives.

Where Do Termites Live?

Termites tend to live in warmer climates and are found in most of the United States with the exception of Alaska. They will burrow underneath the soil and create mud tubes of which they use to defend their colony and feed their young.

Termites are common in the southern and western United States. As the temperature increases, so does the likelihood of an infestation of these resilient insects.

With climate change on the horizon, many have speculated that the termite will migrate to other areas not previously affected by infestations. Termites can die off in temperatures below 48 degrees F, but they are more likely to burrow deeper under the soil’s surface.

Can Termites Survive Winter?

The short answer to this question is yes, termites can survive winter temperatures. They may burrow deeper under the surface, but will thrive if the tunnels have moisture.

Termites prefer an environment that is warm, dark, and full of moisture. Through termite tubes, these insects tunnel in and invade your property. In the winter, termites are not dormant but do experience a decrease in activity.

Need to hire an exterminator? Get a free estimate online from top local home service pros in your area.

In colder months, a well-established termite colony that can maintain a moist connection to the soil will see no decrease in activity. Termites are less likely to colonize your home in winter months. However, already established colonies will continue to remain active all throughout the year.

It is important to remain vigilant throughout the year. Termite infestations can still damage your home while you remain completely unaware.

What to Look For In Your Home

Even in the winter time, it’s best to be aware of the signs of termite infestation. Save your home from costly damage and repairs by learning the signs before it becomes a problem. Take the following steps to learn more about identifying an infestation and getting the help you need to eradicate the problem.

  • Swarms – Look for winged termites swarming the property. This is an indicator of infestation.
  • Capture a Sample – Buy a small jar or container and put rubbing alcohol inside. Capture a sample of the insect in order to have it analyzed by an exterminator.
  • Look for Mud Tubes – Mud tubes are moist tunnels that worker termites use to forage, defend and feed the colony. Look inside these tubes to determine if worker termites are present.
  • Inspect Water Damaged Areas – Damage caused by termites is similar in appearance to areas affected by water damage.

If a termite infestation is suspected, it is best to seek the help of a qualified professional. Your home can be termite-free with the experience that hiring an exterminator provides.

There are many DIY treatments on the market today but they cannot replace the advice that a professional can give you. Termites are resilient insects that cooperate with one another to forage on the foundation of your home.

Being able to first recognize the signs of an infestation is the key to eradicating it and preventing future infestations. You are your home’s first defense against these unwanted invaders. If you live further south in the United States, your likelihood of being infested by termites is increased.

Termites Are Year-Round Workers

If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter months, it is common to think that termites may die off or lay dormant. In some cases, this can be true. In colder climates, these pests are known for lessening their activity levels.

Termites are not likely to swarm in the winter months as they prefer the spring and fall months for colonization. You may think that you are safe from infestation from termites because of the cold temperatures. Nonetheless, it is always best to remain vigilant.

As the temperature outside drops, termites have a tendency to burrow further beneath the soil’s surface. Termites do this so they can maintain a warm body temperature.

Need to hire an exterminator? Get a free estimate online from top local home service pros in your area.

Termites are year-round workers and can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home. You should act fast in the event that you suspect a termite infestation. Utilizing the help of a qualified exterminator early on will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Not only will an exterminator be able to eradicate a termite infestation, but they will also be able to provide sound advice in dealing with future problems. Termites may not bite you, but they will take a large bite out of your bank account if you don’t work to protect your property.

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Ants in the House in Winter

Why Do Ants Come Indoors?

Ants often move inside looking for better conditions, food, moisture, shelter, favorable temperatures and permanent residence. Ant activity indoors generally may actually decrease in winter, but observing ants swarmers or foragers during the cold weather months may indicate that an ant colony exists somewhere inside the home.

In this scenario, ants are usually located somewhere in an inner house wall, in door and window frames, or in hidden places.

These hiding places can include under, around or in or the home’s slab, floors, cabinets, appliances or accumulation of debris that serves as preferred and well-protected nesting habitats.

Escaping cold weather is not the only reason ants get inside the home in the winter.

Ants are omnivores and may be attracted to the interior of a home by substances that are edible and provide a good energy source.

What attracts ants?

  • Crumbs on floors & countertops
  • Food in pet food dishes
  • Food debris in cracks in the kitchen & appliances
  • Food debris in family rooms

So, keep things clean since ants will not survive or may go elsewhere if they have no food to provide life-sustaining energy.

Plans for Ant Control

Should ants become established indoors, whether in the warm or cool months of the year, it is usually very difficult to get control over them. Therefore, it may be advisable to contact your pest management professional (PMP) just as soon as you observe ant swarmers or ants foraging for food and let them conduct an inspection and prepare a science-based ant management plan that is tailored to your situation.

One other good reason to seek the expertise and help of your pest control company is the swarm you see may not be ants, but could be termites instead.

The pest management plan will include recommendations for sanitation, exclusion and reduction of potential ant habitat. Exclusion is one of the most important practices to deal with ants inside because if ants can’t get in they obviously will not become a problem.

However, excluding all ant methods of ingress into a home is a very exacting practice and just one more reason to employ the expertise of your pest management professional.

So, don’t be misled into thinking that killing the ants you see will resolve the ant problem in your home. In a scenario involving an established ant colony, you likely are seeing only a small portion of the colony’s foragers, so controlling only those you see will not provide much more than a temporary solution at best.

Common Ant Species That Like to Come Indoors

While the possibility exists for numerous and various ant species to invade the home during winter, the more likely species move inside from the outdoors are Acrobat ants, Argentine ants, Carpenter ants, Crazy ants, Dark rover ants, Ghost ants,Odorous ants, Pharaoh ants and White-footed ants. Read more about ants here.

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Important Facts About Termites In Winter

If you currently suspect a termite infestation in your home and are hoping that property damages will slow down on their own once the temperatures start to drop, there are several important facts that you should know about termites in winter.

These insects feed constantly. Their eating habits do not vary significantly throughout the year, and the property destruction that they cause is not slowed by significant temperature drops. Thus, it is important to seek immediate treatment for termite problems, rather than waiting for the climate to make termite activity abate.

With termites, waiting usually means you’ll end up paying more money for treatment.

How Winter Affects Termites

Many homeowners are under the mistaken assumption that termites go dormant during the winter months. This is largely due to the fact that it is often difficult to spot the activities of subterranean termites in the soil once the temperatures grow exceedingly cold.

Rather than being dormant, however, subterranean termites have simply burrowed deeper into the soils. Like all termites, these bugs have very specific requirements for moisture. Burrowing deeper ensures that these requirements are met while still affording ample access to the wood and wood structures that these bugs like to feed on.

Drywood And Damp Wood Termites

Drywood and damp wood termites are usually found higher up on the home, whereas subterranean termites attack building structures closer to their foundation. When the temperatures grow cold, these insects will continue to forage, however, they will usually forage a lot closer to their nests. This can in turn keep damages in a slightly more concentrated area, but it will not limit the amount that is ultimately consumed.

It is important for homeowners to note that there is no specific termite season. There is, however, a time of year when these insects and their activities are most visible. This typically runs from March through December. During these months, homeowners are more likely to see signs like:

  • Termite feces
  • Wings that have been discarded
  • Termite swarms

Treating Termites In Winter

Winter is actually one of the best times to implement certain termite treatments, given that the activities and locations of these insects are slightly more predictable. For instance, homeowners who are eager to use baiting systems will find that termites are more likely to discover strategically placed bait during the winter than they are in the spring and summer months when warmer temperatures allow them to forage further away from their nests and give them access to a greater abundance of food.

The primary drawback of using bait systems is the fact that it can take months for termites to discover them. Given that these bugs live directly on and within their food source, it can take time for them to stumble across even the best-placed bait system. The need to stay closer to the nest, however, often ensures rapid discovery and the quick transfer of bait poisons throughout the entire colony.

Working With Experienced Pest Control Companies

Winter is a great time to work with experienced pest control companies. This gives these professionals the chance to design and implement effective, multi-pronged treatment plans, before seasonal changes in termite behaviors make treatment more challenging and allow for more widespread damages. Thus, if you happen to discover the signs of a termite infestation just before winter hits, waiting the season out will cause you to miss out on the opportunity for a fast, seamless solution that can significantly minimize overall property damages.

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Are Termites Active in the Winter?

Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Mt. Juliet, TN

Question:Are Termites Active In Cold Weather?

Answer:

In the warmer months of the year, termites seem to be active and can be found working without letting up. In the winter and wet months, they seem to disappear, leading many to believe that they either just stop working and hibernate or just die off under the snow or wet soil. Both of these seemingly obvious answers are far from the truth. Termites remain active throughout the year. Before getting into the details of what actually happens, here is a little background on the termite.

Termites

Though they look like ants and are in some parts of the world even called white ants, termites are not related to ants in any way. In fact, they are of the same order as the cockroach. They are similar to ants and bees and wasps in the way they work. They are known to divide the work among different classes and castes. Termites mostly feed on dead plants, leaf litter, animal dung, and wood. There are over 3000 different species of termites. They live in colonies that can span from a few hundred termites to over a million in some cases. They have a swarm intelligence which leads them to be decentralized and self-organized within the hive. Termite colonies can be subterranean city-like structures and are built in a very complex and intricate way.

A typical colony of termites contains three types of termites – nymphs, soldiers, and workers. One colony can have more than one queen and reproductive members of both sexes.

‘Economically significant’

Termites are considered to be economically important in their interaction with humans as they are responsible for millions of dollars worth damage every year as they destroy wooden structures from the inside out. They are also not restricted to one region of the planet and do not have any particular temperature range in which they survive or operate. Since they are more prevalent in the warmer months, homeowners are somewhat aggressive in the way they protect their walls and floors, but fail to do so in the winter months.

Cold Blooded

Termites do not have the ability to generate their own body temperature, they are also not reptiles but are cold blooded, meaning the temperature changes in the environment can affect their bodies directly. The termites that build nests in the ground are the ones that are thought to be dormant in winter. These termites handle the cold by simply digging deeper into the soil in search of warmth. Termites have been found at over 40 inches below their nests, deep into the ground. Their activity can slow down to an extent, but they do not by any means lie dormant. They still forage for food and can still damage wood in the winter. The extent of damages caused by termites in the winter months depends entirely on the type of termite, size of colony and proximity to wood. Three things are essential for the survival of termites – water, wood, and heat. All three of those can be given to termites in a house with heating.

Indications of Termite Infestation

During the winter months, termite activity is slowed down, but it does not mean it will stop altogether. A few things that you can look for that indicate an infestation are mud tubes on walls or floors, sunken wood surfaces that seem like mild craters on the surface, shed wings of the insect in or around the house, and wood powder near minute pinholes on the face of the wood. It pays to be always vigilant through the year.

If you live in the Nashville, Murfreesboro or Mt. Juliet area and think you may have a termite problem or just need a termite inspection call Ameri Care Services today! Contact Us.

www.americareservices.com

Are Termites Active In Winter?

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Termites: Not Just a Summer Problem

When you look out at the layer of snow covering your yard, it makes sense to think that you are safe from termites or any other bug for that matter. There are no flies buzzing around your exterior trash cans, no hornets clinging to your exterior screens, and certainly no termite swarmers crawling around on window sills. Bugs die off or go into hiding during winter months, right? Well, the truth is, your home or business can be attacked by termites all winter long. Here is what you need to know about winter termites.

What Does The Cold Do To Termites?

Termites are cold-blooded creatures. Unlike warm-blooded creatures that are able to maintain a consistent temperature, cold-blooded creatures are the same temperature as the air, water, or soil around them. The only way for a cold-blooded creature to survive bitter cold temperatures is to go where it isn’t as cold. Insects that live in the soil, like subterranean termites, go deeper into the ground and wait for the cold weather to pass.

Do Termites Hibernate?

Under the right conditions, it can seem as if termites go into hibernation. Being cold-blooded creatures, termites will slow down when temperatures drop. If temperatures drop enough, they will retreat to their colony and wait for the ground to warm up. During months where there are prolonged freezing temperatures and little or no snow cover, termite colonies do not survive.

What Do Termites Do If There Is Lot Of Snow?

More snow means more insulation from the cold. If the soil stays warm enough, subterranean termites will continue to tunnel and forage for food sources. But, since their ideal working temperature is 75°F, they will stay closer to their colony. In summer months, termites can forage as far as a football field’s distance, underground.

What Conditions Are Ideal For Winter Termites?

Warmth is the only criteria for winter termites to remain active. If you have a dirt basement, heated crawl space under your home, or some other area where soil stays warm, termites will continue to send workers into your house. Termites are simple organisms that don’t require sleep to build energy, which means they will be feeding on the wood of your home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all winter long.

Do Termites Swarm In Winter?

When a colony matures it sends out swarmers to create new colonies. This usually happens in spring or fall, but it can happen any time of year when temperatures rise or fall. Since the temperatures in your home will likely stay consistent, it is unlikely that termites will create swarmers in the winter months. But, in spring, when it gets warmer outside the walls of your home, it will bring the temperatures up enough to trigger the swarming behavior. That’s usually when you find swarmers crawling around on your interior walls.

How Do I Check My Home For Winter Termites?

If you have termites feeding on your home, they will be subterranean termites coming up from the ground or drywood termites living inside your walls. Subterranean termites will build mud tubes on interior walls. These tubes will be found in moist and secluded areas like your basement, closets, crawl spaces, storage areas, bathroom, and attic. Drywood termites will create exit holes to push their feces out of their tunnels. These hard feces will look like grains of pepper on your window sills. Since termites feed on the inside of wood, you won’t visually see them unless you rip a wall apart, but you can sometimes hear them. Worker termites tap their heads on tunnel walls to communicate with each other. If you place your ear close to where they are feeding and tunneling, you may hear a clicking sound.

Termites don’t take a break in winter, and neither should your efforts to protect your property. At Action, we offer year-round termite monitoring and protection. Don’t let these wood-eating insects feed on your home or business all winter long. Take action and get Action. Action Pest Control.

www.actionpest.com

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