In late winter and early spring, weather turns warm and rain showers occur often; creating the perfect conditions for termite colonies to swarm.
The young adult male and female swarmers crop up in large groups and start selecting new locations to build their colonies. Mating partners break off their wings to symbolize they are a couple, how romantic. If you find piles of small insect wings near your windows, doors, light fixtures, or in spider webs… there is a good chance that a swarm of termites was near and a termite colony may be nesting in and around your home. Mud tubes, damaged wood, and even cracked/peeling paint can be signs of a termite infestation. (To learn more about signs of termite infestation, check our previous blog!)
Unfortunately, termites are not the only insects that get active in the warm spring. Carpenter ants, another critter that nests inside wood, also swarm in the spring.
Carpenter ants are usually red, black, or a combination of those colors and they enter buildings and homes to nest or forage. Their common name, “carpenter”, refers to the way they make their nests in wood, creating smooth tunnels and galleries. They are typically found in wood that is structurally sound, like your new home. Colonies are normally formed during the first warm days of spring through June, depending on the climate. Carpenter ants often build a parent nest and multiple satellite nests, which can be found in neighboring trees or adjacent structures. If a parent nest is found indoors, it’s often associated with a water leak or other source of moisture.
To better prevent and control termites and carpenter ants problems, it starts with identifications; the swarmers for both species have wings, which you can differentiate them by. Wings of termites are equal in size, and ants’ wings are larger in front, smaller in back. Additionally, termites have straight bead-like antennae while ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have a broad waist while an ant’s waist is constricted.