Termites are the single greatest economic pest in the U.S., costing home and business owners billions of dollars yearly. Not only do they consume structures, they also destroy valuable books, documents, and photographs, when given the chance. If you have seen what look like flying ants on your property or, worse, inside your house, you may be looking at termite swarmers. When a termite colony outgrows its present nest, swarmers are produced in order to establish new nests.
Subterranean termites live in family groups called colonies, where each termite in the colony performs a specific job that benefits the colony as a whole. One of these jobs is done by a caste of termites called reproductives, otherwise known as swarmers or alates. These are the flying-ant-like creatures you may see in the spring or fall.
These swarmers generally emerge in the daylight hours in the spring months. They may come up from the soil or emerge in large numbers inside a home and are destined to become kings and queens of new colonies. During their brief flight from the old colony, the winged termites will pair up and begin looking for a place to begin a new family.
Shortly after landing, the termite's wings fall off and the new kings and queens excavate a small chamber in a plot of soft soil. They crawl inside, seal the opening, and mate. They will then spend the rest of their lives out of sight. The queen's first batch of eggs will be laid within a few days or weeks and a new colony is on its way. A king and queen termite will often survive for a decade, reproducing the entire time, unless arrested.
Signs Of A Termite Infestation
Swarmers. These flying termites are an important warning sign but they are often missed since swarms are brief.
Shed wings. These may be found on foundations, windowsills, decks, or other nearby places after swarmers have come and gone.
Mud tubes on foundation walls. If you have a mature colony living inside your walls, you may see pencil thin tubes made of mud reaching from the soil up to the wood of your home.
Termite damage in a moist, shady spot. The outside of your home may have a spot that looks like a thousand knives have attacked it.
What To Do If You See The Signs
The best time to attack a termite problem is before it starts. The second best time to deal with one is just as soon as you become aware there is a problem. Having a year-round termite control plan in place before an infestation occurs can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in repairs in the long run. And jumping to action as soon as you see the signs can also save you thousands. If an infestation is allowed to continue unhindered, it will eventually lead to doors and windows that don't work properly, walls, ceilings, and floor that sag and bulge, and other structural problems.
If you see termite swarmers inside or around your home, it is time to call in the professionals to do a thorough inspection and put termite protection in place. Reach out to All-American Pest Control today with questions or to schedule service.