• Jon Stoddard

How Much Damage Can Termites Really Do to Your Home?

termite damage discovered in a home remodel

As a homeowner, there are certain things you never want to find in your house. Pests and unwanted guests can come in all shapes and sizes. These can be rodents, such as mice, or insects, such as ants. However, perhaps nothing so tiny can create so much havoc as termites. These feared creatures are capable of damaging your home and even making it unlivable. It’s important to understand what termites do, where they thrive, and what you can do to keep them away from your home. You should never ignore their presence. To learn more about what termites can do to your home, read below.

A Description of Termites

Termites are insects that feed on wood, as well as grass, leaves, and manure. They are abundant, numbering more than 2,700 species. These creatures are found throughout the United States, thriving from coast to coast and in the northern and southern regions. They live in organized colonies, with each member performing a specific role. Termites make their homes in various places. Some like to live beneath the soil, while others live above the ground. Homeowners find them in drywall, furniture, and woodpiles near the house.

Size, Growth, and Activities

Termite workers

Termite colonies can be alarmingly massive. Single colonies can have more than 50,000 members. Queen termites are prolific, sometimes laying more than a thousand eggs each day. These termites can have a life span of up to two decades, meaning the numbers of their colonies can reach well into the hundreds of thousands during that period. A significant reason why termites can be so destructive is that they don’t rest—literally. Without sleep, termites can busily expand their colonies and territory constantly. They do this by eating away at home, including the building materials in homes. The termites swarm, so thousands of them can attack a single 2x4 or another piece of wood in a house.


Be aware that termites don’t devour entire pieces of wood. Instead, these ravenous insects create tunnels in wood in floorboards, support beams, structural framing, and more. The more tunnels that the termites make, the weaker the wood becomes. After a while, an eaten-through piece of wood can no longer support the structure, resulting in widespread damage.

Speed and Efficiency

Because large numbers of termites can gang up on a single piece of wood, it doesn’t take long for them to do plenty of damage. In a matter of a few months, one colony of termites can eat through a foot or more of a 2x4 wood. If your home has an infestation of more than one termite colony, the destruction can be even more severe and swift.

An Overview of the Damage

subterranean termite damage

Without professional intervention, termites can render a home unsafe and unfit for its inhabitants. Termites can destroy floors, walls, shelves, and cabinets. Some are even known to eat through personal belongings such as books. If a termite colony’s presence goes unnoticed or ignored, parts of your home could collapse or crumble. Homeowners should understand that a home infested with termites will not pass inspection, meaning you wouldn’t be able to sell your home or refinance a mortgage loan.

The Signs

You don’t have to spot a termite to not a colony has infiltrated your house. You may notice hollow wood, wood that breaks without difficulty, or bubbling wood. This is a good indication that termites are present. You may also see sawdust near floorboards. Some homeowners might even find broken-off wings from termites.

Minimizing the Damage

You should call for help at the first sign of trouble. The chances are good that if you see clues that termites are living with you that they have been there for a while. Call a professional extermination company right away to assess the damage. The longer you wait, the bigger risk you face of your home suffering serious problems.


pest control man

You may not be able to keep termites away from your home all the time, but there are things you can do to lessen the likelihood that these pests will make their way into your place. One of the first things you can do is reduce the amount of humidity in your home, especially in the basement and attic. Termites love damp conditions and won’t likely settle down in areas where it’s dry.

Another wise idea is to not store against the foundation of your home. This invites termites to congregate and start making their way into your house. Keeping water away from the foundation of your home will also encourage termites to keep out. Putting mulch in gardens and flowerbeds can also attract termites.

Termites can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your house. Understand the potential these creatures have and the effect they can have on your home.

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