Spring is a crucial time for identifying and dealing with termites because it’s the season for swarming. Swarming termites are a big indicator that a termite colony is nearby, which could mean an infestation is occurring. It’s better to discover you have termites earlier than later, due to the significant damage they can cause to your home.
Swarming termites are winged adult termites that mature and fly away from their colonies to continue reproducing. Termite swarming begins at different times of the year depending on the type of termite, but they all usually begin when the weather begins warming up following a significant rain event. The one type of termite that typically swarms first is known as subterranean termites.
Because termites eat wood from the inside out, termite damage often goes undetected for long periods of time. Often in fact, by the time signs of termites appear, colonies are well established, and significant damage has already been done. If you begin spotting swarming termites, keep an eye out for other signs of termites, like these below:
- Hearing quiet clicking sound emanating from the walls
- Finding wings around your home
- Warping windows or doors
- Wood damage
- Mud tubes near home’s foundation
If you suspect you have a termite problem or if you spot signs of a termite infestation, contact a professional termite control company who can provide you with a thorough termite inspection and a comprehensive termite protection and treatment plan.
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.
It’s Termite Awareness Week, and termites are a known threat to southern homeowners. Termites can cause more than 5 million dollars in property damage throughout the United States, and it is normal for this damage not to be covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. Before the damage gets out of control, look for termite signs and consider getting a preventative termite treatment and warranty from professional help.
One of the first signs that termites are near is if you encounter swarmers near your home. Although swarmers do not cause wood damage, they do indicate that a colony is nearby. If you notice swarmers, it’s best to take immediate action and have a local termite control company take a look.
Another tell-tale sign that termites are close by is the presence of mud tubes or tunnels along the foundation of your home. Termites use mud tubes to keep moisture when traveling to and from their colony and your home.
Some other signs of termites that you may notice are:
- Hollowed or damaged wood: Wood damage can be found behind surfaces like walls and floors. This is caused by termites searching for cellulose, which can leave long grooves in the wood. Over time, these grooves weaken the wood and can create structural damage. If wood is hollowed, it will show a honeycomb interior and give off an empty sound.
- Bubbles in paint: Discovering bubbles in paint means there is a buildup of moisture, which can either be from water damage or termite damage.
- Frass: Finding the appearance of wood-colored droppings that litter the ground is a sign of a drywood termite infestation.
Even if you do not find signs of termites, now is still the perfect time to get preventative termite protection! With the Sentricon Always Active bait system, you’ll experience 24/7 termite protection, annual inspections, a lifetime termite warranty, and more! Reach out to your local pest control company to help identify the type of termite and recommendations on the best treatment plan.
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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It’s a known fact that termites can cause costly and significant damage to your home, but did you know they are active year-round? Winter does bring some daily changes to termite colonies, including moving deeper into the ground for warmth or seeking shelter in your home’s foundation. Both cases are something to be wary of, especially when it comes to the health of your home.
Subterranean termites might seem like they can’t cause damage in the winter when they burrow deep underground, but don’t let that fool you. When termites burrow underground, they tunnel deep beneath your home’s foundation and can cause structural damage, such as causing your home to shift and become uneven, which is costly to repair.
The plus side to termites in the wintertime is that swarms are nearly impossible. Termite swarms may sound like a scene out of a science fiction movie, but they are necessary for the survival of termites. Fortunately, they are not common in the winter, as they tend to move further away from their colonies in the warmer months, making it more difficult to find them. Consider putting preventative measures in place around your home during the winter season before these pests become active again in the spring months, which mark the beginning of swarming season.
There are several ways to prevent termites, even in the wintertime. There are many great services offered to homeowners that can be beneficial year-round. The most effective option in termite prevention is the Sentricon Always Active® system. It is an environmentally responsible choice for home termite protection and is scientifically designed to eliminate the entire colony – including the queen. It’s crucial to prevent termites, whether they’re active or not.
Termites can be extremely difficult to identify, avoid, and eliminate once they are established. If you spot signs of termites in your home or just want to get ahead in the prevention game, contact a professional pest control company who can set you up with annual termite inspections and even a termite control plan.