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How Long Does It Take for Termites to Do Damage?

Published June 15th, 2021 by Vision Pest Control

No one wants termites in their home. 

Termites eat wood and they can do massive amounts of damage to any structure they infest.

These little creatures multiply quickly and can take over a space quicker than you might ever guess.

If you find yourself asking the question, "How long does it take for termites to do damage?" then you may be surprised at the answer.

Read on to learn more about termites and the damage they can cause.

The Worst Thing About Termites

Even the mention of termites can make one's skin crawl.

There are several different species of termites. Many of them live in the ground. You may have seen photos of mounds in Africa that were made by termites that can be as much as seventeen feet tall. These creatures are tiny, but they work together in large communities to accomplish big things.

Other species of termites live in dry wood. It's these termites that you're likely concerned with here in the United States, and you're likely familiar with the massive amounts of damage termites can cause in a home or other structure. 

Although termites are interesting and incredible, no one wants to experience damage in their home.

The worst thing about termites is that you don't even know they're there until they've likely already done a great deal of damage.

Much of the damage that termites do is inside your walls. If you're seeing damage on exterior surface, you have yourself a larger infestation than you probably think. 

Facts About Termites

Termites are only about an eighth of an inch in size; that's very tiny! A single termite couldn't do much damage to anything. It would take one termite years to create a mark that you could see from a foot away, and a termite's life span is only about two years.

However, termites never live alone. In fact, they live in colonies with hundreds or even thousands of other termites. The largest colony ever recorded consisted of over three million insects.

These colonies are always active. The colony is working and eating wood twenty-four hours a day. Meanwhile, their queen is laying eggs over and over again. Some species of termites have queens who can lay as many as fifteen to twenty-five eggs per minute.

You can see how this can become a very large problem very quickly.

Termites cause over five billion dollars in property damage each year worldwide.

How Long Does It Take for Termites to Do Damage?

The question "how long does it take for termites to do damage?" is a common one. Now that you know a bit more about termites than you did before, you can likely imagine that they can do a great deal of damage in a very short time. 

The speed at which termites do damage depends on the size of the colony. Many colonies can eat as much as one pound of wood each day. They need the cellulose in wood to survive

That may not sound like much, but it adds up fast. A two-by-four inch piece of wood can be consumed in a couple of months; if that two-by-four is supporting your walls or roof, you may have a big problem on your hands. 

It's not possible to accurately determine when an infestation began or how long it has been present in a building because colonies grow at different rates depending on a number of factors.

However, in most cases, when a termite colony infests a building, the damage will be very evident within three to eight years. Again, keep in mind that much of the damage won't be visible at first because it's inside your walls. If you can see damage on your home's interior or exterior walls, chances are that you've had termites for quite some time.

Signs of Termites

Clearly, you'll want to find out if you have termites before it gets to that point. There are a number of different signs you can look for even if you can't see any termites or any termite damage yet. 

One way to check for termites in your walls is to hit the walls in several places with a heavy object like a screwdriver. If certain parts of your walls sound hollower than others, then you may have termites there.

If your walls are painted, it may appear that the paint is bubbling in some places. This look can be caused by termites. You may even be able to see small trails where they have passed between the paint and the drywall, or under your wallpaper if you have any.

How to Keep Your Home Safe from Termites

Staying ahead of termites is crucial to keep your home structurally sound now and forever.

If you think you have termites, call a pest control professional immediately.

Even if you don't think you have termites right now, you should have a termite inspection done at least every other year. If you live in an area where termite infestations are common, you should have it done every year. These inspections may seem unnecessary, but if a pest control company finds termites in your home, you'll be glad that you took the time and spent the money to find out.

Don't underestimate termites. As you can see, they can cause massive damage in a very short time. They may be small, but they are powerful. Being on the lookout for them before they settle into your walls can save you many thousands of dollars down the road.

Think You Might Have Termites?

If you're looking for experienced, effective pest control services in the Los Angeles metro area, please contact us today. We can help with termite removal and so much more. Let us help you control and avoid pests in your home and on your property. We can't wait to hear from you.


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