“Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go” … it looks like we’ll be stuck inside with the termites. Yes that’s right, even though it’s cold out, termites in winter are just as common as termites in warmer weather!
Just because it is cold outside, and you want to be inside, doesn’t mean that you are the only one that feels that way. Termites, and other pests, also seek shelter from the cold of winter.
Termites appear to be most active in summer because humans are most active then. We humans tend to notice termites, and termite damage, because when it is nice outside, we move around more, cleaning, doing chores and yard work.
Termites are colonizing insects like bees and ants. Each type of termite plays a specific role within the colony. Termite workers are responsible for gathering food for the colony and are the ones which cause the most damage to wood and your property. Workers are also the one’s you see in the soil around the foundation of your property.
Unfortunately, termites defy the seasons, and our desires, by staying active year-round. Regardless of the weather, the time of year, or your location, termites don’t take time off because it is cold. Termites will invade your home in the dead of winter AND the hot days of summer.
Winter termite activity: Outdoors
Not all insects die off or go into hibernation during the winter months. Insects and pests have all sorts of survival strategies to make it through the cold.
In colder climates, winter does reduce termite activity. Unfortunately, cold conditions won’t kill termites or drive them away. It just forces them deeper underground or into the center of wood sources that they find outside. This makes the heat coming from inside your home that much more appealing.
Subterranean termites build their colonies underground. In winter months, they try and stay underground below the frost line. The colder the weather, the deeper they’ll dig in search of warmer ground.
Drywood and dampwood termites colonize in wood filled areas like old stumps or trees. If you have stored firewood outside, that wood is vulnerable to termites as well. Once you bring that wood into the house you may have inadvertently introduced termites as well. It’s important that you remove stumps and dead trees and keep firewood at least 20 feet away from the side of the house.
Winter termite activity: Indoors
Termites don’t typically find and move into your home during the winter months. Usually, they were already in your house to begin with. While the colder temperatures make outside habitation less inviting, termites will stay where they are provided with a nice, temperate, springtime temperature; your home.
The ideal temperature for termite development (and damage) is around 75°F, a comfortable temperature for any home during winter. But don’t drop that thermostat to 50 thinking they’ll go away. That won’t work. Your home is the perfect winter getaway for termites because they get wood, water and warmth. You’ll be hard pressed to scare any termite from your home with these excellent accommodations.
Do termites swarm in winter?
When a colony matures it sends out swarmers to create new colonies. This activity usually coincides with warmer months. Just because your house might be a consistent temperature doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a swarm in your home.
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.
Swarming termites can take flight in you home if they’ve infested an interior wall, but it is rare. Regardless of whether they are inside or out, most swarming activity takes place during warmer months of the year.
Small steps make a big difference in termite prevention and sustaining an effective termite treatment plan. Start by eliminating moisture conditions and termite food around your home. These simple steps make your home a less attractive target, helping deter termites.
Termites do leave warning signs. Indicators of a termite infestation include wood that sounds hollow when tapped, cracked or bubbling paint, mud tubes on exterior walls or crawl spaces, and a temporary swarm of winged insects in or around your home.
Simple steps can help prevent an infestation. Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris, install screens on exterior vents, store firewood and lumber away from your home, and eliminate moisture by fixing pipes and other home fixtures prone to leaking.