As we move further into spring and eventually transition into the summer months, termite activity will increase in the form of termite swarms. Unfortunately, the presence of swarms does not mean that termites are just now showing up in your immediate environment. Often referred to as “the silent destroyer” termites are generally present throughout the year, but homeowners may only be aware of them once the swarms are visible. An infestation may already exist been taking place, potentially causing damage to your home.
What Is a Termite Swarm?
Termites can enter the structure of your home and remain undetected for extended periods of time. Subterranean termites are especially skilled at creating mud tunnels that twist and wind their way through your house. These tunnels allow colonies to gain access to your home, where they can grow and develop over time.
As the colonies grow and become over crowded, or if there is a shortage of food, the laws of nature dictate that it is time to find new areas to colonize, essentially forcing the displacement of many of these termites. These mature colonies will produce reproductive termites that are winged, enabling them to fly and seek out other spaces to inhabit. These “swarmers” or winged termites, can often be confused with flying ants, or even mosquitoes to the untrained eye.
Although the primary responsibility of termite swarmers is to reproduce and create new colonies, many will not survive as they may fall victim to other predators or the elements. This may account for the vast numbers that leave the colony all at once, giving a good indication of the size and development of the colony.
When and Where Termites Swarm
Swarmers will leave the colonies in large droves, and prefer to fly on warm days. The warm weather makes the spring season the optimal time for this to occur with peak periods between May and June. Certain types of termites are more prone to swarming during the day while others will swarm at night.
With indoor termite swarms, worker termites will create small, exit holes in door or window frames, baseboards, walls or any wooden structure. This allows the swarmers to exit and continue on their search for livable space. Swarmers typically gravitate toward windows or doors where light comes in, if they are unsuccessful in reaching the outdoors they will die within hours. Homeowners may notice small piles of insects or sometimes just their wings, around the window sills or furniture.
For swarms occurring outside, homeowners will observe large clusters of small, winged termites with swarming time lasting about 30 minutes in any one location.
Signs of Infestation
Observing the evidence of a termite swarm both indoors or outdoors should prompt homeowners to look for additional signs of a termite infestation. Since these low profile insects will work inside wood or underground, they are not always easy to spot. In other instances, termites can leave behind obvious signs that they have been inhabiting a space for quite some time.
Common signs of termite infestations:
- Discarded wings- after a termite swarm, swarmers will shed their wings after taking flight
- Fecal Matter –Small piles of fecal matter may be left behind, particularly by Drywood termites.
- Mud tubes – made from wood and soil, subterranean termites are experts at tunneling their way into your home through mud tubes, designed to protect them and provide ease of entry.
- Wood damage- although internal wood damage caused by termites goes unnoticed until it has progressed to a more destructive level , keeping an eye on visible areas of the home that are made of wood, can be helpful for early detection.
Homeowners are encouraged to be aware and observant of evidence of termites in order to catch any brewing infestations. :
- Annual Inspection by a state-licensed termite inspector will look for signs of previous and active infestations as well as conditions conducive for new infestations
- Taking careful note of the evidence from an indoor termite swarm (such as broken termite wings near window sills or doorways) can be useful in determining where the infestation may be lurking.
- As in the case of older homes, knowing the history of the home, including previous termite problems, is helpful in keeping a professional termite inspection top of mind.
- Any additional structure built onto the house requires special attention. Termites can use the gaps and spaces in between concrete pads to travel and set up their colonies.
- Mud tunnels found on the exterior walls of the home are also a good indication that an infestation is nearby.
Termites are currently swarming now in Southwest and Central Florida as well as throughout Arizona. Contact your Truly Nolen termite expert as soon as possible to schedule a thorough inspection to accurately identify the type of termite at hand, as well as the most effective treatment application needed.
Accurately identifying and treating a termite infestation is best handled by a trained and licensed termite professional. Your Truly Nolen professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan SM, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites under a single contract. Call Truly Nolen today to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free!