Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. Because they work from the inside out, infestations are often not found until significant damage has already been done. Spring marks the beginning of the termite swarming season and these destructive pests are found in most of the United States (except for Alaska). What do you need to know before swarming season starts to help control termites? Find out the answers to many of your termite questions below.
What Time Of Year Do Termites Come Out?
Termites swarm as the weather begins to warm, usually at the beginning of spring or summer and usually after a rain event. Termites swarm when they go in search of a location to establish a new colony. Colonies typically don’t produce a swarm until they have been established for at least 3 years.
Do Swarming Termites Mean An Infestation?
If a swarm happens inside your home, most of them will not survive to establish a new colony but it does mean that your home is likely infested. If a swarm happens outside your home or if you notice just a few stragglers inside, your home is most likely not infested but a colony (or multiple colonies) are present nearby.
Do Swarming Termites Cause Damage?
Swarming termites have one purpose – to reproduce and establish a new colony. In fact, they don’t have biting or chewing mouthparts to cause damage to your home. Several hundred swarmers are produced by each colony but only a small percentage of these actually survive to start the new colony.
What Is The Difference Between Swarming Termites And Flying Ants?
Termites have straight antennae and wide bodies without pinched waists. They are usually black or dark brown in color. Swarming termites have wings that are the same length and clear in color. Termites are found in decaying stumps, trees, wood debris, lumber, and other wooden structures. They cause structural damage by eating wood and other cellulose-based products like paper.
Flying ants (also known as carpenter ants) have elbowed antennae and pinched waists. They can be black, brown or reddish in color. They have 2 pairs of wings that differ in size and are tinted brown in color. Carpenter ants also inhabit wood and wood structures; however, they don’t eat wood and therefore do not usually cause any structural damage. They do eat nectar, seeds, other insects, and food debris in and around your home.
Both termites and flying ants swarm as part of their mating process.
What Attracts Termites To Your Home?
The main attractant to termites is food. Termites love to eat anything wood or cellulose-based including lumber, firewood, newspaper, and more. They also like warm, dark places that are undisturbed such as your crawlspace. They also thrive in moist soil, especially around your foundations.
What Is The Most Effective Termite Treatment?
While there are some do-it-yourself options you can do around your home, these are more suitable for termite prevention rather than termite control. Getting rid of termites is a job best left to the professionals. Some things you can do around your home to help prevent termites include:
- Getting rid of decayed lumber and firewood and moving wood products away from your foundations.
- Reduce moisture in crawlspaces.
- Repair leaky faucets and pipes.
- Divert excess water from foundations with properly functioning gutters, downspouts, and splash blocks.
- Position sprinklers to spray away from foundations.
There are two major types of termite treatment: liquids and baits.
Liquid termite treatments have been around for years. Their purpose is to provide a long-lasting barrier in the soil that keeps termites from entering and infesting buildings. This treatment also helps eliminate termites that are already inside structures as it prevents them from getting back to the soil for supplemental moisture.
Bait termite treatments use a cellulose-based food product combined with a slow acting pesticide. The bait stations are installed below the ground where termites eat the bait and share it with other termites in their colony. This leads to a gradual decline in the termite population infesting the structure.
If you suspect you have a termite problem, contact a professional termite control specialist. A thorough termite inspection by a trained pest control professional is critical in identifying and eliminating a termite infestation from your home.
We are extremely excited to announce our 2018 Northwest Good Deed Ambassador of the Year, Missy Mallick. One of our Northwest teammates from our Savannah service center, Missy truly embodies the “Be Extraordinary” of the Northwest Way. Her dedication to serving the community has led her to head many of our Good Deed initiatives.
A key volunteer at the Willett Children’s Hospital, Missy has encouraged and championed her teammates to bring smiles to all of the children during their hospital stay. Missy was also the organizer for our original First Responder’s cookout in Savannah in 2017. The First Responder events have since been implemented in all our Northwest service centers, and the Savannah 2018 First Responder Cookout had over 500 first responders and veterans in attendance!
Missy’s kindness and ability to recognize the needs within her community extends beyond her work with the Good Deed Team. In her spare time, she volunteers as a caregiver support leader and is a public speaker and fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. She also volunteers as a disaster assessor in 8 counties for the American Red Cross and with training guide dogs for the Southeastern Guide Dogs in Tampa, Florida. With a true servant’s heart, Missy creates extraordinary experiences for all she meets.
Summer is a very stressful time for your lawn. The combination of the beating sun and heat, increased foot traffic, water deprivation, weeds, and pests can be detrimental to the health of your lawn. Because of this, Americans spend about $8.5 billion on lawn care services each year. No matter how much you spend, these factors can combine to leave you with yellow patches or even turn your grass brown under the heat and stress of summer. A brown lawn doesn’t necessarily mean dead grass, though; cool season grasses go dormant in the summer, turning brown as a defense mechanism against the heat and turning green again when they are revitalized in the cooler weather of fall. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do to ensure a lush green lawn despite the heat. Check out these lawn care tips to keep your grass green this summer.
Mow high in the summer months. Grass should be left about 3 inches tall as this provides more shade for the root system and keeps it cooler in the summer. Leaving the blades taller also encourages the grass to develop stronger, deeper root systems. Mowing should be done in the early morning or early evening to avoid the peak daytime heat. Make sure your mower is kept in good repair, as well. A poorly maintained mower can do more damage than good to your yard. Make sure mower blades are sharpened – dull blades tear the grass versus cutting it which can leave brown tips on the grass blades. Make sure the oil, filters, and spark plugs are changed, as well.
Know when your lawn needs watering. You can usually tell grass is ready for a drink when it turns a bluish-gray color or if it stays matted down when you step on it rather than springing back up. Be mindful of how often you water, as well. Be mindful of any drought restrictions in your area before you water. Watering should be done consistently and deeply once or twice per week rather than a shallow watering daily.. Your lawn only needs 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week to keep its green color. Water early in the morning so that your lawn has time to dry out over the course of the day. Watering in the evening leaves dampness in the soil overnight that can lead to fungal disease. Don’t water your lawn with hot water. Don’t leave your garden hose out with water in it as this water can get hot enough to scald the grass blades in your lawn. Always empty your garden hose after each use; if you forget, make sure you flush the hot water out before you start watering.
Cool season grasses go dormant in the summer so you should wait to fertilize those in the fall. Fertilizing in the summer can trigger new growth which will ultimately turn brown. Warm season grasses should be fertilized every 6 weeks. If this causes your lawn to grow too quickly, switch to a fertilizer with a lower nitrogen content to slow the growth. Using a mulching mower can also help to naturally fertilize your lawn by recycling the nutrients in grass clippings back into the soil. Fertilizer should be applied evenly and judiciously. Too much fertilizer can also turn your lawn brown.
Maintaining your lawn can also help preserve its green color in the summer. When your pets do their business on the grass, they are essentially over-fertilizing that area with the additional nitrogen in their urine. If you notice yellow or bare patches where your pets often go, overseed them to keep them in good repair. Summer also brings extra foot traffic on your grass. Heavy foot traffic, especially on wet soil, can lead to soil compaction which prevents air from getting to the grass roots. Try to avoid walking on the grass as much as possible.
CALLING THE PROS
While the tips above can help keep your lawn green in the summer heat, sometimes assistance is still needed. Proper analysis, treatment, and timing are critical in achieving a green, healthy lawn. A professional lawn service like Northwest can provide you with a free analysis of your lawn’s current condition to determine an effective treatment plan; lawn fertilization; treatment for insects that cause damage to your lawn, including grubs, chinch bugs, and army worms; existing and preventative weed control with post emergent and pre emergent herbicides; a year-round service schedule for the healthiest, greenest lawn possible; and a service guarantee to come back in between regular scheduled visits, if needed, at no additional cost to you. Contact us today for a free lawn care analysis.
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The climate of Georgia (and the southern United States in general) provide the ideal environment for several species of spiders. The humidity and subtropical conditions provide just the right setting for these pests to thrive. Almost all species of spiders found in the United States pose no threat to humans. In fact, of the 38 known species of spiders in Georgia, only 2 are harmful to humans. Here are 10 of the most common spiders found in Georgia and the threat they may pose to you and your family.
Black widow spiders are black and shiny in color with a prominent red hourglass shape on their back. They are most often found around woodpiles and can easily access your home by hitching a ride inside on your firewood. They are also found in common places around your home where they can be undisturbed like eaves, empty boxes, and even shoes that are stored away and never worn. Black widows can be harmful to humans if bitten. While males rarely bite, females have been known to be aggressive especially when they are guarding their eggs. Black widow bite symptoms include fever, elevated blood pressure, nausea, and sweats. Death is uncommon after a black widow bite, especially if treatment is received quickly. In fact, there has not been a black widow related death in the United States in over 10 years.
Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown in color (hence their name) with a signature dark brown violin shape on their backs. They are commonly found outdoors in debris and woodpiles. If they are found indoors, they are usually found underneath furniture, inside storage bins, and in dark recesses like baseboards. They are often found hiding out in closets, attics, and crawlspaces. Brown recluse spiders will bite when on the defensive. These bites are very painful and often leave an open, ulcerating sore that must be treated by a medical professional. Other symptoms include fever, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.
Common House Spider
House spiders vary in color but most are yellow to brown in color with elongated abdomens. They are most often found inside homes (hence their name) usually in ceiling corners, under furniture, and inside closets, basements, garages, and crawlspaces. When outdoors, they are often found around windows, under eaves, and near light sources. While they can be a nuisance to have in your home, they don’t pose any threat to humans. Because of the low humidity and fewer insects in modern homes, house spiders are becoming less common in houses and more likely to be found in garages, sheds, barns, and warehouses.
Wolf spiders are typically dark brown in color with pale markings or stripes. Their legs are long and spiny and most have hair on their bodies. When indoors, wolf spiders typically stay on or near the floor, especially along walls and under furniture. They often come inside on firewood. When found outside they are usually found under firewood piles, leaves, yard debris, and stones and will often hide in these places during the day. While wolf spiders can bite, these incidents are rare and they don’t pose a significant threat to humans. Wolf spiders are unique in that they don’t capture their prey in webs but rather by chasing them down using their speed.
Crevice spiders have similar shapes and coloring as brown recluse spiders and are, in fact, often mistaken for them. While they do have the same light to dark brown coloring and similar body shape, they do not have the signature violin-shaped markings that the brown recluse has. They are often found in corners and crevices which is where their name comes from, typically located in ceiling corners, along baseboards, and in window frames. They can be beneficial to homeowners as they eat common household pests like flies, roaches, beetles, and wasps. While they can bite if threatened, this is very rare and they do not pose a significant threat to humans.
Yellow Garden Spider
The yellow garden spider is a large, black and yellow spider that is known for spinning large circular webs. Females are black with bright yellow patches on their abdomens. Males are smaller with less yellow coloring on their abdomens. They are typically found outdoors in sunny areas with plants on which they can anchor their webs (hence their name). Garden spiders don’t pose a threat to humans (other than the chance of walking through their sometimes significantly large webs) but they do produce venom that is harmless to humans, but helps to immobilize prey like flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web.
Orb Weaver Spider
Orb weaver spiders can vary in size and coloring but are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They are known for creating distinctive sheet webs with an escape tunnel at the rear. These webs can be up to 3 feet in diameter. Many orb weavers are brightly colored, have hairy or spiny legs and a relatively large abdomen. Orb weavers are typically nocturnal spiders and many species will build or do repair work on their webs at night. Orb weavers do not pose a threat to humans. They will bite if cornered but the bite is comparable to a bee sting.
The lynx spider is bright green in color, resembling the color of a plant leaf. They will also sometimes have orange on their legs and black dots, as well. Their legs are covered in long black spines. They are very quick in movement and are able to jump large distances to capture their prey. They are often found in open fields, especially those with tall grass surroundings. The lynx spider can be quite useful in agricultural management. They will bite if on the defensive but they do not pose a significant threat to humans.
The trapdoor spider is a large, hairy spider that can range in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown to black. They have powerful jaws and sharp fangs. Trapdoor spiders get their name from the burrows they construct with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. They spend most of their lives underground and usually hunt at night. Trapdoor spiders are not aggressive and, in fact, are often timid when confronted. They can bite but this is rare. They do not pose a significant threat to humans.
The hobo spider is light to medium brown in color with a down the center with an oblong abdomen. Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. Mating season is from June to October and the wandering of males in search of a mate brings them in to much more contact with humans than females. Therefore, male hobo spiders are responsible for more bites than females because of this increased contact with humans. Their bites, however, do not pose a significant threat to humans. Hobo spiders can be found in almost any habitat. They are commonly found in places with holes, cracks, or crevices. They are terrible climbers and are rarely found above ground level. They prefer dark, moist environments like basements, crawlspaces, and window wells.
Contrary to popular belief, Granddaddy Longlegs are not, in fact, spiders; they actually belong to a group of arachnids known as harvesters or harvestmen. The predominant feature of harvesters including the granddaddy longlegs is legs that are exceptionally long in relation to their body size. Harvesters are usually seen around harvest time – hence their name. Just in North America alone there are about 150 species of granddaddy longlegs. They use their extremely long legs to catch their prey rather than building webs. Granddaddy longlegs are not poisonous or venomous and do not pose any threat to humans.
Whether they are dangerous to humans or not, most people would prefer to keep spiders out of their homes as much as possible. The best way to prevent spiders from taking up residence in your house is to get rid of any areas where they can hide. Spiders are more common in the fall and winter as they make their way indoors in search of food and warmth. Keep your garage, attic, and basement clear and decluttered. Try not to leave shoes and clothing on the floor. Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and sweep down any cobwebs that appear. As always, if you suspect you have a spider problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of spiders you have and provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment and prevention plan.
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