Can Termites Survive Freezing Temperatures?

In many parts of the world, winter brings with it sub-zero temperatures and below-freezing weather. This can pose a problem for many creatures that are not accustomed to such extreme conditions.

thermometer sticking out of the snow

Termites cannot survive in freezing temperatures.

In fact, they will actually die if exposed to temperatures below freezing for more than a few hours. However, there are some species of termites that are more tolerant of cold weather than others and they have ways of surviving.

Consequently, if you live in an area with a lot of termite activity, it’s important to be aware that they may be able to survive periods of cold weather.

What Happens to Termites in Freezing Temperatures

One of the things on most people’s minds is whether or not termites can survive freezing temperatures. After all, these pests can cause a lot of damage to homes and other structures, and no one wants to deal with them in the middle of winter.

Termites are cold-blooded creatures that rely on the warmth of the sun to maintain their body temperature. When exposed to freezing temperatures, their bodies begin to shut down and they eventually die.

Despite the fact that cold weather affects them, these pests have evolved to withstand it and survive in cold temperatures now too.

They will survive as long as the temperature does not drop below 32 degrees F. They will only be exterminated and die within a short amount of time when the temperature drops below 25°F.

How Do Termites Survive in Cold Weather

Termites are often assumed to become dormant or die out in the winter. Unfortunately, they continue to be active all winter for as long as they can. They survive by finding a warm, cozy place to hide in.

Termites will then begin to look for warmer areas. They will start to burrow deeper underground for them to survive, or unfortunately, somewhere within the comforts of your home.

Sad to say, basement temperatures frequently offer the ideal environment for termites. They will attempt to occupy and eventually infest the property where they have chosen to establish their colony.

Where Do Termites Go during Winter

Termites will die if temperatures drop below freezing temperatures unless they find shelter. Lucky for these insects, they are experts in finding those shelters.

termites roaming around tree branches

When termites find a secure location for their dwelling they may continue to move, eat, and expand their colony as usual.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites survive in the wild by burrowing deeper into the ground.

When the weather gets cold, they will generally retreat to warmer areas and their movements tend to decrease and their metabolism slows down to the point that they may seem dead. However, they are actually still alive.

Drywood Termites

On the other hand, drywood termites burrow and seek shelter in wooden logs but they usually die off once the temperatures drop below freezing. However, if they are already inside your home, they are most likely not affected by the cold anymore since your home’s insulation protects them.

Are Termites Still Active in Winter

Homeowners possibly do not notice termite activity because they’re not working in their yards or on their homes as much during the winter.

During the summer, when most people conduct home repairs and landscaping, they’re more likely to see termites.

Another reason termites go unnoticed over the winter is that they don’t swarm in cold weather. When termites establish new colonies, they swarm.

They are less likely to start new colonies when it is colder but this doesn’t mean they don’t feed. Even if you don’t see termites, the temperature inside your home may be enticing to them.

Unfortunately, in regions where it does not get too chilly in the winter, the queen produces eggs all year round.

Termites survive the cold because they learn to dig deeper tunnels to stay warm when temperatures drop. It’s important to remember that they thrive on warmth, water, and food, which means a cozy house is very inviting.

As long as they stay warm, they will continue to flourish working on their tunnels, which implies that they are still wreaking havoc on your home.

Do Termites Hibernate

Many animals and insects usually hibernate in the winter. Unfortunately, that is not applicable to termites.

Many people believe that they hibernate or die during the winter, but this is not the case. Although termites are most active in the summer, they can still remain active in the winter season building their nice, warm nest.

Even if you are no visible indications of termites being active in your home during the winter season, they are just hiding somewhere where it is ideal for them to thrive.

What Termites Do in Winter

Termites dig deeper into the earth in search of warmer soil as the winter cold temperatures approach.

They’ll build their nest and wait out the season if they discover a suitable location of warmth deep below the surface.

They will be foraging for food much closer to the nest than they would in other areas and they will spend less time outside than they would in summer.

Basically, they would still be doing the same that they do as always. To survive, they just need warmth, water, and food. If they can’t discover it by digging further, they’ll probably look at your home instead.

At What Temperature Do Termites Die

Termites will only die if the wood is chilled to minus 20°F for a minimum of 30 minutes, according to research. Termites will then die in a few minutes if the wood temperature drops below 25 degrees F.

dead termite on white background

The ideal temperatures for termites are generally 75 to 95°F, and if the temperature rises above 100°F or drops below 25°F, these insects will be exterminated in a matter of minutes.

Final Thoughts

One would think that the biting cold of winter would be enough to kill off any and all pests, including pesky termites. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

While freezing temperatures can certainly damage termite colonies, they are not always fatal. In fact, some species of termites are actually quite resistant to cold weather.

These termites can often survive exposure to freezing temperatures, even if their colony is damaged in the process.

While this may be bad news for homeowners who are trying to rid their property of these pests, it is important to remember that termites are still vulnerable to other methods of pest control, such as chemicals and baits.

As long as these other methods are used in conjunction with cold weather, homeowners can rest assured that their property will be free of these unwanted guests.