Pest Control

How Long Can Termites Live In Furniture? (You Wont Believe This!)

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Termites live in furniture” from one to two years to ten years .

For example, Worker termites, soldier termites can live in furniture  approximately for about one or two years. On the other hand, Queen termites may live for about 10 years given that they get optimal  living conditions. The most common termite which will live in furniture are worker termites. They would go unnoticed  until the point that someone finds the furniture is damaged and if there are any termite wings remaining on the surface. 

If you could spot any wings, it is a sign of the presence of a reproductive swarm. If you ever come across a termite swarm, you can presume that termites have lived there for 3-5 years.

Termites Live In Furniture

What is the lifespan of a termite?

The lifespan of a termite could vary depending on the place the termites lives and on the social order of the colony. Besides, the life span could be different from one species to another species. However generally it could be from two years to fifty years. The starting point of the life cycle of the termite would be when Queen termite first starts laying the eggs. 

They could lay many numbers of eggs on a daily basis. In fact, some of the termite species can produce eggs from 20, 000 to 30,000 eggs daily.

They first hatch the eggs as nymphs or as immature termites. Overtime they start to grow and will land on a termite social structure. The social classes could be workers, soldiers and reproductive etc. In case the queen termite perishes or if they separate from the nest, a new queen will start to form. That will ensure their colony’s survival despite the death of the queen termite.

If we consider the queen termites of the  Eastern subterranean termites , they can survive for about three decades.

However generally the common queen termite’s lifespan would be around 15-17 years. There could be some African termites’ queens which could live only for 10-12 years. On the other hand, worker termites can live for about two years only.

How to tell if furniture has termites?

If you could locate discarded termites’ wings, you can decide there are termites present in the furniture. Usually, the swarm shed their wings once they land. You could spot the wings they shed in piles usually. So, If you can discover piles of wings on the furniture , it could be due to termite invasion. Next check whether you could spot any termite droppings. Once the termites eat wood, they will keep a substance called frass. It will tend to take the same color as the furniture wood. 

If you find any holes or piles of pellets under the furniture or inside drawers, those are indications of the presence of termites. 

Further check whether you can find any of them in the internal horizontal surfaces of the furniture as well. Besides, try to listen whether you can hear any hollow sounding of the wood. Termites could be so irritating as their damage could go unnoticed for many years. In fact the termite infested wood looks perfectly fine by its outlook, but they could have internal damages due to that. 

You can inspect the furniture by simply giving a small knock or a tap and if they are infested you can hear a hollow sound.

Even though you cannot spot any significant damage in the wood, you will spot the damage they had done in less visible spaces. You could see signs of infestation including frass and they would tend to look like coffee grounds but lighter in color. Besides, you will see sunken spaces or small holes in the interior parts such as drawers.

How to treat termites in furniture?

It is important that you take necessary actions to treat the termite infested furniture as soon as you spot them. However, to first inspect the termite infestation,  you should consult a termite professional to check on it and do a termite inspection. If he finds termites inside your home, they will keep damaging your wood furniture and the structural elements  at your home as well. 

If you could spot the termites inside the structure of your home, you could practice the following two treatment types.

However, you will need to adjust that also depending on the termite type and on the scale of the spread of the termites. You can consider applying a wood treatment so that you can avoid it spreading to the structure of your home if they have infested your furniture. However, ensure that you are getting a consultant’s service to perform this duty so that it will be effective and safe as well.

Fumigation is another way to treat the termites in the furniture.

However, that should also be conducted by a professional exterminator and ideally a trained or a licensed termite control professional needs to do that. You need to check on the furniture type  first before you apply this treatment though.

Termites Live In Furniture

How to get rid of termites naturally

In case the termite infestation is not on a severe level, you may go ahead with the natural ways of getting rid of the termites on the furniture. Exposure to sunlight – Termites prefer to have moist and darker locations and hate to get exposed to proper sunlight. Hence you can leave the furniture under  sunlight for a couple of days. They cannot cope up with the heat and will end up perishing at the end.

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It will help to eliminate the moisture in the furniture and will be effective in stopping the termites damaging it any further too.

Make a cardboard trap – Cardboard consists of cellulose and the smell they have is something that the termites cannot tolerate. You may moisten it with water so that the smell gets more intensified and then leave it closer to the affected area. It will take only a few hours for the termites to lure them on to the open cardboard box. Then you can either discard them or burn them.

You can use parasitic nematodes also to get rid of the termites. They are small worm types, and they will reach into termite larvae and kill them in a short period of time. They are available online  and you may even purchase them at the stores. Using oil treatments and neem oil are two more effective ways of getting rid of the termites naturally. They have an element called d-limonene which could be fatal towards the  termites. You can simply spray the oil or pour it on the affected areas.

Distance between the soil and wood – Chances are that the termites can damage your foundation whilst building their colonies underneath your house. Hence it would be better to build your house far from your lawn or from the garden. The ideal distance between your house and the garden needs to be 18 inches.

Can termites come back after fumigation?

Termite can come back after treatment depending on the scale of the spread of termites. No matter what treatment you apply, you cannot eliminate the termite menace from your home.

They are resilient and will somehow try to return to your house. Having said that, it would usually take about five years for them to get back to your house.

In case if your house is already damaged, they will find it easier to invade them again. Hence it is important that you act accordingly to not infest your home or furniture once again. Hence best would be to go for annual termite inspections so that they cannot re-establish in your home once again. Having said that if you had done the treatment properly, it is very unlikely that they will reestablish in your home once again in the near future.

The  chance of the reestablishment of the dry wood termites in your home after treating them with fumigation is very low. 

If you had administered the fumigation process properly and done it, applying the fumigation on the whole structure would be effective. Having said that, termite can come back if there are any nests outside the house. In fact, it takes a very short period for the new queen to lay her first batch of eggs once they complete mating. Hence termites can return after a few weeks’ time. it could be still somewhat difficult to detect them before they spread on a vast scale. 

I suggest you go ahead with a professional service for termite fumigation. If you make sure that you are using the right products and the right products ,you can stay termite free for about five years.

Should I throw away furniture with termites? / How should you dispose the termite infested wood

You might think burning the termite infested wood is easy and that you can get rid of them faster, but it could be dangerous for you as well as for the people surrounded by. It would be difficult to have a controlled fire and if you fail to do it properly you are putting other people also into danger as it could spread to  other areas as well.  

If it is a painted wood that you are planning to burn, you should not do that at all. If the painted wood was too old, there is a high probability for the paint to have lead and consequently it will release the toxins into the air. 

It could be harmful for the rest of the people as well. Ideally you need to take the painted wood somewhere else and then dispose of it properly.

Avoid burying the termite infested wood as well.  Never bury the wood which has been treated with termite control products as it will have a greater chance of attracting the termites’ colonies more. When you bury the food it is more like you are delivering a food source directly to termites in the surrounding.

In case if you live somewhere closer to a water source and if you are disposing of trees , chances are that they could contain termites. 

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Hence, when you dispose of trees, ensure that you cut them into small sections which you can easily take for the disposal. When you complete disputing the bulk of the trees, ensure that you do not leave any debris around too. Ideally you need to seal these into bags and take them to a landfill. Next it is up to the sanitization units to pick them up.

Can termites spread from furniture?

If there are termites in your furniture, there is a high probability of them invading the other parts of your home as well. For example, termites can spread to furniture from  bookcases, vanities, and cabinets. If we consider the dry wood termites, they could be more troublesome than the other  termites. They could be so invasive and damage the wooden furniture and from there they can invade other invisible cracks in the house.

Termites Live In Furniture

Do termites nest in furniture?

Dry wood termites can nest in the furniture. They in fact want low moisture levels for their breeding process as well as for survival. If they come across any soft and old wooden furniture, they can build nests on them. You can commonly find them in chairs, tables and even in your cupboards.

How do you find a termite nest?

They would tend to look like tunnels, and they would be pencil thick and the width would be about one inch. Further if you can spot any cream-colored insects when you break them, it could be an indication of the termite infestation and on their nests.

Termites usually build discrete and concentrated nests. You could spot some nests from slightly above ground levels as mounds. 

Besides, there could be nests which you can find underground. Termites use particles of fine clay, chewed wood , saliva and excreta to build nests. Further when the termites build nests, they put their fecal matter to the cement particles.

Will termites go away on their own?

They can leave a certain place  on their own. However, chances are that they can come back to your house on their own too. If you do not apply a healthy termite treatment, chances are that they can come back to your house and re infest the structure of your home.

How quickly can termites infest?

Termites can spread easily, and they can infest your house with just a little space given.  They in fact want a very shorter period to infest. Their multiplication would also take place within a short period too. Hence it is up to the homeowners to act fast and overcome them. Termites usually live in colonies, and they could spread more than 100 feet from their epi center.

What happens if termites go untreated?

If you do not treat termites , they will damage your kitchen , bathroom, and the cabinets as well. Termites can reach anywhere where they can find food which they will use to feed the queen, soldiers and the workers. Hence you should ensure that you have a closer check on your entire house. Besides, your floor may fall apart. You could mainly spot the termite infestations on the floor as that is where the dirt gets in contact. 

If you do not treat the termites, they could be so dangerous as they can cause extensive destruction in the house as well as to the floor. Ultimately the floor will fall apart.

Besides, the stairs which are made with wood can also get damaged. Termites are fond of wood. Hence, if there is any structural support such as stairs made with wood, they could fail due to the termite attacks and if you do not treat them. After all, if you do not attend to eliminate the termite infestation, your house will be in trouble. It could be so risky to the level that they can lay about 40,000 eggs on a daily basis and over 10 million in one year.

How long does it take termites to destroy a home?

The duration that termites take to destroy a house can vary on several factors such as moisture, warmth and on the age of the colony. However, a single termite can eat a 1000 square foot within 3144 years’ time. Further they will not be destroying your house alone. Instead, they do it as colonies.

Termites can move at different speeds depending on environmental conditions.

For example, if there is moisture available, termites can destroy your house at a remarkably faster rate. Further they can reproduce faster too. Hot weather conditions are quite unhealthy for the termites. On  the other hand, moisture level would be optimal conditions for the termites. Hence it is important that you rectify whatever the leaks and the stranding pools of water  and then remove them. That will create less humidity levels available for the termites which will be less attractive for the termites.  

Besides moisture, if there is heat available, termites can destroy your house massively and faster.

Apart from that the age of the colony also impacts on the way they destroy the house. For example, the matured termite colony can destroy the house faster than a new colony. In other words, a new termite colony will have only one hundred thousand workers where there will be over 2 million worker termites in an older colony. Older colonies can destroy the entire house within a short period like one or two years.

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Termites Live In Furniture 1 1

Is it bad to live in a house with termites?

Termites do not harm humans directly. However, they may have adverse effects on human health though.

Termites and Health Issues

When the termites sting you, you will have wounds which are not toxic. Furthermore, they do not infect you with any diseases. However, chances are that the people who live in termite infested houses may suffer from asthma or allergic reactions. If there are any heating or ventilation systems in the house it would spread  termite saliva and droppings from the termite nests. As such if you take necessary actions to prevent the termites infesting your house, it will help to avoid the unwanted health issues.

Besides, there will be a health impact from pesticide you use to overcome  the termite infestations.

Hence it is critical that you consult a pest control expert to use these chemicals before you apply them. Apart from these, there could also be few harmful effects as well. For example, the people who are not allergic  to asthma may suffer from minor health issues due to the termites.

Can a termite infested house be saved?

You can hardly save a termite infested house. Having said that, you could save houses which are infested by certain termite types.  However, if you have not treated the termite infestation for too long it is very unlikely that you can save the house. If we consider the dry wood termite, they will take about 20 years to create a greater damage and it is very unlikely that you can repair the house.

Generally, homeowners can track a termite infestation before they destroy the house entirely.

Hence , periodic inspections will help you to identify if there is any termite infestation in your house at an early stage. Then the damage would be minimal, and you can repair them easily too. You can repair the termite infested houses by two main ways. You can either replace the damaged sections of wood completely or provide some support  adjacent to damaged wood.

You could conduct this kind of repair for structural  repairs  and for nonstructural  repairs  also. However, repairing the structural repairs is more challenging. 

Ensure that you provide  additional support you can provide to maintain the home’s establishment. Ideally you may contact local contractors to have an idea on the estimate before you repair the termite infested houses.

Besides, you should ensure that you are treating the termites before you make the repairs. You can reverse the termite damage by repairing. However, homeowners should first contact a local termite specialist and then conduct the repairs. You need to  go for repairs upon your  licensed pest professional instructions only. Then they will evaluate and instruct you as to what exactly needs to be repaired. Further they will advise you on the new precautionary steps you need to take , to avoid further repairs too.

Eventually when you assure that  your home has no more termites left, you can repair the existing repairs.

Can termites go through concrete?

Termites can go through concrete and reach the foundation of your house also.

Can termite damage walls?

Termites can damage walls. Termites can infest the walls particularly as termites can access the walls from the ground. The indications  of the damage to walls are such small pin holes, faint lines, peeling paint , jammed doors or windows etc. 

You can spot the small pin holes, when the termites eat through the paper coating on the wallpaper. Further chances are that you can spot dirt in the holes as well. 

Further you will be able to see a map of the termite’s tunnel as well. Besides, you can listen to a hollow sound when you give it a slight tap as well. It would be hard to spot them when  they hide in the walls. Hence it is very unlikely that you can spot them.

Why do termites never sleep?

Termites never sleep and that is why they can create such significant damage to the humans’ structures. They can stay awake and feed for 24 hours right throughout one whole year without any interruptions. Instead of sleeping termites are more interested in being occupied. Hence, they do not need refreshments like humans or any other higher order  animal do.

References 

  1. Govorushko, S., 2019. Economic and ecological importance of termites: A global review. Entomological Science22(1), pp.21-35.
  2. Snyder, T.E., 1969. Control of nonsubterranean termites (No. 2018). US Department of Agriculture.
  3. Williams, L.H., 1973. Controlling wood-destroying beetles in buildings and furniture (No. 558). US Department of Agriculture.
Credit to : RovePestControl

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I'm Dr. Chamika and I'm a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. Our highly qualified team is trying to educate you in various aspects of the day to day life in many ways. Their mission is to help others to enjoy their life to the fullest.