Termite Swarms: The season that can cause you serious trouble

Termite infestations may not be a top-of-mind issue for most people — until that warm, beautiful day in late spring or early summer when swarming termites show up uninvited and make themselves at home in the living room. Both residential and commercial structures may have termite swarming events during the termite swarm season; though, naturally, no one wants termites in their homes or businesses.

How does a Termite Swarm Occur?

When termites swarm indoors, they will come out of walls or wooden construction (baseboards, door frames, posts, etc.) through small holes. These are called “exit holes” and were created by worker termites. A termite swarm will last about 30-40 minutes and they will fly toward a light source, typically collecting around windows and sliding glass doors. If these termites cannot find soil, they will die in a few hours from dehydration.

Often times, homeowners come home from work to find many dead termites (or sometimes just their wings) on window sills, countertops, around furniture, etc. This is the aftermath of a termite swarm.

Termite swarms can occur both indoors and outdoors. Most of the time, a termite swarm is the only time homeowners actually see termites or find out they have an infestation in their home before any damage is discovered. Basically, a termite swarm is nature’s way for termites to spread and establish new colonies. Mature termite colonies will produce winged reproductive termites that will fly off from the colony in great numbers.

How to Identify a Termite Swarm

Termite infestations happen in the blink of an eye, so it is important that you are able to identify termite swarms quickly and correctly. As previously mentioned, the swarming stage is when many termites are ready to establish a new colony and reproduce to fill that colony.

In many ways, termite swarmers resemble flying ants, and they don’t come alone. Termite colonies begin forming immediately after swarmers hit the ground in a suitable spot, and termites are good at making homes just about anywhere that has a cellulose source and a healthy amount of moisture–exactly the kind of environment that your house provides!

So What Does This Mean for My Home?

If you’ve found a swarm of termites in your home, it’s important to act quickly. Termite swarmers will begin to establish a new colony immediately after landing in a suitable location, and infestations can occur before you know it.

The first thing to do is to identify what type of termite you have in your home. One of the easiest ways to do this is to evaluate the damage that the termites have done to your home.

  • Subterranean termites live in the ground, and their damage starts there too. If you have a subterranean termite infestation in your home, the first place you should check for damage is the parts of your house that are closest to the ground–especially the crawlspaces. Damaged wood structures in your crawl space along with visible mud tubes along walls and other structures in the vicinity.
  • Drywood termites create a substantial amount of damage in the wood that they infest. To check for this termite species, inspect your roof or attic for signs of termites burrowing into the wood, like small holes in wooden surfaces. Any wood surfaces that are directly exposed to the outdoors are particularly at risk of infestation and eventual damage.

How To Reduce the Risk from Termite Swarms

Built-up moisture in the wood resulting from damaged timber or timber with ground contact on your property can potentially attract termites. Regular inspection of your home has to be a key activity to protection against a termite infestation.

Actions to keep your home safe:

  • Keep mulch away from the foundations of your home
  • Regularly check the outside and subfloor areas of your home for mud tubes and damaged wood – common symptoms of a termite infestation
  • Practice good housekeeping and maintenance – repair any damaged soffits, roof tiles, or fascias
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
  • Prevent the accumulation of water – ensure downpipes and gutters are working well to divert rainwater away from your house

Check for an Infestation

Because termite swarms indicate that a current colony is flourishing nearby, it’s important to inspect your home and property if you happen to discover them. If you think you may have any termite activity, be sure to call a City Pest Control Services specialist for an inspection as soon as possible.

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