As temperatures drop in the fall, many insects begin to disappear from the landscape. We stop seeing ants crawling around on the sidewalks and in the yard. We stop swatting mosquitoes. And we stop seeing big, fat bumblebees buzzing around flowers. The cold temperatures send insects into hiding. Many insects even grow dormant in winter because temperature strongly influences their activity.
In our Missouri service area, the termites that are most destructive to man-made structures are Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes). How does the cold affect this species of termite? When temperatures are between 75°F to 95°F, Eastern subterranean termites are the most active. This is the ideal temperature range for them. Outside this range, they begin to slow down. If it gets too hot or too cold, they can die. Sustained temperatures above 100°F or below 25°F are usually enough to kill them. So, it makes sense to think that they wouldn't be active in the winter. But termites move to where the temperatures are most ideal. If they are feeding on the wood inside a log, they'll work their way to the center and feed on the wood there until temperatures go back up. If they are in the ground, they'll move deeper underground where temperatures are preferable, often to depths greater than 40 inches. If they're feeding on a home, they'll move away from cold outer walls and feed on wood that is warmed by interior heat. They'll also move toward warmer soil in crawl spaces underneath a home.
Subterranean termites are incredibly resilient. When found in a frozen state during the winter, they have been observed coming "back to life" when brought into a warm environment. Many pest control professionals even find active termites under a layer of snow. There are many factors involved in what makes termites continue to be active in the winter. The cold is only one of them.
Since these wood-destroying insects can be active even in cold temperatures, preventing fall termite infestations is extremely important. We give many termite prevention tips in our blogs. Take a few minutes to go take a look at some of them. It is well worth the effort. And consider year-round, professional termite protection for your Missouri home. Termites can do a lot of damage over time. With Rottler Termite Protection System™ featuring Sentricon® System with Always Active™, we help homeowners guard their equity for these destructive homewreckers. Get your protection in place today.