How Do Termites Respond To The Winter Cold?

January 23, 2018 | Posted In: Termite Control

How Do Termites Respond To The Winter Cold?

Insects generally don’t get along well with freezing cold temperatures. However, different insect species possess different adaptations that become useful during the winter months. When it comes to termites, cold weather does not generally lead to a vast decrease in termite populations. No matter how cold a particular winter season may be, termites will always come out swarming in large numbers once spring arrives. Some termite species are better at surviving winters than others. Unfortunately, the most numerous and damaging types of termites are relatively well protected from the cold during the winter.

Termites may appear to be dead to those who have encountered them during the winter, but they are quite likely to be very much alive. Of course, termites are not often spotted during the winter, as they retreat to their nests in order to protect themselves from the cold. However, professional entomologists often locate termite nests during the winter months. According to Chris Dunaway from the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, cold temperatures cause termites to move more slowly until they eventually become motionless. Even termites that are found motionless in the wild during the winter could actually still be alive. Simply applying heat to an immobile termite will cause it to regain its ability to move. Dunaway and his team of researchers recently happened upon a termite nest in an abandoned home that had been infested with termites during the summer. Dunaway noted that the termites were all huddled motionless in a mass that resembled a pile of rice grains. Amazingly, these termites were still alive.

When termites become slower as a result of the cold weather, they do not seek out mates for reproduction. Once the temperature falls below fifty degrees fahrenheit, termites become paralyzed. Luckily for subterranean termites, simply digging to lower depths within soil will protect them from cold temperatures. Subterranean termites located near the soil’s surface will likely be immobile, but they can nevertheless survive into the spring. Drywood termites, on the other hand, cannot resort to this method of protection since they live out their lives within colonies that are located in wood. These termites do not dwell within soil. The insulation that wood provides can help drywood termites survive the cold, but not when temperatures dip well below freezing. This is why pest control professionals often eradicate drywood termites with cold-treatments. Subterranean termites cannot be effectively controlled using cold-treatments. Unfortunately for homeowners, subterranean termites are far more common and damaging than drywood termites.

Have you ever heard of any type of insect-infestation being eradicated with professional cold-treatments?