Subterranean termites are destructive. Really destructive. They come up from the ground and feed on the wood of man-made structures for years without being detected. If you have not invested in ongoing, always active, termite protection for your property, they could be feeding on it right now. Here is a seasonal approach to detecting termites, as well as some tips for making your property less appetizing.

termite alates looking for a new nest
termites infesting a home


As the temperatures warm up, mature termite colonies begin to send winged reproductives in search of locations to establish new nests. These winged reproductives, also called swarmers, don't just swarm in the spring. They can swarm anytime during the warm months. But, spring is when it is most likely. That makes spring an important time of year to detect and prevent termites. 


When you see swarmers you should understand that swarms last only around 30 minutes. That means, those swarmers probably came from somewhere on your property, or near your property, so they are a warning sign of a current infestation.


Swarmers are looking for the best location to begin a colony. They will be looking for sources of wood, vegetation, and moisture. For this reason, it is important to move wood sources (especially damp wood) away from your foundation perimeter. Clean up leaves, twigs, and stick debris. Inspect gutters and downspouts to make sure rainwater is being channeled away from your foundation. Fix leaky spigots, hoses, and plumbing. Address any conditions that allow rainwater to dampen the soil near your outside walls.


All summer, subterranean termites are active. If you're lucky, you may see some signs of their activity. Hopefully, you'll see early signs and not the latter signs of termite damage.


Worker termites create mud tubes (also called shelter tubes) to get from the ground to the wood of man-made structures. Look for these shelter tubes in dark places. Workers do not like light. If your home is on a block foundation, you'll need to look inside each pier. While workers can create mud tubes any time of year, summer is a comfortable time, temperature-wise, to inspect for them.


During the summer months, it is a good idea to check under mulch and other wooden objects in your yard to see if there are termites underneath. Look for black insects with white wings or pale insects that look like maggots with six legs. You may find them in a stump, a dying bush, a log, or a similar object.


In fall, termites begin to slow down, if they haven't found a nice, warm area of ground underneath a man-made structure. It is important to understand that termites can feed all year long. That means, they can be feeding on your home in fall. This is the time of year to look for signs inside.


Subterranean termites don't like the light. This aversion to light will have these insects feeding all the way up to the paint on your walls, without chewing through. If they do this, the paint will begin to have a honeycomb look to it. If they feed underneath wallpaper, you may see damage that looks like water damage: bubbling, bulging, and such. If termites feed inside a sound piece of timber, it will sound hollow when you tap on it.


As with spring, it is important to address leaves, twigs, and sticks, as well as conditions that allow dampness in your yard. This is because worker termites are always looking for food, and a worker termite can travel as far as the length of a football field to find it.


There isn't much to learn about the detection and prevention of termites in the winter, other than understanding that they can feed through the winter if they've established themselves underneath your home or business.

For proactive termite protection in Aiken, South Carolina and the surrounding area, reach out to Aiken Pest Control to learn more about the Award-Winning Sentricon® System with Always Active™. When it comes to protecting man-made structures from destructive termites, nothing is as powerful as Sentricon® with Always Active™.


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