How Fast Do Termites Spread? {How Fast Can They Eat Through Wood?}

Are you worried about a termite infestation? How Fast Do Termites Spread?

Will it take a few hours, days or weeks for termites to spread their colony throughout your home? What are the best options to get rid of them?

In this article, we will discover how fast termites spread and much more information that may interest you regarding these home destroying pests.

How Fast Do Termites Spread?

Termites spread as fast as the surrounding conditions allow them to. Some factors include the amount of wood, moisture, maturity of the colony and the weather.

A queen termite can lay up to 30,000 eggs in a day. She can lay 10 million eggs a year. Each colony consists of tens of thousands of individual termites.

How Do Termites Create New Colonies?

Termites are capable of tunneling through soil. They create tubes and begin to spread throughout the cracks or crevices in your home. Their aim is to enter and swarm areas consisting of wooded areas.

If you find out that a neighbor has a termite problem it’s time for you to take action. Your best method of proactive control is to contact a termite control company for an inspection.

Do Termites Multiply Quickly?

Yes. It takes a very short time to end up with thousands of termites. In about 2 to 3 days a termite Colony can multiply into thousands of members which turns into a considerably large size infestation.

This is why it’s important for anyone owning a property to take action as soon as they feel that there could be a possibility of termites inside their home.

An inspection from a professional is the most surefire way of knowing whether or not you have a termite issue that needs addressing.

How Long Does it Take Termites to Eat a Whole House?

An average sized termite Colony can eat 1/5 of an ounce of wood in a single day. Imagine a single 2 x 4 wooden board being devoured completely in about 6 months. The average size colony is about 300,000 worker termites.

A queen termite can deliver up to 10 million eggs in a year. At 300,000 workers a cubic foot of wood can be consumed. Unfortunately, the colony will continue to grow. Once the colony reaches in the millions, an entire house can be eaten in 2 years.

How Do Termites Spread?

Termites spread easily because they live in colonies. There is an epicenter and they begin to spread more than a hundred feet every direction.

Some termites forage for food in order to help the colony survive. They feed off of the cellulose in wood.

Termites spread in two ways:

  1.  Reproductive termites mate with winged males
  2.  Intricate tunnel building


A winged female queen termite flies out and mates in the air with a swarming winged male. She then lands in an area that she finds suitable.

This is when she sheds her wings and begins to lay eggs. The termite colony can spread to thousands within a few days.


Termites build expansive tunnels in many directions from the epicenter where the queen is located. They spread out 100 feet in every area looking for cellulose in wood.

They are foraging and hit jackpot when they access anything made of wood. These tunnels continue to spread through walls and building foundations.

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What Are The Signs To Indicate Termites In Your Home?

It’s time to pay close attention to figure out if you may have a termite infestation. Look for the following signs:

  • Damp walls
  • Moisture
  • Stains
  • Mud trails
  • Dried mud on door joints
  • Mud along architraves of windows
  • Blisters along baseboards (skirting boards)
  • Wood chips and dust
  • Soft floorboards
  • Power failures
  • Flying ants in the fall and spring

It’s time to contact a professional termite control company to inspect your home if you notice some of the signs above. Do not allow a termite infestation to spread.

Is It Hard To Get Rid of Termites?

The warmer the weather, the harder it is to control a termite infestation. They love moisture in the air and in wood or soil.

Dish soap, vinegar or boric acid are three examples of DIY methods to get rid of termites, but because they spread so rapidly, it might not be enough for you to act alone. An infestation gets out of hand without a full inspection.

Termites build tunnels expanding over 100 feet in all directions from the epicenter of their colony. This makes it hard to figure out the extent of their full infestation in your property. A professional should be called in to check this out for you.

How Do You Know If You Have a Termite Infestation?

There are some telltale signs that may indicate a possible termite infestation. Do you see any of the following?

  • Discolored walls
  • Drooped drywall
  • Peeled paint
  • Solid wood that sounds hollow
  • Pinpoint holes in the wall
  • Floorboards buckling
  • Loosened tiles
  • Increased moisture in floors, doorways, baseboards

This is a starter list. There are plenty of other indicators, but they might be too hard to notice.

Termites could be busy digging long, expansive tunnels under and around your building’s foundation. A professional inspection might be in order.

How Quickly Can Termites Destroy a Home?

A queen can lay up to 30,000 eggs in a single day. This quickly multiplies into a colony that spreads in the millions.

Once a colony reaches up to two million termites, this means they have found the perfect conditions to create the most amount of damage.

This could range from a perfect climate that is moist, damp or humid to plenty of cellulose discovered in wood to devour. A home can be completely destroyed within 1 to 2 years with 2 million or more termites working together.

How Long Does It Take Termites to Eat Through Wood?

Termites can eat through wood fairly quickly. To understand the amount of time that it would take for a colony of termites to eat through a foot long 2 x 4 would depend on the right conditions, climate, location and type of wood.

Termite experts have claimed that a colony of 60,000 or more termites can devour a 1 ft beam of wood that is 2 x 4 in size in about 5 to 6 months.

Can You Hear Termites Eating in Your Walls?

If there are a significant amount of termites infesting your home you might be able to hear them inside the walls. The sound resembles a soft clicking noise. Worker termites are eating through your wood and making clicking sounds as they are doing so.

Place your ear close to the wall and listen to the sounds of clicking. If you hear them, this means you must be looking at a severe infestation. Listening to the possible sound of termites is not your best bet at inspecting your home for a possible infestation.

There are many other signs such as moist wood or blisters in the wood. The best method of inspection is calling a professional to fully investigate the size and severity of a possible termite infestation.

How Long Do Termites Live in a House?

Termite colonies have a life cycle of 1-2 years. Under the right conditions a colony can continue to thrive for longer than that.

Termites can live in a house for a couple of years if they are left unnoticed. At this point they will create significant damage to the framing, joints, drywall or foundations.

A queen termite can survive up to 10 years under the right conditions. The climate must be warm, damp and humid for termites to live longer.

How Many Days Do Termites Swarm?

Termite survive in swarms that can last a few weeks. The starting and ending point of a termite swarm depends on the weather and other climate conditions.

Seeing a group of flying termites is concerning if they are near your home. The closer these pests get to your property, the larger the risk you have an infestation taking over.

If the weather is warm and the conditions are damp or moist, the swarm of termites can continue to swell for more than a couple of weeks.

What Time of the Year are Termites Most Active?

Termites are most active during warm weather conditions. This is when they will spread rapidly. Typically, spring and summer months are when swarms of termites are most active.

Calm winds with some rainfall or moisture create perfect conditions for termites to spread. Dry wood termites like to spread more in the late summer to early fall.

During this time, they will be attracted to wooden structures that are ideally moist or damp.


Please call a professional termite control company if you suspect a possible termite infestation. This is one of the most serious pest management situations that could cost you much more money on the back end if termites significantly damage your home.

A DIY solution of using vinegar or even boric acid may help kill termites, but it’s hard to be sure that you have eliminated their tunnel system and complete colony that is hiding out of plain sight.


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