Termites in Winter

Termites in Winter

Are Termites Active in the Winter?

Termites remain active year round – even during the winter. However, winter brings some changes in the daily routine of subterranean termite colonies. In cooler climates, subterranean termites typically move deeper into the ground during the cold season to access the warmth they need to survive. Foraging tunnels may be somewhat deeper for those species that travel near the soil surface, and food sources that are exposed to cold temperatures may be abandoned. While subterranean workers will forage closer to their nests during the winter, they will remain active (although likely not quite as active as during warmer months).

In heated buildings and the soil adjacent to heated basements, tunneling and general activity may be little changed. During most of the year, queens lay eggs at a steady rate. The number of eggs produced by the queen varies depending on the species, and the age of the queen.

In southern regions, with warm winter temperatures, egg production is continuous throughout the year, although there are seasonal fluctuations. For termites living in temperate regions, which have low winter temperatures, egg production is often suspended during the cold months.

Finding termites in the winter time inside your home is possible. Subterranean and drywood termites that have found shelter and food in your home’s foundation and walls will not be as affected by cold outdoor temperatures.

While most termites remain active during the winter, it is unlikely that you will see swarming termites between December and February, except in more tropical areas of the country like Florida where temperatures inside or outside homes can reach 70 degrees or higher. In more northern parts of the country, you may see other signs of termites in the winter, such as mud tubes or damaged wood.

Trained termite inspectors can inspect your home and identify active or previously active colonies any time of the year.


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

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

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.


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.


Are Termites Active in the Winter?

Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Mt. Juliet, TN

Question:Are Termites Active In Cold Weather?


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.


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.


Where Do Termites Go During the Winter?

During the winter, homeowners feel like they can relax a little and not worry so much about a destructive termite infestation, even in the buggy southeastern states. But is it a false sense of security? Can termites still invade your home in the dead of the winter?

Not all insects die off or go into hibernation during the winter months. They have all sorts of survival strategies to make it through the cold. Today we’re exploring where termites go during winter and what they do to cope with the frigid weather.

Outdoor Activity of Termites in the Winter

When the temperature drops outside termites aren’t as active as they were during the rest of the year, but they aren’t dormant. Unlike other types of bugs, termites don’t hibernate for the winter. Instead, they retreat to their nests to ride out the freezing temperatures.

For subterranean and Formosan termites, this means going underground below the freeze line. However, if it’s a mild winter with very little freezing, termites will stay closer to the surface. This is certainly the case if termites find their way under your foundation. In these spots, underground termites can be just as active as the summer months. Subterranean termites have even been known to start swarming in the late winter, particularly on warm days after it rains.

Drywood termites and dampwood termites will nest in wood areas such as stumps or trees for the winter. That’s why it’s best to remove stumps and dead trees no matter what time of year it is. In 2011 the University of California, Berkeley did a study of western drywood termites to gauge their activities in logs during all four seasons.

They noted that drywood termites remained active at all times, but that reduced activity was associated with colder temperatures. Even then activity peaked in the late afternoon. Another notable finding was that very warm winter days was one of the peak periods for feeding.

The study was done to provide more information for identifying termites and treating infestations. It concluded that if you believe there may be termites present during the winter, heating the suspicious location could reveal the presence of termites.

Indoor Activity of Termites in the Winter

Outdoors termites aren’t as active, but indoors is another story. If termites moved into a home before the cold set in outside, they can remain very active throughout the winter months. Homes make the perfect winter getaway for termites because they provide the three Ws – wood, water and warmth. Those three things help termites thrive through any season.

Once indoors, termites will continue to feed on the cellulose of wood structures, doing damage while you sit in your warm home thinking termites aren’t a problem until the spring swarming season. That is, unless you see a swarm inside. If there’s an infestation it’s possible for swarming to start indoors during the winter. You may also notice winged adults near the windows since they are attracted to light.

Areas With Warm Winters Are at Risk for Year-Round Termites

You may have already gathered from the information above that living in an area where the winters are more mild increases the risk of winter termite infestations. In other words, places like Alabama where it rarely freezes are most at risk both outdoors and indoors. In these areas homeowners have to take preventative measures year-round.

And there’s another issue that can make termites worse in the winter. As the experts at Mississippi State University note, firewood piles can be particularly problematic. If a homeowner doesn’t use proper firewood precautions, such as keeping piles away from the exterior of the home, it could increase the likelihood of finding termites.

Firewood should also be stored up off the ground or it could attract ants and other insects along with termites. Leaving firewood on the ground gives insects easy access and moisture could quickly rot the wood making it that much more appealing to termites. When you bring firewood inside it should be burned immediately or you risk letting termites indoors where they can infest the home.

Being diligent about termite prevention is a year-round necessity in Alabama. These bugs don’t care what time of year it is when it comes to feeding on wood structures. Due to their winter survival methods, termites are actually more prone to move indoors than other types of insects.

If given the chance, termites that are outdoors will find their way into a house or tunnel beneath it so the entire colony can survive the winter in comfort. It’s important for Alabama homeowners and business owners to keep up with regular pest control treatments and not to ignore the warning signs of an infestation. Always be on the lookout for mud tubes, wings shed by the termites and wood damage. If any of those signs are present during the winter don’t hesitate to call our experienced technicians.


No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail will not be published. All fields are required.