How Long Does It Take Termites to Destroy a House?

Termites are minute, eusocial pests that feed on organic matter like woodchips, decayed wood logs and pieces, leaf litter, and soil.

They have certain, unique bacteria, enzymes, and protozoa, through which they are able to feed on cellulose, the organic fibrous material present in woods.

Termites may be extremely small in size but they have the ability to cause severe, irreparable damage to your wooden furniture and infrastructure. They can easily hide anywhere in your home and create a huge colony.

There are two common categories of termites: Swarmers and Workers

Swarmers  are the reproductive entities of the colony as they assist in growing and expanding the colony.

Workers  are the industrious entities in the colony as they establish nests and mud tubes, and effectively work in bringing wood to the colony in the form of food.

How long does it take termites to build Mud Tubes?

Mud Tubes are made up of soil, wood, combined with termite saliva, and are a sign that your house has been infested by termites.

Termites expand their colonies by connecting the soil underground to the food source available above the ground, with the help of multiple mud tubes.

They travel through mud tubes on the open ground in search of food, and hence, can create long mud tubes within a couple of days.

How long does it take termites to destroy a house?

It would take a single termite over 3,000 years to eat up all the wood in an ordinary 1,000 sq. ft. home. But, since a large number of termites live together in huge colonies, they tend to multiply quickly.

The largest of termite colonies have the potential to consume one pound of wood within 24 hours!

When a termite colony infests your house, it would take about three years for noticeable damage to take place since the scale and rate of the damage depends on the colony size.

If a colony is big enough, it can destroy all the wooden elements present in your home within a duration of eight years.

How do you prevent your house from Termite Infestation?

It would cost thousands of dollars for reparation of the wooden structures destroyed by termite colonies in your house.

Therefore, it is important that you constantly look out for signs of termite infestation in and around your house, and plan a proper termite inspection and service in case of any emergency.

In order to prevent your house from termite infestation, you should follow the preventive steps mentioned below:

  • Remove all the moisture from your house as termites thrive on moisture.
  • Repair any leaking nozzles, water pipes, and exterior air conditioner units, as soon as you get to know about them.
  • Repair all the portico, soffits, and rooted roof gravels.
  • Replace the weather shedding and loose mortar around the basement footings and windows.
  • Regularly check your home’s foundation for any sign of mud tube(s) or wood that appears or sound hollow when tapped.
  • Avert water away from your property through properly functioning downspouts, channels, and splash blocks.
  • Inspect all exterior areas of wood, including doorframes, windows, and skirting boards for any visible changes.
  • Keep a gap of at least 18 inches between the soil and any wood pieces in your home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your house.
  • Annually conduct a professional termite inspection.
  • If you are buying a new home, thoroughly check all the infrastructure, especially wooden furniture, for any termite infestation.


You must constantly keep a check on termites and other pests even before they cause severe damage because they are extremely hard to get rid of.

You should take the preventive steps mentioned above to avoid their infestation and take help from exterminators as soon as you notice any sign of termite or any other pest infestation.