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Do Termites Come Back After Treatment 9 Things You Need to Know

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Do termites come back after treatment? People ask this common question when they find out they have a termite problem.

The good news is that generally, termites don’t come back after an insecticide treatment, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Whether they do depends on several factors, and since the conditions are different for every homeowner, it’s hard to make a blanket statement about what happens after treatment.

Here are nine things you need to know about termite infestations and treatments to give you all of the information you need to decide whether or not you’re happy with the outcome.

Do termites come back after treatment?

In most cases, if the termite colony is located and treated, then you won’t have to worry about another batch of termites

If the termite colony is located and treated, you won’t have to worry about another batch of termites. The steps involved in the treatment are:

  • Find the termite colony.
  • Treat the infestation.
  • Kill the queen.

The only way to be sure that a colony will not return is to kill every one of its members—including the queen—and destroy any possible means for them to rebuild their colony. Then, use a combination of chemicals or physical barriers (including soil treatments), and then treat your structure with a long-term follow-up barrier treatment as needed.

The treatment depends heavily on the severity of the infestation

If you have an existing termite infestation and a reputable company has performed treatment, there are some things you can do to ensure that the treatment works.

Successful treatment will rid your home of termites for 5 – 10 years.
You should also check on your home monthly during the first year after a new termite treatment has been applied—if you see any signs of recent activity, have the company come back to re-treat those areas immediately.

You can also reduce moisture in and around your home as much as possible, particularly in crawl spaces and basements. In addition, having regular inspections every 2-3 years by a qualified pest expert will ensure that any new activity is caught early to be treated quickly before it becomes an expensive problem.

Do termites come back after treatment - flying termite
Flying Termite Image by Derek Keats

Review Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Some homeowners’ insurance policies may cover damages caused by termites. Talk to your insurance agent before you start shopping for contractors or doing other repair work.

You may find that your insurer will cover some or all of the damages minus your deductible. Don’t make any further changes to your property to get a speedy settlement for your insurance claim.

They may send an adjuster out to inspect the damages firsthand. However, starting repairs before your homeowners’ insurance company does an inspection may affect how much your insurance company reimburses you for the termite damages.

Not all homeowners insurance policies cover termite damage. In some cases, you may need a particular separate policy or clause for this type of insurance. Talk to your homeowners’ insurance agent and verify protection or add it if offered.

Assess the Extent of the Damages

If you find out you don’t have insurance coverage after speaking to your agent, the next step will be to determine the damage done by the termites.

All load-bearing support structures, as these affect the home’s integrity, including joints, beams, framing structures, and frames around doors and windows, will need to be inspected.

In addition, do not forget to inspect outdoor wooden structures attached to the home for damages, too, like your deck.

Termites can consume anything made from wood or wood-based materials. They will eat solid wood, pressboard, drywall, books, furniture, cabinets, countertops, etc.

Usually, professional treatment will prevent a recurrence

Although termites can be difficult to eradicate, professional treatment will usually prevent a recurrence. The treatment usually entails a chemical application that exterminates the termites and destroys their colonies. A professional will know exactly where to apply this chemical—in soffits, attics, and other areas where termites are likely to hide.

If you’re still not sure whether you need professional treatment or not, consider asking a pest control company to perform a free inspection. They’ll be able to tell you whether the infestation is severe enough that they should do the work themselves or small enough that you can do it yourself with store-bought insecticides.

Termite damage to book
Termite damage to book Image By Ji-Elle – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Do termites return to the same spot?

The short answer is yes. They will. Termite colonies are extensive and produce a significant number of termites. No matter how much you try to get rid of them, something has been left behind all the time.

All the treatment options have their limitations, especially spot treatments. If there’s even one termite that survived from the previous bait or barrier treatment, it will be able to rebuild and repopulate the colony again.

On the other hand, if you can eliminate all of the termites in your home, then there’s no reason for them to return. However, this is an extremely difficult task and requires a lot of patience to work correctly.

If you happen to kill off every termite in your home (whether it’s because they were killed by a professional or because you got lucky), they can start up another colony if there are still enough termites left in your yard.

They could start another colony somewhere else on your property and eventually make their way back into your home again once they’ve grown big enough (maybe even stronger than before).

Does my whole house need to be treated for termites?

Whole-house treatment is only necessary if you have large infestations of Drywood termites.

For smaller Drywood termite infestations, you can use localized treatment.

If you have either Dampwood termite or subterranean termite, then the whole structure treatment won’t work.

For these termites, you need to do soil treatment and localized treatment.

That involves treating the exterior of your home and spot treating any infested areas.

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Liquid Termite Treatments

Professional treatments for termite infestations last for five years on average. For this treatment, a termite specialist will dig a trench around the perimeter of your home and apply the liquid treatment in it.

However, it’s possible some termites can make their way into your home if there are gaps in the chemical barrier. For best results, an annual termite inspection can help prevent this risk.

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Termite Bait Stations

Termite bait stations should be monitored and maintained year-round to be effective. A pest control specialist will place the baits around your property where termites are most likely to hang out. 

Termites will take the bait and bring the poisonous back to their colony when bait stations are discovered. As a result, the entire colony will become infecting the other termites. However, it could take months for termites to come across the bait stations, so eliminating the colony may take multiple weeks.

How Did I Get Termites?

There are numerous ways a termite colony can get into your home or office. For example, subterranean termites will enter through door frames, decks, porches, or other structures with wood-to-ground contact.

On the other hand, Drywood termites will enter through cracks or crevices in a building’s structure, which means they can enter any level of your home or office.

Termite illustration

Can a house with termites be saved?

You can treat termites with borax, and some people do. However, there are a few reasons why you should get a professional to handle this job. A professional will be able to analyze the situation accurately and have access to the best equipment for applying treatments and sealing any entry points.

If the termite treatment is not used correctly, you may have problems with returning colonies of termites or developing mold in your home. Since termite control can be complicated, it is usually better to work with an expert.

Is it normal to see termites after treatment?

It is possible that you will see termites after treatment, but this does not necessarily mean the treatment was ineffective.

Termites are a very mobile species, making it difficult to treat all of them. If you notice any activity after treatment, contact your pest control company immediately, and they can assist you with reassessing the situation.

To best treat termites, the infestation must be identified early on before significant amounts of damage have occurred. In addition, termites are active year-round, so it’s essential to be aware of signs of their presence throughout your entire home.

Termite droppings can be confused with sawdust or small piles of dirt in your home. They’re also known as frass. If you see small holes in your walls or other wood surfaces around your home accompanied by what appears to be sawdust or dirt, there might be a termite problem lurking behind the scenes.

How long do termites live after treatment?

It’s impossible to know precisely how long a termite colony will live after treatment because it depends on many factors, such as the type of termite, the severity of the infestation, and how effectively the infestation was treated. However, in most cases, some species can live for up to a year, and in extreme cases, some termites may have a life span that lasts up to 20 years.

The best way to ensure your home is free from termites is to have regular inspections. However, it’s also crucial that you do not ignore any signs of possible infestations so that you can get treatment started as soon as possible, if necessary.

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Remain Vigilant and Protect Your Home From Re-Infestation

Some people assume that once the termites causing their infestation have been killed and their homes repaired, they do not have to worry about future infestations. Sadly, this is one myth that could result in a re-infestation.

The best way to prevent another infestation is with diligence. However, even though your termite treatment technician got rid of the infestation, this does not mean termites won’t be attracted to your home again. Therefore, developing an ongoing treatment and prevention program with your pest control technician is essential.

You need to ensure your house is protected both inside and outside. Termites never stop eating, and they don’t take breaks. So don’t think that you can let your guard down just because you had your home repaired. If you do so, you are putting out a “Welcome” sign to termites.

Preventative measures will help you avoid attracting termites.  

What are the life stages of a termite?

Termites insects are social creatures, and they live in colonies. Colonies contain workers, soldiers, reproductives, and a queen. Therefore, a termite’s life stage depends on its role within the colony.

The egg is the first stage of a termite’s life cycle. The termite egg hatches and becomes a larvae when it reaches this second stage. Larvae are tiny and blind; they cannot move independently and rely on worker termites to carry them back and forth from their food source (wood).

The larvae then molt into nymphs once they have reached the third stage of their life cycle. Once again, nymphs cannot move independently of other members of their colony; they rely on workers to carry them back and forth from their food source until they become adults at age six months to three years, depending on the species.

Adult worker termites can live for up to two years. Still, adult soldier termites survive for less than one year unless an emergency prompts them to undergo regeneration or “budding.” Adult reproductives only live long enough to mate before dying; however, queens can survive as long as decades in some species!

Should I buy a house that has been treated for termites?

While termites can return after treatment, you should be confident that the problem has been adequately solved by the time you buy. To do this, make sure:

  • The treatment was effective. Be sure that a professional treated the house using borate-based liquid foams or bait systems. If they used sprays or dusts, then there is no guarantee that the entire colony will die off—and it’s very likely that at least some of them will survive and start eating your house again.
  • The house will remain protected from infestations in the future. This can be done by having the seller install a termite bait system before you move in or hiring an exterminator to set one up yourself once you’ve bought the place. Bait systems are highly effective ways to kill termites and prevent their return because they work by attracting them with food and then poisoning them as soon as they eat it. A good bait system will cover your home entirely, so there won’t be any gaps where termites could slip through undetected again.
  • The seller isn’t hiding other problems with the house (such as water damage, for example). Termites are drawn to damp environments, so if there are things like leaky sinks or cracked pipes that aren’t being repaired before the sale happens, then you’re probably not going to get rid of all of them when they’re removed once more.

Do it yourself termite treatment options

One of the biggest reasons that homeowners try to treat termite infestations by themselves is how much they cost. Termite treatment costs can be between $1,500 and $3,000, depending on the method used and the size of your home.

For example, fumigation can cost upwards of $2,000 for an average-sized house.

However, there are many do-it-yourself termite treatment options available.

These include:

  • Termites baits and bait stations (which use wood or cardboard to attract termites) – Termite bait stations are most effective when placed in areas where wood is in direct contact with soil.
  • Termite sprays and foams (target termites trying to enter the home). These are most effective in preventing new colonies from starting inside your house.
  • Termite dusts (which kill a more significant number of termites). This type of insecticide is best used around areas that you think may contain a lot of insects, like doorways or windowsills.

When are termites most likely to swarm a house?

Termites are a problem that millions of homeowners face each year. They can cause thousands of dollars in damage and are costly to remove. So, what time of year do termites attempt to move into your house? You may be surprised to learn that the peak season for termite swarmers is right around the corner!

Termite swarmers are reproductive termites that leave their colonies searching for new areas to start colonies. They have large wings and are attracted to light. After swarming, the reproductive termites shed their wings and burrow into wood or other materials, where they begin a new nest.

So when do these swarms occur? It depends on the type of termite. This common type of termite found in the USA are Subterranean termite.

They typically swarm in the spring during the day after a rain event when temperatures are above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they can also swarm later in the year. After swarming, the termites find a mate and set out to establish a new colony.

Inspecting your home regularly will help you spot them before they can cause significant damage to your home.

Conclusion to Do Termites Come Back After Treatment

Termites may cause enormous damage to your home, and you must take preventative measures against them. While they may not be as harmful as other pests, they are persistent and require diligent action to ensure they never come back.

If you suspect that you may have a termite problem in your home, it is critically important that you care about it as soon as possible. It’s entirely possible that it could worsen if left untreated, and the longer you wait to call an exterminator, the higher the chance of a return infestation. So don’t hesitate and call a professional right away.

Termite frequently asked questions

What are some tips to avoid a termite infestation?

Termites are one of the worst pests to have in your home. They can cause a great deal of damage in a very short amount of time. Termite damage may end up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. Therefore, it’s vital to prevent termites from infesting your home. To avoid an infestation, follow these tips:

  • Remove wood from around your house that is touching the ground – Wooden structures in contact with damp soil provide a direct path for termites into your home without their having to build mud tubes above ground. Eliminate this potential entry point by removing any wooden construction materials in contact with the soil, including fencing, steps, patio supports, and retaining walls. Place these components on concrete pads or metal supports to keep them from touching the earth.
  • Never Stack or Store Firewood Against or Near the Home – Your termite control technician will recommend the best location for your firewood pile, which should be several hundred feet away.
  • Never Stack Firewood Directly Onto the Ground – Make sure you never stack firewood directly onto the ground. Instead, build an elevated structure (like those built with cement blocks or brick) and stack the firewood on top of that.
  • Exterior Wooden Structures and all Exposed Wood Coated Should Be Coated or Sealed – You need to make sure your gazebo, shed, garage, or anything in contact with the soil is termite-free. You’ll want it painted or sealed in some form. If it’s not, it could become re-infested.
  • Protect Wooden Fences  – Most lumber used to build fences is treated wood, but treated fencing may lose its effectiveness and get infested with termites unless it is re-treated.
  •  Dead Trees and Shrubbery Should be Quickly From the Property – Termites are attracted to wood that has dried out, such as dead tree trunks and branches. When a tree or shrub dies, it will dry out and become vulnerable to termites. Termites’ primary function in nature is to break down deadwood.
  • Keep mulch away from your foundation wall – Mulch is a favorite food source of subterranean termites because it provides high humidity and easy access to cellulose materials that they eat. When mulch is placed up against a foundation wall of your home, it provides a bridge for the termites to get inside through cracks in the wall.
  • Repair leaky pipes and faucets right away – Termites need water to survive, so they are attracted to moist areas. Standing water in your attic or basement could be why termites are infesting your home. Another reason why they might be attracted to your home is because there is standing water in your gutters. Make sure you install gutter guards so that leaves and other debris don’t clog up your gutters and cause them to overflow.
  • Make sure there are no cracks leading into your house where termites – Inspect your foundation for any gaps that could allow termites to enter your home. Seal these cracks with mortar, cement, or caulk.
  • Keep your home dry – The best way to prevent termites is to reduce the moisture in and around your home. Check for and repair leaky pipes, faucets, and roof leaks that can cause excess moisture in or under your home. Water should be diverted from your home’s foundation by ensuring proper grading, sloping soil, and downspout extensions. Gutters with debris that accumulate water also create favorable conditions for subterranean termites.

What Are Some Signs of a termite infestation?

Termite infestations are hard to spot unless you know what to look for.

Here are common signs of termite infestation

  • Flying termites signify a termite population is ready to expand into new colonies.
  • Mud tubes could be a sign of subterranean termites.
  • A mud tube is made of small pieces of soil and wood.
  • These tubes help protect termites from predators.
  • They also protect termites from dry environments when gathering food.
  • Uneven or bubbling paint could be a sign of termite damage.
  • If you find a small pile of what looks like pellets inside or outside the home, maybe a sign of termite infestation.
  • If you hear a quiet clicking sound coming from the walls, it could signify termite infestation.
  • When worker termites eat your woodwork, they make noises.
  • You can typically hear them eating if you place your ear against your walls.
  • Termites love to eat wood from the inside out, leaving a weak shell.
  • When you knock on an area with termite damage, it will sound hollow.

How dangerous are termites?

Drywood termites are incredibly destructive and one of the most dreaded termites species in the United States.

  • These pests live and nest inside the wood.
  • They are sneaky and can infest your home without being noticed.
  • Drywood termites create multiple scattered colonies inside the wood, making them difficult to locate.

Do Termites die on their own?

All termites will eventually die. But they will not go away on their own.

  • They will not eventually go away if you ignore them.
  • A termite queen can live for decades and lay millions of eggs each year.
  • If left untreated, termites infestations will grow into multiple colonies.
  • Some termite colonies can reach up to one million termites.
  • Termites also do not need much to thrive.
  • They can build colonies by feeding on wood. And your home is enough to feed them for years to come.
  • To eliminate termites, you need to take action.

If I see flying termites are they a sign of an infestation?

  • Flying termites, also known as Alates, are typically the first sign of termite infestation. That’s because, unlike most termites, Alates go out in the open. They fly to leave their nest during a swarm.
  • Swarming describes an event where Alates gather to mate and start a new colony.
  • Alates are future kings and queens. Their primary purpose is to reproduce.
  • If you see a tiny insect with wings inside your home, stop and take a closer look.
  • If it’s a termite, take immediate action and determine how they got inside.
  • See if there is a swarm outdoors.
  • They could enter through an open window or door.
  • If there are no entry points or no swarm outside, you likely have an infestation inside your house.
  • Termite colonies don’t begin producing Alates until colonies have matured. That means that the infestation in your home is large and needs to be addressed immediately.

Do I need an annual termite inspection?

For best results, yearly inspections are recommended after treatment. It is also recommended if you live in high-risk regions such as those with high humidity. If your termite infestation was severe, monthly or quarterly inspections might be necessary.

What are your thoughts on termites?

Have you had experience with them, or do you have someone currently dealing with a termite infestation?

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