Are Termites Still a Concern in Winter?


Many homeowners are lulled into the false sense of security of thinking that they’re safe from termite infestations during the colder months, even in the more buggy southeastern states. The truth is that not all insects hibernate or die off in the winter—in fact, many have strong survival strategies for enduring the cold. Here’s what termites do to survive the winter, how they cope, and what you should look out for. 

How Termites Survive Outdoors 

It’s true that termites aren’t as active when it’s colder outside, but that doesn’t mean they’re dormant. Termites don’t hibernate during the winter; instead, they return to their nests to ride out the cold. 

Activity depends on the type of termite as well as the weather. Subterranean and Formosan termites go underground below the freeze line. However, if the area they’re in is experiencing a more mild winter, or they’ve found their way under your foundation, the termites will dwell closer to the surface. 

Studies have shown that some termites, such as drywood termites, are active all year long, but reduced activity is related to colder temperatures. Drywood and dampwood termites dwell in wood areas like stumps or trees during the winter. This is why it’s important to look out for and clear any stumps and trees around your home year-round. If you’re suspicious of a possible termite swarm, you can check by heating the suspicious location. This can possibly reveal the presence of termites. 

Termites Surviving Indoors During the Winter

If termites managed to get into your home before the winter months, they can remain very active throughout the cold season. Your home is the perfect winter destination for termites because it gives them the three W’s: wood, water, and warmth. With these, termites can thrive during any season. 

After they’re inside, the termites will start to feed off of the cellulose in wooden structures. Lookout for winged adult termites near windows, as they are drawn to light. If there is an infestation, it’s possible for the termites to start swarming, no matter what month it is. 

If You’re In the South, You’re Still At Risk During the Winter

As you can see, homeowners in the South—with their warmer winter climates—are still at risk for termite infestations. In Alabama especially, where freezes are rarer, the risk of winter termite infestations is still substantial. If you live in a warmer climate, it’s vital that you take preventative termite measures year-round. 

In addition to calling your local pest controllers, another preventative measure you can take is storing your firewood properly. Keep it away from the exterior of your home and off the ground. Firewood is a favorite hub for termites and other pesky insects during the winter. 

The fact is, the bugs don’t care what month it is. Termite prevention, especially in Alabama, is a necessity all year long. Look out for the warning signs of an infestation like mud tubes, wood damage, or wings shed by termites. Make sure you’re getting your regular pest control treatments. If you suspect you have an infestation, call Vulcan Termite today. Our experienced technicians are experts in everything termite and are here to help!