March 18, 2020
What Aiken Residents Need To Know About Termite Season
Subterranean termites are sneaky, destructive insects that live in the ground and feed on the inside of wood and other food sources. Most of the year, it is extremely difficult to detect them but, in spring, at the start of termite season, they may reveal themselves. Today, we're going to talk about how they reveal themselves and what you need to know about this important warning sign.
What Termites Do In Spring
As the heat and humidity levels rise, termites increase their activity. This increase in activity can trigger a queen to send out termite alates from her nest. The word alate means (winged). You may know these winged termites as swarmers. Unlike the other termites in the colony, termite swarmers are attracted to light. This lures them out into the open air, where they can be seen. The appearance of swarmers in spring is serious, whether you see them outside or inside your home.
Termite Swarmers Outdoors
When you see swarmers on your exterior walls or foundation, there are a few things you should understand:
- Termites don't swarm together for long. A swarm won't last more than around 30 minutes.
- Termite swarms don't travel far. Swarmers gather together in a swarm for the purpose of selecting a mate, not to make a long trip.
- After mating, swarmers break away from the swarm to start a nest. If swarmers are in a swarm, they're not done mating.
- When swarmers come to your property to start a new infestation, it will only be a small number of them.
If you find dozens of swarmers on your exterior walls or in your yard, this is a warning sign of a current and mature nest on or near your property. It doesn't mean they're feeding on your home, but it is quite possible because termites feed on multiple food sources at the same time. While they're eating a stump or shed in your yard, they can also be feeding on your home.
Termite Swarmers Indoors
Finding dozens or hundreds of termite swarmers inside your home will leave little doubt that your home is being eaten. But you should be aware that several colonies of termites can feed on your home at the same time without ever releasing swarmers inside your home. The termite species in our area create ground nests, and travel into homes through ground tunnels and tunnels inside wood. When they release their swarmers, they release them near the nesting site. Swarmers only release inside when they come from a nest that is next to the home, such as underneath mulch, woodpiles, or construction materials near foundation walls. They may also release into your home if they have a nest in a crawl space under your home.
Termite Swarmer Identification
It is important that you recognize swarmers when you see them, and not mistake them for other insects. While a termite is only about ⅝ of an inch long (that includes wing length), its black coloration and white wings make it easy to see and identify.
When swarmers are grouped together, their white wings will be the first thing you see. The wings of a termite swarmer are twice as long as the little insect itself, and their white coloration is bright when the wings are stacked on their back. This wing stacking occurs when termites are on the ground.
If an individual termite lands on your skin, you can easily identify it. No other insect has stacked wings that are rounded at the tips.
What To Do When You See Swarmers
If you live in South Carolina, reach out to Aiken Pest Control at the first sign of termite activity. Our team of certified termite control professionals has the experience and education to fully exterminate those wood-damaging pests. Contact us today for immediate assistance.