Termites Swarming and Ants Marching


Termites and ants are among the top pests homeowners worry about, and entomologists from HomeTeam Pest Defense are already beginning to see them swarming and "marching" into homes this spring. According to HomeTeam’s research, 35% of homeowners have experienced a termite problem at some point and 84% percent have experienced a problem with ants. Both subterranean termites and winged ants have wings and are capable of limited flight. In fact, you can tell them apart by their wings. 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.

Termites have wings that are equal in size,
straight antennae and a broad waist.

Winged ants have wings that are unequal in size
(hind wings are shorter than front wings),
elbow-shaped antennae and a constricted waist.

If your home is being invaded by ants, you have several treatment options to choose from, which vary depending on what type of ant that has infested your home. After identifying the correct species, a systematic approach should be used to ensure extermination. Application of residual pest control materials, baits, sprays, and dusts are suggested in order to eliminate the nuisance.

If you suspect that you have a termite infestation in your home, it’s especially important to call a pest control professional. Subterranean termites can cause damage to your home, especially if they are not discovered and treated quickly. Here are four common signs of termites:

  • Mud Tubes: These are likely the most visible sign of subterranean termites. These shelter tubes are made of soil and partially digested cellulose stuck together. The tubes are usually brown and the width of a pencil. Termites build mud tubes to travel from their homes in the soil to their feeding source (known as the wood in your house). Mud tubes can be found running along concrete, drywall, or any other type of surface, and can extend upward for many feet.
  • Wings: After the subterranean termites swarm, they will clip and discard their wings. If you find piles of insect wings near your windows, doors, light fixtures, or in spider webs, there is a good chance that a swarm of termites is near. The original termite colony could be nesting in your walls, under your foundation, or somewhere close by.
  • Termites feeding on wood/Termite damage

  • Swarmers: Winged termites swarming in your home is often the first sign of termite infestation. Termite swarms usually occur in the spring after a rain, however, on the west coast, swarms may occur during the fall. These massive swarms can be very alarming with as many as 65,000 termites in the swarm. These winged termite swarms are attracted to light and will fly towards windows and light fixtures.
  • Damage: Termite damage is not always easy to detect. Many times termites will feed on soft wood like doorframes and window trim. Termites hollow out the wood leaving the thin painted surface intact. Severe damage is obviously more costly to repair but not always easily found. Termites may feed on wood several years before a swarm will occur. Heavily infested wood will typically have soil and mud tubes within it and the wood is usually brittle and breaks apart easily.

If you see any of these, or any other, signs of termites, you should call a professional pest control company right away. They will be able to provide a termite inspection and give you clear choices as to what you need to do to ensure that your home stays termite free. For more information on termite infestations and treatment, contact HomeTeam Pest Defense.

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