Termites are incredible survivors. Their lifespan can be much longer than what most people would expect. In general, termites are able to survive even two years while living in a house, before they eventually die on their own. However, it is impossible to get rid of termites permanently from the environment.
If you have an infestation in your house, don’t think that termites can die or go away on their own and the infestation will be finished. You never know when termites are going to come back as there always can be an active, healthy colony nearby that will try to take roots in your home and re-infest your wooden structures.
Termites live in colonies that range from several thousand to millions, and this is how these insects survive. A single termite will not survive without its colony.
However, you can prevent and control a termite infestation with professional termite treatment. While it may be tempting to try to get rid of termites yourself, prevention and treatment are most effective when left to the experts.
Termites are considered great survivors because their colonies are exposed to a multitude of fungi and predators that are present in the soil and can attack the termites.
According to studies, workers and soldiers can survive an average of one to two years, while queen termites may live for over a decade when the climate conditions are favorable. Even if the long-living queen dies, queens from other colonies and the secondary reproductive termites will continue to reproduce. The infestation will persist and the colony can have a very expansive territory.
Let us break down how long the termites can live depending on various factors.
Termites feed on cellulose that is found in woody plants, such as trees and shrubs. These insects can only survive for two weeks without eating wood, which is their main food source.
Termites are able to live for only a few days without having access to moisture and water. The accumulated moisture will allow termites to survive in dry conditions, but only for a limited period of time. They will also drown and die in water if submerged for at least 30 hours.
During the spring and summer, termites typically swarm to start new colonies. The swarming happens very fast, and after the flying termites take flight and leave their nest, they usually stay in the air for no longer than one hour. If swarming termites cannot escape from the house and find soil, they will die within a few hours.
After they lose their wings, they drop to the ground and die within a short time. Then they perish due to air exposure or termite-eating predators. You will find many dead insects or just their discarded wings.
The tunnels that these pests build protect them from the elements. Termites live in constant darkness, except for the swarming period of the winged reproductives during the summer.
Therefore, they will die quickly if exposed to open air, daylight, or sunlight for more than a few minutes. Open air or light will kill termites, they will dehydrate and die shortly.
It’s very unlikely that termites die on their own when exposed to heat. Termites are able to survive in a hot indoor place, such as an attic, as long as it is properly ventilated and never gets to or above 180°F.
The air temperature must reach between 120 and 140°F and the temperature inside the wood must be raised to 120°F for at least 35 minutes to kill these insects.
As far as low temperatures are concerned, termites are cold-blooded, so a very low temperature is needed to kill them. They depend on their tunnels to provide them with the warmth they require to survive. When temperatures drop below freezing, termites will die out in the cold unless they find shelter. When the temperature drops below 25°F, they will die in just a few minutes.
Cooling the air around the termite nest area to minus 20°F for at least 30 minutes will cause the pests to die.
The assumptions that termites die off, hibernate, or migrate during the winter season are incorrect. They stay active all year round, even during the winter. They don’t die on their own in the winter cold, even if you might not notice much activity.
There are only changes in the daily routine of subterranean termite colonies. In winter or cold climates, subterranean termites usually move deeper into the ground to access the heat they need to survive.
Termites can cause very serious damage to your property, they are not a pest to play around with. If you believe that a termite colony is invading your home or business, don’t wait for it to die off and leave on its own. Call our expert termite control team at Chem Free Exterminating in Orange County, CA, as soon as possible!