Termites do not function well during the winter months. This is a good thing for residents of Massachusetts where winters can be notably harsh. Unfortunately, experts believe that both snowfall and increasingly warm spring and summer seasons are influencing the size of termite populations that emerge each spring in Massachusetts.

Research concerning termite activity during the winter is scarce, and it remains somewhat of a mystery as to whether termite populations die-off or somehow manage to survive during long bouts of winter cold. It is currently understood that subterranean termites die during the winter unless they can secure a living space below the soil’s frostline where temperatures are not as cold as outside temperatures. According to Massachusetts entomologist Bob Russell, melting snow provides surviving termites with an abundant source of moisture that is essential to sustaining termite life.

Since termites move more slowly in cold temperatures, they will die unless a water source is brought directly to their location in soil come springtime. Therefore, larger amounts of melting snow will bring water to a greater amount of largely dormant termites, causing termite populations to boom come spring and summer. Other studies show that the frostline in northeastern states and up into Canada is becoming shallower with each passing year due to progressively warmer global temperatures. A shallower frostline will allow more termites to survive winters in Massachusetts. In fact, it is likely that already existing termite colonies will simply become larger with each passing year in the state, as the projected temperature increase in the north is more than enough to provide termites with suitably warm soil all year round. Theoretically, termites in the south may find more suitable environmental conditions in the north since, unlike southern environments, the north provides consistently moist soil year round. All that is needed to make Massachusetts and surrounding northeastern states the most termite-friendly region in the US is a mere average temperature increase of a few degrees fahrenheit.

Do you believe that the rate of termite destruction will increase in Massachusetts in the near future?