Termite infestations can cause significant (and expensive) structural damage to your home and property. What makes termites even worse is they usually cause significant damage for a long period of time without being detected.
Spring is an especially critical time for identifying and dealing with termites because that is the time of year when termites swarm to establish new colonies. These swarmers are winged adult termites that mature and fly away from their colonies to continue reproducing. Termite swarming season begins at different times for different species but all of them typically begin when the weather warms up following a significant rain event. For most species like subterranean termites, this falls in early spring. Age is also a factor in determining when termite colonies will swarm. While there is no specific age for a colony to swarm, most colonies aren’t mature enough until they are at least 3 years old.
Swarming termites often gather in areas with low-wind and diffuse light. Swarms can occur over a period of several days. Termite swarms are often confused with flying ant swarms. There are 3 major differences between termites and flying ants: antenna, wings, and body segments. Termites have straight antennae with a slight drooping look while flying ants have antenna that are bent at a 90 degree angle as they come out the side of their heads. Termite wings are basically equal in length while flying ants have front wings that are noticeably longer than their hind wings. Finally, termites have 2 body segments with straight abdomen while flying ants have 3 distinct body segments that narrow at the waist.
Odds are if you notice a termite swarm in or around your property the initial nesting site is not too far away. Termite swarms are a good indication that a termite infestation is imminent. Swarming termites also discard their wings after their new colony is established. Finding piles of discarded wings is also another sign that a new active termite colony is close by.
It is important to periodically check for signs of termites in your home to try and catch an infestation before the damage is significant (and costly).
- Check the exterior of your home and look for mud tubes and small white insects going up the outside of your foundation.
- Tap or probe any exposed wood for hollow sounds.
- Learn to identify termite swarms and keep an eye out for them in the spring.
- Look for other signs of termites in your home such as buckling wood, damaged wood, etc.
- Keep the ground around foundations dry with proper drainage techniques.
- Seal off any points of entry by filling in cracks in concrete foundations and any holes or openings where utility lines and pipes enter the home.
- Consider investing in an annual termite inspection where a professional termite control technician can thoroughly check your home for all of these signs and more.
If you notice a termite swarm this spring or any of these other signs of termites, it’s not too late to act but action should be taken sooner rather than later. With the help of a professional pest control company, you can take quick action for termite treatment while avoiding the costly headache of structural damage to your home. Whether you’ve dealt with termites in the past or just want to avoid dealing with them in the future, investing in termite protection now is always a good idea.