11 Termite Facts Every Homeowner Should Know

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There’s a reason why termites are called silent destroyers. It’s because termites can chew through wood deep inside your walls, and the evidence they leave behind isn’t always obvious. Unfortunately for homeowners, it can sometimes take years before the evidence of termite damage is even visible.1 Fortunately, the more you know about termites, the better you can protect your home from the damage they cause. Here are the facts:

  1. Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damage each year, according to the National Pest Management Association. 
  2. Termite damage is rarely covered by homeowners insurance, since most insurance companies view termite damage as preventable. It’s something you can and should prevent. 
  3. Unless you live in Alaska, your house is not safe from termite damage. 
  4. A termite colony can contain 1 million or more termites, and it’s not uncommon for a home to have multiple colonies feeding on it at the same time.
  5. Termites can travel more than 100 yards in search of food.2 That means, if your neighbor’s neighbor’s neighbor has termites, you could too. 
  6. Termites can be on your property without any visible signs of damage. 
  7. Termites only need a 1/16-inch gap (the width of a credit card) to gain access to your home.
  8. Termites are foraging and feeding machines, working around the clock to find food.
  9. Termite foraging activity, which includes searching for and retrieving food, is influenced by environmental factors like climate, soil temperature and moisture. In the United States, foraging termites tend to be most active in the spring, early summer and autumn.1 But, that doesn’t mean they just go away in the winter months. In colder areas of the U.S., termites may still be found feeding on centrally heated structures that are protected from the cold.
  10. Termites have one of the longest life spans of any insect – some termite queens can live up to several decades.2
  11. Despite appearances, termites are thought to have evolved from cockroaches and have been described as social cockroaches. Chances are, you don’t want either of them in your home.2

Don’t let termites turn your house into their next buffet. Consider these facts and find out how much your home is at risk using our termite risk assessment tool.


1Smith, E., and R. C. Whitman. 2007. NPMA Field Guide to Structural Pests, 2nd ed. National Pest Management Association, Inc., Fairfax, VA.

2Mallis, A. 2011. Handbook of Pest Control, 10th ed. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia, PA.


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