It’s that time of year again! As the weather warms up, it’s time to keep an eye out for swarms of termites. With the billions of dollars in damage that these destructive pests cause in the U.S. alone every year, it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge on what to look for and how to treat termites. Do you know what termite swarms look like? Do you know how to handle them if you spot them? In this blog, our team of termite exterminators at Deans Services share what homeowners need to know about termites in their homes.
Termite biology may not be an interesting subject to most, but if you’re a homeowner in Florida, you may at least want a quick overview of the way these destructive pests operate. This is because unless you have proper termite protection, these insidious little insects could cause serious damage to your home, and with termite swarming season upon us, it’s important to recognize any telltale signs of a termite infestation.
What is the Most Destructive Termite in Florida?
The most destructive type of termite in Florida is the subterranean termite. In nature, these are highly beneficial, as they aid in the decomposition of felled trees and return nutrients back to the soil; but in developed areas, the indiscriminate appetite of these zealous recyclers leads them to any wood available— including any found inside our homes.
How Big Are Termite Colonies?
A typical termite colony is made up of several thousand to over a million workers, all of which form a silently sprawling network of foragers underground.
What Attracts Termites?
These scouts are especially attracted to moisture-prone areas which can lead to foundation cracks, pipe chases, construction gaps, and other minuscule entry points around the home. Occasionally, termites must climb over a small amount of concrete—usually the slab, or foundation of the home. In order to avoid being exposed to other insects, or the dry outside air, passageways called “mud-tubes” are constructed.
When termites want to create new colonies, they send out termite swarmers. These winged pests exist solely to find a mate, reproduce, and begin a new termite colony.
What Do They Look Like?
These pests have wings and black bodies, which makes them look very different from the rest of the colony and are often mistaken for flying ants when they pour out in search of a cozy place to start a new colony. This can be dangerous since by the time a colony sends swarmers, it is already producing thousands of destructive workers, and if the swarmers are thought only to be ant swarmers, a very serious problem will continue unresolved. If you should suspect activity, call our office. One of our experts will be glad to dispatch a field rep for definitive identification.
When Do They Swarm?
Attracted to light, termites often swarm during the daytime, emerging from mud tubes in their underground nests. When you see them flying outdoors, you can expect that their nest is located somewhere near or on your property. When you find them indoors, it’s likely that they’ve already taken up residence inside your home.
How Long Do Their Swarms Last?
A termite swarm typically lasts between 30 and 40 minutes and involves the termites swarming around a light source like windows or glass doors. If they don’t find soil, they’ll die within a few hours. The aftermath of a swarm will usually consist of dead termite swarmers or their discarded wings on window sills, countertops, or around furniture. In most cases, you’ll never see the termites themselves, just any damage they may cause when they create a colony in your home.
To start, you can try to contain them by closing the door to the room they’re swarming in. Another option is to vacuum up live swarmers. If you keep the bag with the dead insects inside, you can show it to your local exterminator for proper identification and a thorough termite inspection. Your best option is to immediately call a termite exterminator because seeing a swarm likely means that you already have a termite problem. By acting quickly, you can avoid costly damage to your home.
Termites can be a nerve-wracking sight for homeowners. If you’re worried about the potential of termites taking up residence in your home, there are precautions you can put in place to protect your home. Perhaps the most secure is to get a professional termite inspection and consider investing in termite monitoring. Catching a termite problem early can save you a major headache. If you need effective termite control in Florida, trust our team here at Deans Services. Give us a call at 352-787-5300 to learn more about how we can help keep your home safe from these destructive pests!