Summer and spring are the most active months for termites, but that fact is, they can be around all year. What’s more is that you’re not likely to do some inspection as the weather is snugly and you’d rather stay on the couch near the fire. Termites in winter can be more damaging than other seasons as the pests would dig deeper the ground or wood to get enough humidity. As much as they need moisture, they can’t withstand a very cold atmosphere. And once the chilly season is over, you’re going to discover a larger infestation.
So what do you have to know during the snowy months? Read on these points.
1. Drywood and subterranean termites won’t budge in the cold
Termites in winter have different behaviors but there are some that won’t budge even if the snow is freezing the hell out of you outside. The likes of dry wood and subterranean termites would usually move out of their usual harborage but if you have a heater, this might not happen. It doesn’t mean that you have to turn off the heating system for the sake of letting the termites leave your home. You’re just going to freeze while the mites find a cozy spot to continue foraging.
Even if you let the cold temperature enter your house, the termites wouldn’t leave completely. The pest can still reproduce and cause damage to your property. Basically, they would just do the next thing.
2. They could be hiding beneath the ground
Yes, the termites just burrow itself deeper into the ground or wood to maintain a steady temperature suited for their survival. This pest can only tolerate temperature of as low as 75F. Anything below that could be damaging to their underdeveloped exoskeleton.
What they’ll do is dig beneath the soil and construct a network so they can still lay eggs and continue the expansion of the colony. Most of the time, termites in winter would do this near a source of food as they still need to eat just like we do. Species like the subterranean termites are those that don’t go far from their initial harborage so it might be easy for you to detect the infestation.
3. Termites are year-round workers
These pests never stop munching the wood on your property. Termites are year-round workers that never sleep and stop moving even during the cold months of winter. Although the operation of these insects tends to slow down during such season, it doesn’t mean that they are less harmful. Some colonies can find a way to maintain the peak of their movement that becomes effortless if you have an indoor heater.
A handful of the colony could die during the onset of winter but it’s only a small dent in their population. The queen, which can live up to 25 years, is a termite factory that will continue laying eggs no matter what the season is.
4. Winter could also be an ideal season for the mites
This may sound absurd, but yes, the winter season could also be an ideal time for the termites. Such months have a lot of moisture and if you have a heater, it would thaw ice and cause a warm leak somewhere in your household. As you know, termites don’t need much water. A little dampness, cellulose, and undisturbed spot are all it takes for an infestation. And as far as winter is concerned, these are already present conditions.
So are termites in winter more dangerous for an infestation? I can’t say that it is way damaging since the drier months are usually the peak of the infestation. However, the threat to your property is still present.
5. The pest could be dormant in winter
With all the pest infestation worries you have right now, you might want to hear some good news. Well, I have one just for you. Termites tend to slow down and go dormant over the course of winter. The cold weather will stop them from leaving their deep tunnel, thus less damage to the external wood material on your house. Swarmers, or termites with wings, are unlikely to be seen during the cold season.
The reproduction of the colony may also slow down though this won’t likely to affect the number of termites that can attack your home. After the winter, they can easily speed up the molting, mating, and reproduction process on your property.
6. It can still be treated
Even if there’s knee-deep snow, some termite extermination companies may still accommodate your request. However, the treatment approach could be a little limiting. Gas fumigation won’t work well on very cold days while the use of nematodes may also be useless as the organisms may also die in the cold. Chemical treatments can still be used depending on the discretion of the exterminators and the location of your property.
But the good news about termites in winter is this: some treatment approaches can work well during winter than any other season. Some exterminators say that baiting has a higher turnaround of positive results during the winter as the pest look for food, which in such season, is a bit scarce underground.
7. You may want to check your home insurance
If you read your home insurance terms, you should already know if it has coverage for termite damages. Most homeowner insurance doesn’t cover such condition so you might need to shell out money for the treatment of the infestation. But why?
Insurers assume that termite infestation is a matter of maintenance. It’s preventable just like trampoline injuries or dog bites, therefore, you’re responsible for the control and management of such incidents. If you don’t overplay on the trampoline, you won’t get hurt. If you don’t get aggressive dogs, you’ll have fewer chances of getting bitten. This is the same thing with termites as you have the ability to conduct preventive measures to stop its spread.
8. Never put your guard down
I know that the winter season makes you want to cuddle with a pillow all the time, but for your house’s sake, never be too complacent. Never throw away your pesticides spray and continue applying it to avoid the spread of termites or the infestation itself if your house isn’t affected yet. You should also practice some preventive measures you used to do during the drier months of summer and spring.
If you have an ongoing contract with a pest control company, let the exterminators do the follow-ups to ensure that the prior treatment is effective on termites in winter. Like what I said before, termite extermination doesn’t stop after the initial treatment.
9. Be mindful of the signs
The good thing about termite infestation is that there will be visible signs. Check your windows or floor for discarded wings. Swarmers usually do the molting process once they are ready to settle on a specific place. This is so they can start laying eggs and expanding the colony. But don’t stop if you’re not seeing wings as might you have vacuumed or dust it even before you had the interest of looking for the signs.
Check for frass or the sand-like excreta of the termites. These are the wood they’ve eaten in your house and is usually a sign that the infestation has already engaged. You can also knock on the wooden beams or walls of your house and see if it produces a hollow sound.
10. Never hesitate to call for help
If you think that the termites have attacked you during winter, never hesitate to contact an exterminator. Like what I said, some treatments can work optimally during the cold season and this might be the best time to cure the infestation problem. If you have doubts whether there are termites in winter or not, the exterminators can help you out through an actual home inspection.
You can also do some DIY preventive measures but nothing beats the expertise of professional exterminators. They can provide you the information on the extent of the damage as well as the treatment that the situation might need. It may cost you more but it will just be a small amount for the maintenance of your house. You’re not planning to pay a bigger fee in the future, right?
11. Know the habits of the pests
Like humans, termites also have different habits during the winter. Basically, they move underground or in a deeper part of your house where the floor heater is located. They do this to maintain the optimal temperature of the atmosphere without drying their bodies out. The colder the weather, the deeper these termites get. Some can even go as deep as 40 inches on the soil. This makes them hard to find during winter but doesn’t mean that they’ll stop munching.
You should know that only the harborage gets affected during winter and not the foraging. The termites can still chew as fast as they do during drier seasons and they can inflict the same damage whatever time of the year it is.
12. Move and inspect your house
Take a break from the cozy couch from time to time and inspect your house for termites in winter. Do this habitually even if there are no present signs of the pest as you’ll never know when they’ll attack. Also, disturbing some parts of your house you rarely go to will discourage the harborage. To make the most out of your effort, spray some insect repellent on such areas. The key spots are your attic, basement, and yard. There might be damp boxes or stacked wood that makes a perfect spot for a termite hideout.
By making a checklist, this task will be easier and faster to accomplish. A weekly inspection drill would be a good habit.
Preventing termites in winter is almost the same as doing it in other seasons. You should stay watchful and you should never let your guard down against the pesky pests. These 12 points here are the basic need-to-know facts about a termite infestation during the cold months. Make the most out of it and prepare your property!