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Over the years, termites have developed unique ways to survive in water. Although termites cannot live without moisture, too much water will be harmful to these creatures. In general, termites are able to survive for an extended amount of time while fully submerged in water.
If you are curious whether termites can survive in water and want to know more about this subject, continue reading through this article.
Although these insects can survive in water, they cannot do so indefinitely. Recent studies show that when termites are submerged in water long enough, they enter into an immobile state to conserve oxygen. As long as standing water does not flood their tunnels, termites will not move to higher or drier ground. Sometimes, in order to survive, they just float on logs or other objects as other insects do. Therefore, termites can survive in water for a few hours or days, depending on the prevailing conditions.
It is also important to note that water is essential for a termite, not only for hydration but also for digesting cellulose that’s in wood. Because these insects require a constant supply of moisture to survive, they are attracted to damp areas, particularly in the attic and basement. But what happens to termites in a flood? Can too much water kill termites?
How Do Termites Survive In Water?
Pests adapt differently to survive. While rodents seek higher ground to evade water, insects fly or float on water to survive. Termites are survivors, they have been around for millions of years and have adapted new survival tactics.
One of the strategies these species use to survive in water is how they breathe. Termites breathe through the spiracles located along the sides of their bodies. To survive in water, they can close their spiracles for extended periods.
Some colonies are indeed killed or reduced in numbers when their tunnels are flooded, but their survival tactics and large numbers practically guarantee the survival of termites.
A water leak or flooding causes damp conditions that attract these moisture-loving pests. Therefore, termite infestation is inevitable if your attic or crawlspace is damp. Sometimes, wood that’s wet for extended periods may also cause termite infestation. Dampwood termites in particular are attracted to damp, water-damaged wood. Subterranean termites also thrive in humid environments and love to live surrounded by plenty of moisture. This results in flooded homes or buildings being prone to termite infestations.
Can You Drown Termites?
It is possible to drown termites. Although these insects can survive underwater for long periods, they cannot do it forever. Termites begin to die after prolonged exposure underwater and oxygen deprivation. They are able to survive in water from 16 up to even 30 hours, depending on the termite species.
If you’re dealing with subterranean termites, take your garden hose and try to flood them out. As they cannot swim, they will drown after some time if you cover the area with too much water.
However, you could argue that floods and standing water, unless they’re extensive and sustained, will eradicate all termites. If the tunnels are not flooded entirely, some termites will manage to hide and survive. Also, with fluctuating water levels, termites could avoid being submerged in water for long periods, thus escaping death. You can try to drown termites but the moisture might attract even more of them if you are not careful.
Can You Kill Termites with Boiling Water?
In fact, boiling water can kill termites. Boiling water is commonly used for eliminating ants, however, it works better on subterranean termites because they tend to live underground.
To kill termites, target their nest by pouring boiling water over any visible termites and into the tunnel entrance with a watering can. Depending on the colony’s size and type of termite, you can repeat the process.
Yet, it is crucial to understand that boiling water only kills termites that come into direct contact with the liquid. Using boiling water is neither an effective nor permanent method of eliminating the entire colony of termites. But still, it is a useful option to get rid of some termites and prepare barriers to protect your home.
Termite infestations can cost homeowners thousands of dollars each year in repairs and treatments. Therefore, recognizing the signs of a termite infestation is crucial so as to protect your home. Since termites stay hidden, it is not easy for a homeowner to spot them. However, if you schedule a professional pest removal service, you can be sure the job is done right.
If you suspect termites are invading your home, you can always reach out to our pest control team at Chem Free Exterminating in Orange County, California. They have all the tools and knowledge to determine whether or not you have a termite infestation, and can also give you recommendations on what to do next. Give us a call today to learn about the termite treatments we offer.