Are Termites Active in Winter?

Posted: September 27, 2023

Termites

For many property owners, a termite infestation is more than just a nuisance — it’s a costly, worst-case scenario. And unfortunately, termites are active year-round. However, there are certain times of the year when termites are more active. Winter tends to see less termite activity, but these wood-destroying pests can still wreak havoc during the colder months. In this post, you’ll learn more about termite activity in winter.

What Is Termite Activity Like in Winter?

Winter is known for being a time of year when creatures and humans alike slow down, but it’s a common misconception that these destructive pests fall dormant during the winter months. However, this is not always the case. While some species of termites may slow down in colder temperatures, others remain active throughout the winter season.

Understanding Termite “Season”

The first thing to note — there is no set termite season. Termite activity is not limited to a specific time of year, however, certain weather conditions can influence their behaviors. Understanding these patterns can help homeowners and business owners take preventative measures.

Different termite species exhibit preferences for certain seasons or weather conditions. Subterranean termites, for example, tend to be more active during the warmer months, while drywood termites thrive in dry and warm climates year-round. In the Southeastern United States, subterranean termites are the most common type of termite you’ll encounter, and though they may be less active in winter, they can still create problems.

Typically, termites are most active during what’s known as swarming season. Swarming season tends to occur in late spring and early summer. During swarming season, termites send out swarmers to locate suitable environments to build a new colony. Once a new home has been found, termites will gradually branch off from their original colony and settle in to form their own ecosystem. Termites live off of the cellulose found in wood, and if a colony has settled on your property, they’ll continue to eat your home year-round.

Do Termites Hibernate?

Termites are cold-blooded creatures, meaning their body temperature depends on their environment. During the winter months, when temperatures drop, termites tend to slow down their activity and retreat to their colonies. While this behavior is often referred to as hibernation, it is technically known as diapause.

Diapause is a physiological state that allows certain organisms, including insects like termites, to survive adverse environmental conditions. Instead of entering a true hibernation state, termites enter diapause, which is a form of suspended development. During diapause, termites reduce their metabolic rate, decrease movement, and conserve energy within their colonies. This allows them to survive the cold temperatures and lack of food sources during the winter months.

While termites may be less active during winter, it is important to note that they do not completely disappear. They remain within their colonies, protected from the external environment. And if termites are residing in a climate-controlled environment (like your home) they may not enter diapause at all.

How Do Cold Temperatures Affect Termites?

During winter, termite activity tends to drop, and it’s largely due to the colder temperatures. The effects of cold temperatures on termites vary depending on their species and location, but in general, termites slow down when it’s cold out. But why does this matter for homeowners?

1. Cold Temperatures Lower Activity Level

Cold temperatures have a significant impact on the activity levels of termites during winter. In colder weather, termites tend to become less active and may retreat deeper underground or into the center of wood sources. This behavior is driven by their need to find warmer conditions and protect themselves from the cold. Their survival instincts drive them to find shelter and warmth, which usually leads them to retreat deeper underground. But in some cases…

2. Winter May Drive Termites Inside

During the winter months, termites may seek shelter inside structures in search of warmer temperatures and moisture levels. As the cold weather sets in, these pests instinctively seek out environments that will provide them with the ideal conditions to survive and thrive.

Different termite species exhibit specific actions in response to cold temperatures. Subterranean termites, for example, construct mud tubes that serve as a pathway from their underground colonies to above-ground food sources. During winter, these termites may abandon these mud tubes or build them deeper in the ground, or toward your home, to avoid exposure to the cold.

Drywood termites, on the other hand, are known to seek refuge in wooden structures during colder months. They burrow into the wood and create tunnels to protect themselves from the low temperatures. This behavior ensures that they maintain access to a stable food source while staying away from the cold weather outside.

When termites make their way inside a structure, they can be found in various areas. Common hiding spots include woodpiles, firewood stored indoors, window frames, and attics. They may also infest crawl spaces, basements, and other areas with adequate warmth and moisture.

To prevent termite infestations during the winter season, seal any cracks or openings in the foundation, walls, and windows. Regular inspections by professionals, like the ones at Dodson Pest Control, can help identify the early signs of termites and allow for immediate action to prevent property damage.

Protect Your Home from Termites with Dodson Pest Control

When it comes to protecting your home from termites, Dodson Pest Control has got you covered. With our comprehensive termite control services, you can rest easy knowing that your property is in good hands. Our technicians are able to perform routine inspections, preventative treatments, and one-time treatments. Don’t let termites cause costly damage to your property – contact Dodson Pest Control today.

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