Termites: How Long Do They Live?



It just sneaks up on you. You had no idea they were coming and frankly no idea that they were already making moves to take over your home. Termites are always on the move and looking for their next meal. These tiny creatures are responsible for billions of dollars in pest control costs and damage repair around the U.S. each year. Termite colonies have few things on their mind. Consuming wood and growing their colonies. Your home, no matter what construction type you have, contains just the food source that they’re looking for. Once termites get in, they will devour all day and all night anything made out of cellulose. That means anything made of wood or other plant materials. While this is great in the natural world to help break these materials down, it’s far from great in our homes.

A mature colony is made up of several types of termites, each one having it's own responsibilities. A large colony will contain thousands of workers, winged and secondary reproductives, soldiers to protect the colony, and of course, a queen to keep the cycle going. The lowly workers only have a lifespan of one to two years, when one goes there are a thousand to take their place. A termite queen will rule her kingdom and lay eggs for 10 years or so. When she is gone there is already another one waiting to take her place thus ensuring that the colony will continue for decades to come. That’s right, while each termite doesn’t live too long, their colonies just keep going...unless they are put to a halt.

A few things to look for if you have a nearby termite colony would be wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Termites will eat all of the softer wood on the inside, leaving the outside. You might also see distorted or bubbling paint on wood surfaces or termite feces. Another thing to look for would be "mud tubes" on the exterior walls, beams or in crawl spaces. A mud tube serves as termite transportation from their colony to their food source. A mature colony will have winged swarmers who will leave the next to start new colonies (usually in the fall). If you find the discarded wings or see the swarms of flying insects in or near your home you might have an infestation.

If you suspect that you have an infestation of termites call your pest control professionals for an inspection. It is not a problem that you will want to or be able to take care of yourself. If you don’t get to it now, the termites will continue to divide and conquer.


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