What Do You Do if You See a Termite Swarm?
Termite Swarms Are a Sign To Get Help
When termites swarm indoors, it can be a traumatic experience for any homeowner. Termites infest wooden construction elements found in the home such as baseboards, door frames, posts, etc. Mature termite colonies will produce winged reproductive termites that will fly off from the colony in great numbers. This is nature’s way of termites spreading and establishing new colonies. Termite swarms can occur both inside and outside a home. They emerge into the home through tiny holes called “exit holes”. Exit holes are usually found higher up on a wall and are created by worker termites to allow the swarmers to leave the colony.
A termite swarm will last about 30-40 minutes and the swarming termites will fly toward a light source. You will typically see them collecting around windows and sliding glass doors. If these termites cannot find soil, they will die in a few hours from dehydration. If you’re not home when a swarm occurs you will most likely find many dead swarmers (or sometimes just their wings) on windowsills, counter tops, around furniture, or other areas near a light source. This is the aftermath of a termite swarm.
Most of the time, a termite swarm is the first evidence a homeowner has of termite activity and potential damage. The swarmers will not eat or damage your home, but their thousands of colony-mates will.
Termites Eat Away Your Home and Your Finances
Termites cause an estimated $5 billion in damages in the U.S. every year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). For U.S. residences alone, termites are responsible for an estimated $1 billion in damage each year. For the average U.S. residence, termite damage could cost you about $3000 or more depending on the amount of inflicted damage and the size of the swarm.
In Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana and Oklahoma the warmer and more humid climate is the perfect recipe for termite infestations. Understanding the signs of termite activity is critical for home and business owners alike.
Tips On Handling A Termite Swarm:
- Spray the swarmers with a can of insect spray. They will die naturally unless they have access to soil, so emptying a can of insect spray is unnecessary
- Try to seal the exit holes. Swarmers must escape and by sealing the holes with tape or other materials, this will only cause them to make new holes
- Try to contain them. This can be done by shutting the door to the room where they are swarming. Sometimes, a clear plastic bag can be attached over the exit hole, so the swarmers fly into the bag
- Vacuum them up and throw the full bag into the garbage. The swarmers in the bag will die and they cannot spread.
- Save a bag full of insects to show a trained inspector
- Call a reputable termite company. A trained inspector will be able to make a positive identification of the type of termite and recommend the best termite control method to solve the problem
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