How to Survive When Termites Swarm

Know the telltale signs of termite infestation, which include crumbling drywall, sagging floors and/or doors, small holes in wood, tiny mud tubes and insect wings.
Eliminate any wood to soil contact. Termites live in the soil eating wood products (paper, plant materials and cellulose). Eliminate their access to food sources by removing mulch, firewood or wood debris from around the perimeter of your home.
Divert water away from the foundation of your home. Termites need water to live and are attracted to wet soil. Keep your foundation dry through soil grading and properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. In addition, repair any leaky faucets, roofs, gutters and waterlines.
Take away any access that the critters may have to your home. This means trimming all shrubs and bushes away from your home's foundation and removing all termite infested trees and stumps. In addition, seal any cracks or holes in your foundation, which may provide easy access to swarming termites.
Pre-treat any new construction. Consider using termite resistant materials such as treated drywall, wood studs, joists or Termi-mesh (a treated steel screen used when pouring foundations).
Set up quarterly appointments with a certified termite professional. Such inspections will offer in-depth preventative strategies as well as treatment options for active infestations.
Use bait stakes as a preventative measure. This system offers home owners an easy way to reduce the chance of termite infestation. Look into do-it-yourself kits available at most home centers or hardware stores.

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Termite Swarming

Subterranean termite swarming season is the time when winged “swarmer” termites leave their colonies to create new ones. It is often how homeowners find out their home is infested. Unfortunately, termite swarmers usually only appear when the colony is mature and damage is under way. And sometimes they do not swarm at all.

Nationally, subterranean termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damage to homes on average each year, according to the National Pest Management Association. And some experts say that estimate is too low.

A swarm is an indicator that a termite colony is present and a termite inspection should be scheduled.

Many people choose not to treat a swarm and opt to have an estimate for control of the termite colony that is producing the swarm. Swarming termites often die naturally as quickly as they would from a swarm remediation treatment.

Termite swarmers are often confused with flying ants. It is important to have a sample positively identified by a qualified professional..

Termite swarms are a natural part of the reproductive cycle of a termite colony. Termite swarmers are often viewed as a nuisance, but more importantly they are an indicator that a colony is present in or beneath a structure. When a colony reaches maturity, they seek to advance the species by developing winged male and female reproductive “swarmers” called alates. Termite swarms typically occur between the months of February and May, but in some instances occur at other times of the year. The swarm event is usually triggered by exterior weather conditions. In the early spring when the weather warms up and there is a period of rain, you may encounter one or more of these events. If you do have a swarm it is very important to have a qualified professional properly identify that it is actually termites.

Once the male and female reproductive swarmers emerge they fly towards a light source. You may see a pile of lacy translucent wings and dead insects in the general vicinity of the swarm or in nearby window sills. After a short flight, they land, break off their wings, pair off, and seek a suitable environment in which to begin a new colony. Only a very small percentage of swarming termites survive to initiate new colonies. Most all of the termites that swarm inside a structure will die within hours of the swarm event.

Termite swarmers do not generally cause damage to a structure, as their primary goal is reproduction. The damage done by termites is caused by wingless worker termites that do not like to be exposed to light or the elements. They are usually found consuming the wood framing within your walls. Termite swarms are isolated events that only happen a few days out of the year. When the termite colony has released all of the swarmers it has produced the swarming activity will stop, however it is important to understand that the termite workers who are present behind the scenes will remain active all year round.

by Cooper Pest Solutions

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