Whether you are battling a termite infestation now or you have had one in the past, you might be wondering whether these pests come back after infestation.

The simple answer is yes. Termites can come back after infestation and continue chewing through the wood in your home unnoticed. After fumigation, these critters can still find their way back into the house if you do not create a barrier to prevent re-entry.

It is essential to have your home inspected for termites a few weeks after treatment to ensure that these pests are completely gone. Being proactive can help prevent another infestation.

In this article, we will discuss why termites come back after extermination and how to prevent a re-infestation.

Do Termites Come Back After Treatment

Taking out a termite colony is quite challenging, especially if the colony is huge. Termites are resilient and will keep returning as long as the environment is favorable for them.

After treatment, you should eliminate everything that might attract termites to prevent them from returning.

If you are still seeing these pests after treatment, there are things you could be doing wrong.

Here are 4 reasons why termites come back after treatment.

1. You still have wood-to-ground contact in your home

If you notice termite activity after fumigation, check whether you still have wood touching the ground in your home.

Ideally, subterranean termites enter the house from underground.

On the other hand, dry wood termites must swarm into your home before they start eating through your furniture.

So, as long as wood touches the ground, you will still battle subterranean termites no matter how good the termite treatment is. 

2.You have laid mulch close to the foundation of your home

While termites may not feed on the mulch itself, they can build their colonies underneath.

Laying mulch provides these insects with the much-needed moisture, warmth, and access to food sources, which is everything termites need to thrive.

Worse, if the mulch is not treated or is a softwood mulch, termites will feast on it and eventually find their way back to your home. Hardwood mulch is the best to use as it repels termites.

Landscaping experts recommend laying mulch at least 15 inches away from your home’s foundation to prevent termites in the mulch from getting access to your home. You should also inspect the mulch regularly to ensure there are no termites.

3.You are using the wrong termite treatment

While most homeowners like DIYing their projects, pest extermination should always be left to the professionals. Due to a lack of knowledge and experience, homeowners may use the wrong termite treatment, which means they will not get rid of the infestation effectively.

Termite treatments depend on two factors.

a.The type of termites that have infested your home

Three categories of termites can invade your home–subterranean termites, dry wood termites, and damp wood termites.

Subterranean termites or carpenter ants enter your home from the underground while dry wood and damp wood termites swarm into your home through open windows.

If the pest control company does not know what type of termites are in your home, they might use the wrong treatment method.

For instance, if the treatment method chosen is gas fumigation, all the termites inside the home will die, but the subterranean termites underground will be left unharmed.

The gas used for termite fumigation does not penetrate the ground, so the subterranean termites will find their way back into the house within a matter of time.

b. The level of the termite infestation

Sometimes pest exterminators may misjudge the level of termite infestation, which means the treatment they will offer will be dependent on the visible infestation signs. And if the termite colony is much larger than expected, you will still battle a termite infestation.

To avoid making such misjudgments, exterminators should conduct a proper inspection throughout your home, yard, walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, and basements.

After the treatment, the exterminators should offer weekly, monthly, or annual termite inspections depending on the level of infestation.

c. Your house is full of moisture

You will definitely have a repeat infestation if your home is still full of moisture. Termites cannot survive without moisture, and if your home is damp, these critters will still come back after extermination.

Also, if you have rotting wood, exposed firewood, and decaying tree branches lying around in your yard, you will always see termites even after successful treatment.

Is it normal to see termites after treatment?

Yes, it is normal to see termites after treatment. However, this does not mean that the treatment was unsuccessful. If the main colony is dead, any termites left will leave on their own in search of a new colony.

Termites live in dark areas, away from human beings. Some termites even live inside the pieces of wood they are eating.

Therefore, if the pest control company does not conduct a proper inspection, the treatment might not reach all the termites. In such a scenario, you might still see termites after extermination.

Due to the termite’s ability to hide, you should be proactive and look for signs of infestation.

How often do termites come back after treatment?

After a tent or whole structure fumigation, termites may not come back easily. Once the fumigant is released throughout the structure, it will circulate throughout the house, including between cracks and inside the wood, killing all the present termites.

However, if there is a dry wood termite nest outside the house, the termites can find their way back to your home after just a few weeks.

Heat treatment and fumigation do not penetrate the soil. So, if there are subterranean termites underground, they will not be affected by the treatment and can still infest your home after the treatment.

Therefore, termite control companies should use multiple treatment options to ensure that all termite colonies are eliminated to prevent re-invasion.

How long does the swarming season last

How long does a termite treatment last?

How long a termite treatment lasts mainly depends on factors such as the type of termite, the degree of the infestation, your home’s environment, and the type of treatment used.

Let’s find out how long different termite treatments last.

Treatment typeHow long it lasts
Liquid termite treatment~ 5 year
Termite bait stations~ 1 year
Whole structure treatmentEliminates all termites, but they can return if there is a colony nearby
Dust termite treatmentLasts for as long as the dust is present and dry
Foam termite treatments~ 8 weeks
  • Liquid termite treatment lasts for about 5 years on average. The exterminator usually digs a trench around your home and applies the treatment inside it. This treatment is quite effective, but termites will eventually find their way into your home if they find any gaps in the barrier.
  • Termite bait stations last for about one year and must be monitored and maintained annually to remain effective. Specialists strategically place baits around your home. Termites will then take the poisonous bait and bring it back to their colonies, thus infecting all the other termites.
  • A whole structure treatment is quite effective, and if it eliminates all termites in your home, you will not see termites for a long time. Since full-structure treatments do not prevent termites from entering your home, these critters can still return if there is a colony near your house.
  • Dust termite treatments will last for as long as the dust is present and dry.
  • Foam treatments last for about 8 weeks or so.

If you still see termites after treatment, it does not necessarily mean the treatment failed. A good reason may be that the termites have found a way to navigate around the treatment, finding their way back into your property.

How long does a termite treatment last

How do I stop termites from coming back after treatment?

Now that you know that termites can come back after extermination, it is time to learn how to stop these pests.

Here are some tips to help you prevent termites from returning after treatment.

  • Remove all wood touching the ground inside and outside your home. This will prevent subterranean termites from using these woods as channels to your home.
  • Use treated and hardwood mulch instead of softwood mulch. Also, ensure that the mulch is at least 15 inches away from the foundation of your home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home, and ensure that the firewood is at least 5 inches from the ground.
  • Fix leaks around your home immediately to eliminate moisture and dampness that attract termites.
  • Lay termite granules around your home’s foundation. These granules are excellent in keeping subterranean termites away.
  • Use a bug window screen shield to prevent swarming termites from entering your home through windows.

Does my whole house need to be treated for termites?

A whole-house termite treatment is only necessary if you have a large infestation of dry wood termites.

A localized treatment will be a better option if the infestation is smaller.

If you have damp wood or subterranean termites, a whole-house treatment will not work. This is because the treatment will not penetrate the soil, so you will need to do a localized termite treatment.

How long do termites live after extermination?

How long termites live after treatment depends on factors such as the type of termites in question, the level of the infestation, and the effectiveness of the infestation.

After treatment, termites can live between one to two days before they start to die.

It is recommended to have regular inspections to determine whether the treatment is successful and, if not, perform repeat exterminations until all the termites are eliminated.

Can termites go on their own?

Like all living things, termites will eventually die, but this can be after years and even decades.

Termites cannot easily go away on their own, so if you have an infestation, you will have to exterminate the pests to reclaim your home.

After extermination, you might spot dead termites in your home but may need to perform further inspection to ensure all termites have been killed.

Can termites go on their own

How can I prevent termite infestations?

If you are still seeing termites after treatment, it would be best to request your Pest Control Company for a termite inspection.

Once the exterminators find that you have a termite reinfestation, they will carry out a second treatment.

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Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.