How Long Do Termites Live On Clothes?

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Termites are a danger to your home’s structure as well as your clothes. Can termites harm clothes? If so, how long do termites live on clothes? How can these hazardous bugs get access to your home? Termites are not welcome guests in your home since they inflict considerable structural damage. Because of their affinity for underground routes and a fondness for construction materials, mainly wood, subterranean types are mostly to blame. 

As the name implies, these termites never leave the soil and might enter your home through gaps in the walls and other areas where wood and dirt contact. As a result, these termites seldom make their way onto clothing, preferring instead to stay on the ground, save when swarming in search of new territory. 

In this article, you will learn about termites on clothes and how long do termites live on clothes.

What Draws Termites To Clothes?

Termites come in dozens of different species, but they all have one thing in common: they all feed on cellulose, a type of plant fiber that they would devour just about anything that has it.

how long do termites live on clothes

It means they’ll eat everything from wood to books to wallpaper to clothing. It is because cellulose-containing materials, such as linen and cotton, may make clothing. Termites will devour garments if they can infest an area where they are present. 

There are different types of termites that can live on your clothes, like dry wood termites, Formosan termites, and damp wood termites. Their main termite activity is wood damage.

By building fast termite colonies, this termite problem can damage your clothes within a few hours. The rate of reproductive termite comes from wood cracks, mud tubes, wood framing, sheds, and the basement. 

How Long Do Termites Live On Clothes?

Termites’ life cycle on clothes starts with an egg, but unlike ants and bees, they go through an incomplete metamorphosis, including egg, nymph, and adult phases. The nymphs have the appearance of miniature adults and go through a series of molts as they mature.

Yellownecked dry-wood termite (Kalotermes flavicollis), a serious pest in Mediterranean countries

Eggs go through four phases of molting depending on the termite species like male and female, whereas nymphs go through three.

Nymphs molt into workers first, with some of these workers molting into soldiers or swarmers later. Workers are in charge of constructing the colony and performing any necessary repairs, while warriors are sterile and are primarily responsible for protecting the colonies. 

Termite swarmers are reproductives in charge of mating and, after reproducing, become king and queen termites.

Molting from larvae to an adult can take many months, depending on the amount of food available, the temperature, and the size of the colony. Workers feed the nymphs because they are unable to feed themselves, and they are also in charge of foraging, constructing, and maintaining the nest. 

Pheromones spread throughout the colony prevent other workers from becoming pregnant queens, allowing just a few termites to become queens. 

In the early phases of the new colony, queen termites produce 10 to 20 eggs per day, but as the colony grows, queen termites can lay up to 1,000 eggs per day. On the other hand, the king has remained in the nest and mated with the queen.

King termites emit pheromones that attract new queens when a queen is no longer present. So, now that you’re aware of termites’ extraordinary powers to survive and rapidly expand their colonies, you must deal with a termite infestation as soon as possible. Termites aren’t going away once they’ve chosen a good spot for a colony. 

In one line, termites can live up to three months on your clothes, building their colonies. Suspect the growing rate, the free estimate of a large termite infestation requires termite treatment from professionals.

Can Termites Travel in Clothes?

The most prevalent concern among homeowners is how they spread termites. Because termites seem like ants to the untrained eye, many people mistakenly assume they migrate the same way as ants.

That means they may get into your baggage while you’re packing or into your gym bag while you’re leaving it in the garage.

Back of a black man wearing a naturally distressed ripped white cotton t-shirt full of holes

The fact is that the subterranean species are responsible for the most significant termite damage to property. These termites like to stay near the soil because it provides the moisture required to thrive. Because they live underground and inside the wood, subterranean termites are more challenging to detect. 

Termites migrate through mud tunnels, galleries inside the wood, gaps in your walls, and contact with the soil. While subterranean termites reside underground, save for a brief period when swarmers are looking for a new nesting site, moving them to a new location on your clothing is quite unlikely.

Can Termites Travel in Luggage?

Old torn suitcase with things on the floor of the airport

The most prevalent baggage pest is the dry wood termite, whose name implies that they prefer not to live underground and hence are more abundant on clothing than subterranean species.

Wood is their preferred delicacy, but they’ll make do with a suitcase full of cellulose-accented clothing, which is why they also spread through baggage. 

However, unless you also have some wooden stuff, the chances of it happening are slim to none. Infected furniture with the Formosan strain, which is mainly renowned for this approach, is the most typical transmission mode. 

How To Know If You Have Termite On Your Clothes?

Termites on ground

If you’ve discovered that termites have infested your clothing, it’s pretty probable that the infestation has spread to your home and is currently eating away at it. Keep an eye out for the following signs to see whether this is the case:

  • Discarded wings are the most common evidence that termites have taken up residence in your home. Wings can form around doors and window sills, but they can also appear anyplace else in the house.
  • Holes beneath roof eaves and in the wood in other locations are dead giveaways. 
  • Also, keep an eye out for raised mud-tunnels surrounding your home, which are common around tree trunks, the porch, and even the building’s foundation.
  • Fecal pellets, which have a small bolt-like form and a brown color, are another tell-tale sign.

5 Ways To Get Rid Of Termite Infestation From Clothes

Collection of the Termites in the nest isolate on white background.

If you follow a few simple steps and the right treatment plan, you may confidently approach your closet. Start with these tips and then contact for more pest control assistance, including a free termite inspection:

  1. Vacuuming the Closet Fully: Because closets are low-traffic locations, it’s easy to forget to clean them routinely and thoroughly. Failure to keep the floor clean might attract unwanted visitors.
  2. Wash Soiled Clothes: Termites are attracted to soils that have been left on clothing. Before putting filthy clothes back in the closet, wash them.
  3. Remove Firewood Stacks: If you have stacked firewood along the outside of your home, move it away from the foundation, where insects can easily migrate from the logs to your home.
  4. Don’t Store Stuff in Cardboard Boxes: Think twice about putting items in cardboard boxes. It’s like posting a free food sign for all the bugs in the neighborhood to see.
  5. Keep Dampness Out: wood-eating pests love moisture, so make sure your kitchen and bathrooms have enough ventilation. Crawlspaces, for example, should be sealed.

The Bottom Line

Can termites spread via clothing? The straightforward answer is that it’s doubtful. If you find termites in your clothes, you’re dealing with a far more significant problem.

Knowing the indicators of a termite infestation might help you avoid losing your most valuable asset, your house or apartment. To get rid of these pests, you might attempt DIY solutions or hire a professional.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.