Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners and filtration systems. Termites can injure living trees and shrubs, but more often are a secondary invader of woody plants already in decline.
Spring typically is when large numbers of winged termites, known as “swarmers,” emerge inside homes. In nature, termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies. 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 new colonies in the soil. Few swarmers emerging outdoors survive to start new colonies. Swarmers emerging indoors are incapable of eating wood, seldom survive, and are best removed with a vacuum.They do, however, indicate that an infestation is present.
Discovering winged termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment.
People often confuse winged termites with ants, which often swarm at the same time of year.
The swarmers are attracted to light and are often seen around windows and doors. Termite swarmers emerging from tree stumps,woodpiles, and other locations out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean that the house is infested. On the other hand, if winged termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there’s a good chance the house is infested also and treatment may be warranted.
Other signs of infestation are earthen (mud) tubes extending over foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists, etc. The mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker.
Often times there will be no visible indication that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for years, hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact.
Termites have a caste system consisting of workers, soldiers, reproductives, a king and a queen. Subterranean termites swarms occur when a termite colony has grown so large that they send out new reproductive (swarmers) termites to start new colonies. The swarmers can come out in the day or night depending on the specific species. Eastern subterranean termites usually swarm during the day usually after rain has occured and Formosan subterranean termites swarm at night around Mother’s Day.
Do you live in Mobile, Baldwin or Washington County and think you may have termites?
If so, call the experts at Bama Pest Control today to schedule a FREE termite estimate.