Can You Live in a House with Termites?

Every year, the U.S loses billions of dollars to damage caused by termites. Termites feed primarily on wood, but can damage insulation, books, paper, filtration systems, and swimming pool liners.

Termites can also cause harm to shrubs and trees, though usually, they are secondary invaders of an already declining woody plant.

But can you live in a house with termites? Is it safe with an active infestation?

This depends on the level of infestation and type of treatment. If it’s extensive, you may need to move out during treatment.

This article answers the following questions about termite-infested houses:

  • Can you live in a house during termite treatment?
  • Is it possible that the building will collapse?
  • What are your options?

Can You Live In a House With Termites?

Termites are probably the most dangerous pest infestation your home could ever be subject to. They not only bite, sting, contaminate food, and spread diseases like other pests, but are also dangerous to your home’s structure.

Termites work behind the scenes in silence, eating wood within your home away and steadily undermining its structure.

The major concerns when dealing with a termite infestation are:

  • Structural issues with the building itself
  • Hazards to people and pets from the poisons used to treat the termites

1. Structural Issues

If you have caught the termite issue before it has gotten significant, you may have no structural issues with your home. This is hard for many homeowners to tell, and may require a review from a professional termite remediation specialist or a structural engineer.

Most termite infestations are not truly structural issues, but it all depends on the specific location of the infestation, and the level of damage they have caused.

2. Risks of Poison from Termite Treatments

So you’ve found the termites and begun the process of eradicating the infestation. Great, that’s got to be a relief.

But now there are poisons placed throughout the house (or maybe fumigation applied to the home). These are clearly hazards to termites.

But what about people and pets?

This all depends on the type of termiticide that is chosen and the length of time since treatments. Unlike the highly hazardous treatments of yesteryear, most modern termite treatments are not hazardous to adult humans, but could potentially pose some risk to pets and children.

Speak to your pest control specialist and find out exactly what treatments were used, and the locations. Typically if there is a foam or fumigation used, all people and pets should stay out of the building for 1-2 days after the treatment.

Bait stations are relatively safe, but again, keep children and pets away.

The Dangerous Outdoors!

Keep in mind that often, the most poison is applied to the foundation and the area directly outside the building. That’s where the termites are coming in, so it’s the primary focus.

These areas may be highly poisonous to pets, particularly if the pet licks or otherwise closely investigates these poisons.

Pay close attention to your pets in these circumstances.

Termites are probably the most dangerous pest infestation your home could ever be subject to.

Effect of Termites on Your Home

By looking at a termite closely, you can hardly picture it causing extensive destruction to property! From its actual appearance, it is scarcely a creature that can scare you. After all, it only has a length of approximately 1/8 an inch.

However, the totality of termites’ destructive capabilities is seen in their numbers. They cause up to $30 billion in damage each year in the US alone!

However, the totality of termites’ destructive capabilities is seen in their numbers. They cause up to $30 billion in damage each year in the US alone!

The biggest termite colony will only consume about a pound of wood daily. That doesn’t seem so bad! Is it really a big worry? 

The real issue with termites is that speed is not a significant concern. The termites will slowly and steadily ruin wooden structures in your house from the inside out.

They are more widespread in crawl and damp spaces where wood is in direct contact with the ground, though you will find them eating away at different regions on your property.

You are unlikely to notice any signs of termite damage for months and possibly years, after which you may need to spend thousands of dollars on repairs.

Termites Cause Structural Damage in Your Home

Your home’s structural wood is among the things that maintain the stability of your house. However, once it is damaged, you could have cracked walls, sagging floors and ceilings, foundation problems, ill-closing windows and doors, and many other problems. 

As a result, the repair costs for damaged home structural elements can increase significantly. Termites are thus a real danger to your home due to the risk of expensive damage.

Termites Quietly Cause Damage

Different from rodents and roaches, it is unlikely that you will see termites dash across your walls or floors if your home has a termite infestation.

You might be deceived into thinking that all is well. This is why termites are so dangerous. 

Generally, termites will take their time inside your house walls and beneath the house, making it difficult to notice their presence. By the time you find sufficient evidence of their presence, they could already have extensively damaged your house. 

Eradicating Termites Is Challenging

Termites are dangerous to a home primarily due to the challenge of eradicating them. To rid your home of termite infestation, you have to do much more than when tackling other pests.

It will require a certain level of equipment and expertise you are likely to find only with professionals in the pest eradication industry. 

To rid your home of termite infestation, you have to do much more than when tackling other pests. 

However, you should pay attention to and seek the assistance of only experts that provide warranties and full documentation for their work. This way, you can be confident that you will receive the best possible service.

Because you will have to disclose past termite issues to potential future buyers or renters, you need to have clear third-party evidence that your infestation was properly cleared.

It is hard to ignore or tolerate living with termites. Renters may have grounds to break a lease if evidence of termites surfaces. They are a big problem.

If you believe you could have termites within your home, it is wise to seek professional assistance immediately. Though there might not be any obvious infestation signs, it is always a smart move to have a termite inspection in your house.

By detecting the infestation early, you will be better positioned to address the pest infestation and limit the damage. 

When Should You Seek Termite Inspection Services in Your Home?

Like most people, you probably had your last home termite inspection when you were moving in.

The best thing is for you to have periodic termite inspections from a professional company in the industry periodically, even if there are not any visible signs of termite damage.

Termites can live for years inside your walls without being noticed or showing any outward signs.

How To Prevent Termite Damage

The ideal means of dealing with a termite infestation is to prevent an infestation before it gets to your home. To prevent termites from getting into your home, you must ensure you deal with them early enough.

Adopt prevention measures like using wood-to-ground aids.

Also, avoid stacking wood against the house’s sides and installing plastic sheeting to reduce moisture accumulation in tight spaces.


You can safely live in a house with termites only if you are confident that the structure is sound and the poisons used are not a danger. To have that confidence, you may need a structural engineering review and a pest company review.

You may also need to worry about children and pets.

Regardless, it is best to get rid of your infestation as quickly as possible so that you can get back to living without termites.