Tiny House Termite Study

Tiny House Termite Study

In our service areas of Chester County, York County, and Dauphin County there are many questions about termites. In our part of the country, we have subterranean termites.  In this post, we examine a recent study and how it effects termite control and homes in Pennsylvania.

The subterranean termite is known as the “silent destroyer”.  This is because their damage often goes un-noticed for years.  Once the termite infestation is found, the damage could be quite severe.

In January of 2018, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) conducted a study on termite damage.  You can check out the video and study specifics here. The NPMA wanted to conduct a study to see how destructive termites could be on a home.  Of course, we all know that termites are destructive, but few have seen how destructive they can be.

Subterranean termites live and move underground.  As such, termite activity can go un-noticed for a very long time.  Many of our clients find out that they have termites through three different scenarios:

  • Scenario 1:  You go to buy or sell a home and an inspector performing a wood destroying insect inspection (WDI) finds termites.
  • Scenario 2: You are doing some renovation to the home and you or the contractor finds termites
  • Scenario 3: You notice that once a year you see what look like ants with wings in a specific part of the house.  They arrive for a few days in the spring, die, and then you don’t see them for another year.

In all three of these scenarios, the termites have been present and causing damage to your home.  For how long is unknown because most of the damage happens in areas you can’t see.  This is why this NPMA “Tiny Termite House” is so fascinating.  We get to see how much damage and how quickly the damage occurs in the house.

In the study, the NPMA built a miniature house.  This house is not a doll house that only has four walls and some floors.  No, this is a very realistic miniature home meant to mimic an actual home.  This tiny termite house was constructed using the same techniques and materials as a full-size house. The tiny house had full electric and plumbing, drywall, a swimming pool, and hardwood floors.  This tiny termite house was constructed on top of a poured concrete slab and included a concrete porch.  Multiple cameras are placed to watch and track the progress/damage by the termites.

After construction of the home, approximately half a million termites are released into the foundation around the tiny house.  The termites can be seen entering the soil, and the vulnerable areas around the home.  Termites are looking for soil, wood and darkness.  As the video shows, the termites can be seen entering gaps and crevices where the porch meets the house and where the wood meets the concrete at the foundation.  As the study progresses, the termites begin to form mud tunnels which allow them to go from the soil to the wood without being exposed to the outside world.

After approximately one month, the researchers investigate what type of damage is occurring to the home.  The termites had consumed most of the floor joists and plywood under the hardwood floors.  In one of the videos from the study, the camera does a close up of the hardwood floors.  The flooring is warped throughout the home due to the moisture created by the termites.  After the termites had finished with the floor joists and subfloor, they started moving up to the wall framing behind the drywall.  When the researchers lift up the home, there are “100’s of thousands” of live termites found under the concrete foundation slab.  At the conclusion of the study, the tiny house is labeled as structurally unsound and thus unlivable.

This study by the NPMA shows us a few interesting things about termites and the damage they cause.  First it showed just how rapid the termites found the weak points around the foundation of the home and entered.  Once inside, they were able to absolutely devastate the structural components of the home.  Second, the study made it interesting to actually observe the termites in action and the aftermath of their damage.  Since the termites are subterranean, watching visible activity in the real world is rarely possible.  Lastly, the study showed that you can’t judge a book by its cover.  After the tiny house is labeled structurally unsound, the camera zooms out and we can see that the house looks pristine.  Besides the warped floor boards, the home doesn’t show any outward signs of a major problem.

The important takeaway from this study is that you need to have an experienced and dedicated company inspect and treat for termites.  Prudential Pest Solutions has the experience and treatment options to best fit your need and budget.  We can make sure your home is treated properly and then is warrantied against future infestations.  This warranty can be transferred in the event you sell the home, or simply renewed each year for peace of mind.  Termites, if identified early on, can be treated and eradicated. Don’t let your home look great on the outside but have a serious problem on the inside. If you live in Chester County, York County, or Dauphin County, we can get you termite free! Contact us to schedule an appointment today.


Tiny Termite House Reveals How Termites Destroy From the Inside Out. (2018). Retrieved November 4, 2018, from https://www.pestworld.org/tiny-termite-house/

National Pest Management Association

Additional Termite Information