Augusta Termite Control: Swarming Termites
One of the most common signs of termites in your home, including those in Augusta, is seeing a swarm of flying insects. With swarming season around the corner, be on the lookout for these groups of flying insects, including swarming termites.
But how do you know if they’re termite swarmers? Unfortunately, swarming termites appear like flying ants, but there are noticeable differences, especially if you can get a closer look.
Here are three ways to tell the difference in termites vs flying ants:
- Waist Size: Flying ants have a pinched waist, while termites have a more streamlined body.
- Antennae Shape: On ants, the antennae are elbowed; but on termites they appear straight and bead-like.
- Wing Size: Termite wings are all equal in length and extend past the abdomen, while ant wings are unequal and generally end at the tip of their abdomen.
Beyond the physical differences, they also possess behavioral differences. Both insects live in large colonies with designated caste systems, but termites can also be found in decaying trees, stumps, wood debris, lumber, and wooden structures. The only ant species that would live in any type of wood are carpenter ants; other species wouldn’t be found in these areas.
If you believe you have termites causing damage to your home, reach out to your local pest control company who can provide a free inspection and service plan that’s right for you and your property.
The new year has begun and although the weather is chilly now, the luxuries of living in the south typically means that warmer weather appears sooner than later. This means that termite swarming season is just around the corner, with the earliest swarms beginning in February. Let’s break down what to expect this swarming season.
What are Swarming Termites?
Termite swarmers, often mistaken for winged ants, are most active during the spring months, when they fly away from their colony to reproduce. These swarmers are attracted to bright, light areas often seen around doors and windows in homes. Fortunately, they don’t cause wood damage, but seeing a group of them around your property typically means a colony is nearby.
Which Species Do I Need to Lookout For?
The southeastern region of the United States is home to a variety of termites, including the subterranean, drywood, and Formosan species. Subterranean is the most common type of termite found in the southeast. They live underground in colonies that can get up to two million members. They are also known to be found in moist, secluded areas above ground. With their hard, saw-toothed jaws that work like shears, they are known to cause significant damage to properties.
Termite Prevention Tips:
- Eliminate Moisture: Repair leaky faucets, don’t let water pool near foundations, keep gutters clear, and use downspouts to divert water away from your home.
- Maintain Landscape: Don’t let anything touch the exterior surfaces of your home (mulch & woodpiles), removing old tree stumps, and keeping shrubbery and tree limbs trimmed back away from your home.
- Repair Home: Replace broken tiles, shingles, etc. on your roof and exposed beams in attics are a great food source and access point into your home.
If you suspect termite swarming activity or just want to get a step ahead at termite prevention, contact your local pest control company and schedule your free inspection.
Termites are considered a year-round pest, causing significant destruction to homes and properties each year. Termite swarming season runs from spring to summer for most species. They use this time to reproduce and establish new colonies. Keep your home safe from termites this summer with these termite prevention tips.
Inspect Wooden Structures
Termite inspections aren’t limited to just your house. Make sure to inspect any wooden structures you have outside, as well, like wood furniture, swing sets, and decks. Termites will make small pinholes in the wood they are eating. If you find evidence of termites in your wooden structures, contact a termite control professional immediately. If your structures are not infested, seal them with an outdoor paint or sealant.
Block Their Entry
Installing a barrier to entry for termites will go a long way towards keeping them out of your home for good. There are two termite treatment options available for the perimeter of your home: bait stations and liquid soil treatments. In addition to these, performing routine inspections of the outside of your home, especially around foundations, is critical. If any gaps or cracks are found, seal or repair them immediately.
Stacks of firewood are an ideal food source for termites. Try not to stack firewood next to your home, shed or garage. Instead, store it several feet away from these structures. You should also elevate it, if possible, on either metal or concrete racks.
Keep Your Yard Maintained
It’s important to keep your yard maintained to help prevent termites and other pests. Keep bushes and trees trimmed back so they are not touching your house or overhanging. Remove any dead or dying shrubs from your yard. Try to avoid using wooden mulch; instead, opt for recycled rubber mulch.
Annual Termite Inspections
Termites don’t take days off so your home is always at risk. They can also go undetected for long periods of time, causing significant damage before you even realize they are there. A pest control professional can perform an annual termite inspection to help spot any signs of termites before they turn into a full blown termite infestation.
If you have a problem with termites or just want to get a head start on prevention, contact your local pest control company for a complete evaluation.
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Swarming termites, also known as alates, are termites with wings that leave their colonies with two purposes in mind: reproducing and establishing a new colony. Alates resemble flying ants and will colonize anywhere with a cellulose source and adequate moisture for survival, making your home the ideal environment for a new colony. While alates don’t bite, sting, or eat wood, they are a good indication that there is a termite colony nearby.
Why Do Termites Swarm?
Once the original termite colony reaches capacity and is ready to expand, termite swarms occur. These usually happen once per year, although some species will swarm multiple times. Swarms can contain anywhere from hundreds to thousands of alates whose sole purpose is reproduction and expansion of the colony. Once environmental conditions are right, the swarmers will launch themselves into the air and pair off. Once they’ve found their partner, both will shed their wings, mate, and find a new place to nest.
When Do Termites Swarm?
The timing of termite swarms depends on the type of termite you are dealing with. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring during daylight hours. Drywood termites swarm in late summer and early fall, and dampwood termites swarm over the summer. Termites will swarm once conditions are ideal, usually the day after a rain shower with overcast weather and winds less than 6 mph. Damp soil after a rainstorm also helps with nest building.
Do Termites Swarm Indoors?
If a colony is already established inside your home, termites may swarm inside. These alates will try to squeeze through cracks and crevices in your foundations and walls to reach open air. Alates are also attracted to light so they can often be found near windows and light fixtures.
What Kind of Termites Swarms Are There?
Termite swarms vary depending on what species it is. Drywood termite swarms are usually smaller than other termites with less than 100 swarmers. They will swarm in late summer and fall. Due to the small size of the swarm, you may not see the signs of drywood termites until they are already established. Dampwood termites swarm in the summer months. They are of less concern to homeowners as houses don’t typically have the moisture content necessary for them to survive. They can, however, be found in wood structures surrounding homes, e.g. utility poles. Subterranean termites are the most common and have the largest swarms, sometimes numbering into the thousands. These termites swarm in the spring between March and June.
While swarms don’t necessarily mean you have a termite infestation in your home, they are a good indicator that there is a thriving colony nearby. If you spot swarming termites in or near your home, consider a termite inspection to help identify signs of termites you may have missed and ensure you don’t have a hidden colony eating your home from the inside out.
If you suspect termites, contact a professional pest control company who can give your house a thorough inspection and help with a termite control and prevention plan going forward.
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With the warmer months creeping up on us, it’s time to start preparing for the termite swarming season. Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year and infestations are normally not found until considerable damage has already been done. It’s important to know what types of termites are active in your area to understand ways to prevent them from causing damage to your home.
The most common type of termite in the southeast is the subterranean termite. This termite species lives in underground colonies with as many as two million members but can also be found in moist, secluded areas above ground. They are the most destructive termite species and, over time, can potentially collapse a building. This is due to their hard, saw-toothed jaws that work like shears and can bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. They typically begin their swarming season in early spring, usually during daylight hours.
Swarming is beneficial when creating new colonies. Termites swarm after a colony has reached a certain capacity and is ready to expand. This normally happens once per year for most colonies. Hundreds or even thousands of swarmers, also known as alates, are produced with the sole purpose of reproduction and expansion.
Swarming can occur indoors or outdoors. They cannot survive indoors because of the lack of soil to colonize. If found indoors, they are usually found near windows and light fixtures as they are attracted to light. Whether indoors or outdoors, they usually can’t cause damage. As swarmers, they can’t bite, sting, or chew. The presence of swarms indicates that a colony is nearby, though; so although the swarmers can’t cause damage, the nearby colony can.
There are many ways to prevent swarming from happening. The first step is to eliminate any termite colonies in the area. To prevent termites, make sure there are no water sources nearby, including standing water around your home. Also, routinely inspect your foundation for loose mortar or bubbling paint to see if there are termites present.
Because a termite swarm indicates a nearby colony, homeowners should take precaution when one is spotted close to home. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact a professional local pest control company who can inspect your property and set up a termite control plan.