Termites have existed for millions of years and are active all year long. They prefer the subterranean environment under your foundation, preferable where wood meets damp or wet earth. We often receive calls about termites when reconstruction or home additions are started, and demolition uncovers colonies of termites.
In a previous blog, Don’t dismiss Termites, we spoke of the dangers to your home or business structures from termites. Termites can be hidden for years and the damage and associated costs to eliminate them can be astronomical.
What are termite swarmers?
Termite swarmers are winged termites whose sole purpose is to reproduce and breed to create new colonies. The swarm is composed of the strongest and most sexually mature male and female winged termites. The swarming season plays a critical part in the life cycle of termites.
Most homeowners have not seen any termites prior to witnessing the swarm. Our technicians are often sent to a home because the homeowner called about flying carpenter ants when upon inspection, they are swarming termites.
The swarm itself does not cause damage but once established, the newly created colony will.
Why do termites swarm in the spring?
Spring is the time when the temperatures start to reach 70 degrees and the combination of sun and rain create the perfect environment for them to leave the current mature colony in search of opening a new colony.
Dr. Potter, a professor of urban entomology at the University of Kentucky was interviewed by The New York Times in an article about termites. Dr. Potter said. ”Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge from the colony and fly into the air. The swarmers then drop to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a mate and attempt to begin a new colony.”
In most cases, he said, swarmers emerge outside. In some cases, however, a swarm might emerge in a living room. In either case, it is not necessary to witness an actual swarming to know one has occurred; discarded wings and some dead termites are the evidence.
”The discovery of winged termites inside a home almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment,” Dr. Potter said. ”And in most cases, ridding a home of termites is a job for a professional.”
Termite swarmers are not superior aviators and do not fly far from the original colony. Therefore, when you notice the swarmers, and you contact us for treatment, we know there are colonies close to the location of the swarmers.
How do I know if it is swarming termites and not swarming carpenter ants?
Termite swarmers have wings that are the same size. Carpenter ant swarmers do not. Termite swarmers shed their wings prior to mating and then move on to the new colony. We have seen literally piles of discarded wings on windowsills and outside homes indicating the presence of these termites.
These wings are the ah-ha moment that you should heed regarding termite infestation. If you are not sure if they are swarming termites or swarming carpenter ants, call us for a quick inspection and evaluation.
What do I do if I have termites?
No one wants to hear they have termites and more importantly, no one wants to hear the process that needs to happen to eradicate them from their home and property. In most cases, the termites have been living and destroying your structures for months.
Treatment for termites requires more than a spray and the placing of baits. Knowledge and understanding of termites, their habitat and life cycle is critical to treating and ultimately removing termites from the structure.
Please do not take a chance. It is common that customers think the bugs they see on the ground in or around the garage and foundation are maggots. Call us or contact us for a free home inspection. We will get the situation under control and have your home or business structure safe, healthy, and termite free.