Termites: Swarms, identification and prevention

 

Termites: Swarms, identification and prevention | HomeTeam Pest Defense

It’s estimated that termites cause more than $5 billion worth of damage to homes in the U.S. each year. They eat 24/7 and are active in all states except Alaska, making them one of the most worrisome and structurally damaging pests for homeowners. Although they are a problem year-round, spring is when you are most likely to hear about them because that is when they swarm.

termite swarmSwarming season

Swarms are the result of a group of termites looking for a new colony, and are usually the first visible sign of a termite infestation. In springtime, young adult male and female swarmers crop up in large groups and start selecting new locations to build colonies. Mating partners break off their wings to symbolize that they are a couple. 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 is near, and a termite colony may be nesting in your home.

To see what a termite swarm looks like, check out this video captured by one of our technicians.

It is unwise to assume that termites are only springtime problems, and there are other ways besides swarms to tell if termites may be present.

termite damageCommon signs of a termite infestation

  • Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of a home.
  • Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Darkening or blistering of wood structures
  • Uneven or bubbling paint.
  • Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
  • Discarded wings near interior doors or on interior windowsills, indicating that swarmers have entered the home.

 Identifying termites

If you see winged insects during spring, don’t panic. Winged ants are commonly mistaken for termites. While termite wings are all the same size, the wings of an ant are larger in the front and smaller in the back. Additionally, termites have straight antennae, whereas ants have elbowed antennae. Termites have a broad waistline, while an ant’s waistline is constricted.

Here is a guide that shows how you can tell the difference between the two.

Termite vs. ants, termite or ant
Click to watch our video on how to tell the difference between a termite and an ant.

 

For help combating termites and other common household pests, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.

Preventing termites

You can minimize the risk of termites by:

  • Eliminating or reducing moisture in and around your home.
    • Repairing leaking faucets, water pipes and exterior air-conditioning units.
    • Repairing fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles.
    • Diverting water away from the house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Routinely inspecting the foundation of a home for signs of mud tubes, uneven or bubbling paint, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Replacing weather stripping and loose mortar around basement foundations and windows to prevent termites from getting in.
  • Monitoring exterior areas of wood, including windows, door frames and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
  • Maintaining an 18-inch gap between soil and any wood portions of your home.
  • Scheduling a professional pest inspection
  • Storing firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.

 How HomeTeam treats

Termites are a pest that are not easily dealt with using DIY treatments. There are also preventive services for both existing and new-home construction that can keep them at bay. A consultation with a HomeTeam termite specialist can provide you with further information on termite treatments for new construction, traditional termite protection methods, and the Sentricon® system so that you can actively defend your home.

Call HomeTeam Pest Defense at 877-461-7378 or visit www.pestdefense.com.

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