Termites are wood-destroying insects that cause about $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States. It just so happens that this is the time of the year that termites swarm! The month of March is like a kick-off for pest control companies not just in Brevard County, but many other states. Actually, the week of March 7th to the 13th is Termite Awareness Week.
Now that that special week came and went, we do not want to let our guard down from these wood-destroying insects. When termites swarm, what do you do? Well, they swarm after the original colony is full and is expanding because of reproduction. They also swarm at different times of the year. If you see this in your home, it is important to take care of it right away.
Let’s take a look at why it is important to know about termite swarms, why termites swarm, when they swarm, male and female termite swarms, termites and humid climates, indicators of termite swarms, and when to call a professional.
Why It is Important to Know About Termite Swarms
You spend a lot of money on your home and its upkeep and you want it to last as long as possible. However, termites are wood destroying organisms and can take over the home. Furring strips, trusses, baseboards, wood flooring, and more! When you see termite swarms, it is important to take care of them right away.
Why Termites Swarm When They Do
Termites swarm after their original colony grows to capacity and is ready to expand. For many of these colonies, this can happen once a year. There can be hundreds or even thousands of swarmers. A little factoid; swarmers are also known as alates, just in case you wanted to use that in a conversation to look super smart. Or weird, like me.
Alates main purpose in life is to reproduce in order to grow the original colony. These busy termites reside in the soil near the surface of their nest until the perfect conditions are just right to fly away and look for a new home. When conditions are right, the swarmers fly away to pair off with a mate.
When Do Termites Swarm
This is an important question, as ants and termites are commonly misidentified. So it’s good to know when to look out for termites. Across Florida, there are over twenty species, but the most popular types of termites that swarm are:
Subterranean termites– social termites that live in underground colonies based on the caste system. They are made up of the reproductive, the worker termites, and soldiers. Nesting in the soil and or near water, they often swarm in the spring and during daylight hours. In addition, they make mud tubes to protect themselves from predators.
Drywood termites – infest dry wood and swarm a little later in the year such as late summer, early fall.
Dampwood termites – is a type of termite that requires higher humidity and contact with free water. They swarm from January to October.
Male and Female Termite Swarms
The swarmers include both males and females, and the amount bred each year is different based on the size of the colony. This behavior is repeated throughout other termite colonies in the area. There can be hundreds if not thousands of swarmers for each colony!
Once paired, the newlyweds shed their wings, mate, and find a new home to start a nest to populate, if conditions are favorable. Each swarm is typically spread out over a few days, with the largest release on the first day, and smaller ones on the days following.
Termite Swarms and Humid Climates
The one thing that all termite swarms have in common is that they mostly wait the day after a good rain shower when the sky is overcast and the wind is under 6mph. This is because wet soil helps these swarmers build their nests, and they thrive in a more humid climate.
However, don’t be surprised if a few swarmers lost their way into your home, perhaps from an open door or window. They have been known to miscalculate their landing point and end up indoors.
How to Prevent Termites
Termite swarms can be a good indicator that there is a current colony near your home. Therefore, it is very important to:
1. Inspect your home and property for any active colonies and signs of termites
2. Always check for conducive conditions around your home that can aid termites to gain access to your home. Such as any vegetation touching your home, standing water, or other landscaping issues
3. Prevent termites with regular treatments and inspections of your home to ensure termites stay away from it.
4. If you don’t have downspouts, consider installing these to carry the water away from the house.
5. Keep your gutters clean and make sure you don’t have negative grading in the yard. Proper drainage is essential.
6. Store firewood away from the home as it attracts termites.
Signs of Termites
1.Hollow wood– tapping on wood of the home, such as the outside of the garage. If it has a hollow sound, you may have termites
2.Mud tubes – protective tunnels the termites use to travel back and forth
3.Wings after a swarm– these will often be left all over the ground after a swarm of termites
If you find termite-damaged wood in your home, you know you have a problem and need a professional. This means the termites are eating the wood and this is helping grow their colonies. The wood, as well as grass and leaves, are a few food sources that have cellulose. This is what the termite likes to eat, but unfortunately, this can damage the structure of your home.
When to Call a Professional
Call a professional when you see a termite swarm. Even though they usually last only a few days, it is important for an inspector to see what is going on. He/she can search the home for more termites and possible other wood-destroying organisms.
The professional wants to be part of protecting your home and is there to help. Termite control is an effective way to get rid of the problem and the professional has different types of termite treatments. Contact the pest pros at Honor Services for information on a variety of available termite treatments.
Termites are bad news for a home and it is important to take care of them right away. A termite swarm means that the colony is growing and needs to be destroyed. If you think you are in need of our pest control services, leave us a comment below!