This guide has a comprehensive list of reasons why do termites come back after treatment.
In this post, you’ll get to know four reasons that attract termites back to your home.
Knowing these reasons will help you to take steps to avoid termite re-infestation.
And the best part? We’ve revealed those steps too.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the topic!
Why Do Termites Come Back After Treatment? – 4 Reasons Revealed
Termites are challenging pests to kill.
They are resilient, and they have a habit of coming back.
A recent survey covered 1329 homes across the US that underwent termite treatment. A staggering 37.3% of them had termite re-infestation.
Even though reputable termite exterminators do their job right, not many of them will tell you how to stop termites from coming back after treatment.
But fear not, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the four reasons that allow termites to invade your home again.
There’s Still Wood In Your Home That’s Touching The Ground
Now let’s face it, subterranean termites enter your home from underground.
In contrast, drywood termites swarm into your home before they drill through the wooden furniture or structural lumber to infest.
Having woods touching the ground, or even planted in the ground, is a sure way to bring subterranean termites again into your home.
No matter how much you spent on termite treatment or how good the pest control company was, if you’ve wood connecting your home and the ground, termites will come back.
Mulch Is Close To Your Home’s Foundation
Mulches invite termites. It’s a proven fact.
Termites feast on mulch, and they make their colonies beneath the mulch layer.
Choose a softwood mulch that termites love to eat, and you’ll have termites in your yard, which, after a few days, will enter your home.
That’s why always use hardwood mulch.
But there’s a way to use even hardwood mulch, which we’ve covered later in the post.
You can check our post best mulches to avoid termites if you want to get deep into it.
Wrong Termite Treatment
This is important.
Many homeowners make a mistake in choosing the suitable termite treatment for their homes.
But that’s not their fault.
No one expects a homeowner to know the ins and outs of termites.
It’s the pest controller’s job to educate you on how termites can come back after treatment.
Termite treatment depends on two factors –
- The type of termite infested your home.
- The criticality of the termite infestation.
Let’s look at each of them.
Type Of Termite Infested Your Home
Most commonly, two types of termites can infest your home.
They’re either subterranean termites or drywood termites. In some cases, both.
Drywood termites come in swarms and enter your home through open windows and doors.
Once they’re inside, they’ll infest your furniture and the structural wood of your home.
In contrast, subterranean termites will invade your home from underground.
What if the termite exterminator makes a mistake in determining what kind of termite is in your home?
He’ll administer the wrong treatment.
Or he’ll not use measures that can protect your home from either of the termites.
For example, the termite exterminator used gas fumigation for drywood termites.
But it’s the subterranean termites that have infested your home.
Fumigation will kill the subterranean termites inside your home, without a doubt.
But it won’t kill the termites living underground.
The gas used during termite fumigation, which is known as sulfuryl fluoride or Vikane, doesn’t penetrate the ground.
So, even if the fumigation process killed all the termites inside your home, it has left the subterranean termites underneath the ground alive.
It’s only a matter of time before they strike back.
The Criticality Levels Of Termite Infestation
Suppose a termite exterminator makes a mistake in judging the severity of the infestation.
In that case, he’ll administer a half-baked or incomplete treatment.
The exterminator can administer the proper treatment only if he has zeroed in on the type of termite and infestation level.
Exterminators make a mistake by making judgments based on only the signs of infestation they can easily spot.
The exterminator shouldn’t limit his inspection only based on where you’ve spotted the termites.
Your Home Is Full Of Moisture
Termites love moisture.
Moisture is a termite’s basic survival needs.
If your home has high dampness levels, then surely, termites will come back after treatment.
Couple it with pieces of rotting wood or exposed firewood in your yard.
You’ll have a ton of termites ready to invade your home.
Plus, organic debris, like foliage, and decaying twigs of trees lying around in your yard or garden, also attract termites.
Later in the post, you’ll get to know how to control the dampness levels of your entire home.
How To STOP Termites From Coming Back After Treatment?
Now that you know termites can come back after treatment, it’s time to check out how you can stop them.
It’s easy. Just address the reasons we mentioned above.
Here are the seven steps that will stop termites from coming back after treatment.
First, remove the woods, acting as a bridge between your home and the ground.
It’ll stop the subterranean termites from using those woods to invade your home.
Second, use hardwood mulch instead of softwood mulch.
Keep the mulch at least a foot and a half away from your home’s foundation.
Hardwood mulch repels termites.
And termites won’t be able to use it as a bridge to sneak inside your home, just like they’d do when you keep a softwood mulch.
If you’ve mulch that has termites, use nematodes on the mulch to kill termites before replacing it.
Nematodes are tiny roundworms that penetrate termite’s bodies and kill them.
Third, hire a termite exterminator that provides a warranty after treatment.
Warranties always help.
Even though some termite treatment with warranties is 10%-20% expensive than termite treatment without warranties, it buys you security and peace of mind.
You can also get into an arrangement like quarterly pest control with the exterminator at a nominal cost.
The pest controller will visit your home every three months to check your home not only for termites but also for other invasive pests like bed bugs.
And if he finds any, then you’ll get a complete treatment against the pests at no extra costs.
Fourth, keep firewood away from your home on a raised platform or a cemented foundation.
Firewood touching the ground is a perfect invitation for subterranean termites.
Wet soil or rain decays firewood.
With the high levels of cellulose in firewood that termites feed on, moisture attracts thousands of termites.
It’d be best if you cover the firewood with a plastic cover to shield it off from rain.
Also, keep your yard and gutters clean.
Eliminate any pieces of rotting wood and foliage from your yard and gutters.
It’ll not only keep the termites away from your yard, but also many bugs like roaches and centipedes.
Fifth, eliminate moisture or dampness from your home by fixing leaking pipes.
Also, make sure that you don’t have any waterlogging problems in your yard or basement.
On top of it, the soil area around your home’s foundation should also be dry.
High moisture levels attract subterranean termites that can cause them to show up from underground.
Also, seal any cracks and fissures on your home’s walls that termites, and other bugs, can use as an entry point.
Sixth, use termite granules around your home’s foundation.
Termite granules are an excellent defense against subterranean termites that attack your home from underground.
The way to use it is by scattering it around your home’s foundation and sprinkling water over it.
After soaking the water, termite granules go deep into the soil.
The chemicals present in it kill all the subterranean termites lurking underground to invade your home.
That’s how termite granules work.
Seventh, use bug window screen shields to prevent drywood termites swarm from entering your home.
As you know now, drywood termites infest your home by entering your home in swarms.
So, using a bug window screen shield goes a long way to keep them from entering your home.
When choosing a bug window screen, make sure you buy the ones with small mesh.
And, most importantly, don’t forget to use the shield on the windows of your bathroom and basement.
How Long Do Termites Live After Treatment?
Termite treatment, when done thoroughly by an experienced termite exterminator and with proper post-treatment inspection, can easily last for 4-5 years.
Tenting or fumigating the entire home is necessary when drywood termites infest your home.
Once through with the treatment, termites can live for a day or two before they start to die.
Pest controllers will give you a period, usually two days, after which you can enter your home post fumigation.
Do not enter your home straight away after fumigation treatment.
Fumigation or tenting is a process of injecting pesticides inside your home’s structure to kill drywood termites.
These pesticides have residual toxicity that is dangerous for you and even for pets.
The residual toxicity, and the decrease in dampness in wood, is the reason you will keep spotting dead termites inside your home days after fumigation termite treatment.
Please do consult with your pest controller before you move into your home after fumigation.
When it comes to subterranean termites, it’s a bit unpredictable how long the treatment will last.
For instance, if the exterminator didn’t treat the soil around your home against termites. He didn’t set up any chemical barriers around your home, either.
Then in both cases, the treatment won’t last long.
That’s the main reason you need a quarterly pest inspection to always keep a tab on your home’s overall health.
How To Know How Much Damage Termites Have Done?
It’s quite dangerous to live in a home that termites had damaged.
Post termite treatment, it’s vital to assess the damage termites did.
If termite infestation was severe, then chances are termites had infested the structural wood of your home.
A weak, damaged, and hollow structural wood won’t be able to handle the weight of your home.
The home will press down on the damaged woods, add stress on them, and it’ll break the structural lumber of your home.
It’ll also result in dangerous living conditions like bowing sidewalls, sagging floors and ceilings, and even a weak roof that can fall down any time.
So, for your safety, you must repair these damages.
To know how much damage termites have done, you need to look at places where termites cause heavy damages that put your home and life at risk.
Here are the critical areas of the home where termites cause damages –
- Wooden floors
- Home support beams or structural wood.
- Wall studs
- Floor and ceiling joists
- Roof supports
- Wood panels
It is costly to repair these damages if the extent of damages is severe.
That’s why it makes a lot of sense to do a quarterly pest inspection post-treatment.
It keeps you on your toes, and you can check if termites are coming back.
After the inspection, a reliable termite exterminator will give you a twofold report.
That report will explicitly mention the extent of damages and your home areas that are under threat. It’s, of course, if they can detect termite infestation.
Suppose the exterminator finds early signs of termites making a comeback. In that case, he’ll do the necessary pest control to get rid of them.
Do not take the damage caused to your home by termites lightly.
It’d be best and safe if you repair the damages as soon as you spot them.
Do Termites Die On Their Own?
There’s a belief that termites die on their own.
Yes, like every creature on this planet, termites also die on their own.
But does that mean that you should wait till nature takes its course and let the termites die their death?
Of course not.
Termites will not go away from your home on their own.
You’ve to get rid of termites before it’s too late.
Termites make nests, or colonies, inside the structure that they infest.
So, there would be generations and generations of termites inside your home unless you act.
The termites that can reproduce will keep reproducing to expand the colony and find new food sources.
Many homeowners observe a reduction in termite activity in their homes or yard during winters.
It leads to them presume that termites have died.
But that’s not the case.
To escape the cold weather, subterranean termites will go deep into the ground. They will lie dormant till temperatures become normal.
In contrast, the drywood termites inside your home will continue feeding because the temperature inside your home’s wood is warm.
Believing that termites die on their own and hence they’ll go away will only increase the severity and extent of damage inside your home.
Termites can come back after treatment.
In this post, we’ve covered a lot of ground.
You’ve got to know why termites can come back and what you can do to stop them from coming back.
Plus, we’ve also explained why a regular inspection for termites by an experienced termite exterminator is critical in keeping termites away.
Besides, you’ve also found some critical information on assessing the damage that termites can cause and where to look for them.
It’s not rocket science to stop termites from coming back.
All you need is a bit of awareness and follow the steps mentioned in the post.
We’re Mark and Jim, and we’re retired pest controllers who made homes pest-free for more than three decades. We, along with our team of experts, founded this site to give you the pest control hacks that work.