When you think about termites, you may think about springtime and moisture. The sad reality is that termites live year-round and can pose a significant problem for you whether it is freezing or hot outside. Unlike other insects that do not make it through the winter months, termites can wreak havoc all year long. Termites can live through the cold; they just have to dig deeper into the ground and find food sources. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t continue to destroy your dwelling. 

How Termites Live in the Winter

Termites need three things to live: water, warmth, and wood. Within homes, winter provides no issue in attaining these needs. Termites have invented a brilliant solution to their moisture needs: they build tubes that regulate moisture levels such that the termites navigate vast networks.

As far as the need for warmth,  heated homes in cold weather areas provide perfect dwellings for termites to continue their destructive work. Anywhere in the home subject to heating will likely provide the types of temperatures at which termites can be most active. This also means that termites might in fact be drawn inside to seek warmth, much like rodents. Termites are cold-blooded, meaning that their body temperature is the same as the air. In cold weather areas, this gives subterranean termites two options: either burrow deeper into the soil to avoid freezing or find sources of warm shelter. In warmer weather areas, the temperature rarely dips to a point that would force termites into an inactive state. More, moisture provided by winter weather can provide the ideal environment for termite thriving. 

Termite Tunneling in the Winter

Termites expand their food supply by building exploratory tunnels. Termites that dwell underground send out workers to find new sources of food by tunneling through the ground and then above until they locate adequate wood. After identifying this new wood source, these workers communicate to the colony to invest workers and labor in developing new tunnels to further exploit the food source. The mechanism is truly remarkable–individuals function less as singular life units than as a decentralized, collective organism. This means that termites can rapidly and effectively expand their territory and quickly commit thousands of insects toward harvesting food. Once they identify and mobilize, they create “galleries” that they systematically hollow out. The longer the unchecked infestation, the more damage done. 

The only good news about wintertime and termites is that their egg production might dip, but the ones that are still alive and active will continue to do what they do best – cause trouble.

Tell-tale Termite Signs

So, even if the temperature outside has dipped down, you still need to look for signs that you might have termites lurking behind your walls and eating through your construction. To ensure that you are termite-free through cold weather, look for these telltale signs that they are active:

  • Drywall that is either drooping or discolored. If you notice paint peeling that appears to look like water damage, that might signal a termite problem. They might also show signs of tiny pinholes created in the drywall.
  • If you tap on your wood and it has a hollow sound, then that might mean that termites are present.
  • Termites leave maze patterns in wood, which can either be on the exterior of your home – like the siding – or even on things within your home, like furniture.
  • Squeaky, loose, or buckling floorboards might not just be a sign of an aging home; they might be warning you that you have a termite infestation.
  • If your doors or windows are stuck, it might not be the cold weather; it might mean that the integrity of your dwelling is being compromised. 
  • Termites leave behind pellets as waste. The waste has the appearance of salt and pepper.
  • Termites have scales, and when they shed them, it kind of looks like the scales from a fish.
  • Termites will often leave tubes in the mud around your foundation; that is the sign that they have made their way in.

The Dangers of an Infestation

Because termites are extremely dangerous to the integrity of your home, it is imperative that you be vigilant about spotting that you have a problem. Termites can eat through your house’s building materials and compromise your foundation. This means it is critical that you stop an infestation before it gets out of control, and before you find yourself in some serious financial trouble. If you want to ensure that you don’t have a termite problem, look for these telltale signs or have an inspection by a St. Louis commercial pest control management company to ensure that termites aren’t lurking.

How Pure Pest Stops Termites

At Pure Pest, we’ve been protecting St. Louis since 1954. With this experience, we’ve learned a lot about termites, especially in preventing infestation and making sure pest control jobs are done right. In all the work we’ve done, we’ve found that ongoing protection plans provide the best way to identify possible weaknesses to infestation, exterminate existing colonies, and provide ongoing preventative services.

Home inspections are the best place to start. Our highly experienced technicians will identify key areas by which termites can enter your home, including cracks around the foundation, expansion joists, and hollow block walls. These inspections are critical for both preventing infestations from occurring and catching infestations at the earliest possible moments before the colony has a chance to expand. All levels of our protection plans include indoor termite inspections from November to February. 

Termite extermination can include soil treatment, baits, and in worse cases, renovation. Because termites typically enter homes from underground, soil treatments can be useful ways to get at existing colonies. Baits are especially useful, and at Pure Pest we use scientifically-engineered systems based on the latest studies in addition to real-world results. If extensive damage occurs to home structures, renovation may be necessary to restore function and beauty to your home. Importantly, plans include ongoing protection that back up our results and make sure that the problem doesn’t return. Call Pure Pest today for a free inspection from a local company with decades of experience in the industry.