Termite Swarming Season

By
Home Inspector with Pillar To Post® Professional Home Inspection
http://actvra.in/PJD

February is swarming season for termites as well as some ants. Termite reproductives emerge from their nests to mate mid to late February. These mating flights are commonly called "swarms."

Seeing the actual swarm is not a common site, but seeing the aftermath is. Termite males will usually die after mating, females that do not find shelter will die as well. If you do find dead termites or a live swarm around your home, it is a good idea to get a termite inspection. Chances are very high that you have a termite infestation.

Other insects such as ants will swarm during February as well and it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. Termites have thick bodies with no pinched waist. Ants have a pinched waist. Termites have four wings all the same size, ants have four wings, but their hindwings are shorter than their forewings. Termites have straight beadlike antennae, while ants have elbowed or bent antennae.

Termites can swarm from many different areas, but are commonly found aSwarming termites round window sills inside and outside the house, around porch lights, and even coming from the ground. Termites can be attracted to lights at night, and this is the main reason you may find them scattered below porch lights or outside your windows.

If you believe you may have termites, call a pest control operator for an inspection. Be sure to save the winged termites to show your pest control operator for verification, and show them the area in which you found them. They should do a thorough inspection around the house, looking for mud tubes or other signs of termite activity. In some cases, they may not find active termites, but if you found swarmers it may still be a good idea to treat your home if it is within your budget.

There are several treatment options for termites. The most common are contact insecticides and baits. A trench may be dug around the home and a barrier type treatment will be applied to the soil. Termite damage found in bath traps or around expansion joints may warrant drilling holes around concrete and applying pesticides within the holes. Baits are little stations applied around the home about every 3 feet. These can be more attractive to homeowners because they are less invasive. Bait stations are checked about every 3 months for termite activity. Once termites start eating the wood within the stations, a piece of bait containing pesticide is placed in the stations. The termites will feed on the bait, take it back to the colony and feed their nestmates.

There are also preconstruction options for termite control. Borates applied to wood will make the wood unappetizing to termites and prevent them from feeding. Pesticides applied to the slab is also a common preconstruction treatment option.

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Ambassador
774,781
Robert & Lisa Hammerstein
Keller Williams Valley Realty - Hillsdale, NJ
Bergen County NJ Real Estate
This is great information to know.  We apprecicate hearing it from the experts.  We bookmarked this for future reference for our Blog Library.  Thanks for sharing!
Feb 27, 2007 08:07 PM #1
Rainmaker
1,056,855
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Hi Kelly:  Do these termites start swarming in Feb on the coast where temperatures are still at freezin or below -- or should we start looking for them at a later time.  What about those carpenter ants -- when do they make a debut?

 

Thanks for the heads up.

Feb 27, 2007 08:17 PM #2
Rainer
78,048
Vicky Poe
Good Ole Rocky Top - Crossville, TN
Realtor/ Auctioneer
Termites do not swarm in Tennessee until later in the year.  Usually in April-May depending on the weather.  Just because you have swarmers does not necessarily mean that you have termites in your home.  It should be a red flag that they are in the neighborhood.  In the old chloradine days you did not have to worry about termite reoccurances, but not you do need to maintain a termite contract to help insure that they do not return.  You have to watch the termite inspector because he may try and nail you with a termite treatment with flying ants.  Ants have a jointed body and termites have a slender body.  I once had a termite try to tell me that a client needed a termite treatment when it was only a mud dobbers nest.  Sometimes those guys think that the rest of us are ignorant.  I was an Orkin termite lady about 30 years ago.
Feb 27, 2007 09:43 PM #3
Anonymous
Anonymous
Mary Hildenbrand
It has been a little warmer lately here in Tennessee. I was just wondering today when the termite swarms will be out. We have a couple of places where they come out and swarm for 20 minutes and die. Birds love to clean up the mess. We had our home treated years ago when we spotted them in the landscaping. We were told to leave the wood boards outlining the bushes and flowers. As long as they have something to eat, they will stay put. So far, they have left our house alone.
Feb 27, 2007 10:14 PM #4
Rainer
127,477
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate
Yikes!!!!!!!!  Thank goodness there aren't many termites here in Northern Michigan.  Maybe the cold is not to their liking? 
Feb 28, 2007 01:58 AM #5
Rainer
14,715
Brian Papaccio
Wells Fargo Home Loans - Newark, DE
Good Picture too...  We have some flower beds that are cut in with som huge wood logs (12in x 12in x8+ft) of course they are also 30 years old or more and rotten through so when ever it is swarm season there are thousands of those winged devils all over the logs.  We got lucky the last two years and didn't see any, but 3 years ago we had to call some one in.
Feb 28, 2007 08:31 AM #6
Rainer
18,390
Kelly Cox
Pillar To Post® Professional Home Inspection - Melbourne, FL

Sorry all, I guess that I should have been a little more specific.  This is primarily focused on Florida and the S.E. United States.  However, termites are a significant problem nationwide and cause over 500 million dollars anually across the U.S.

As a Realtor, the best thing that you can do is advise your clients to have a reputable pest control company to conduct a Termite/Wood Destroying Organism Inspection prior to finalizing a contract.  Some states and some lenders require it.  The VA and FHA certainly do.

Swarming season starts in Florida during late January to mid February.  Those states north of us would be a little later in the season.

KJC

Feb 28, 2007 10:27 PM #7
Anonymous
Anonymous
Linda
What can anyone tell me about Florida termites. We have them swarming all thru our park. When do they do what it is they do in Florida(Tampa area)? We are moving soon to a NEW home and wonder should we exterminate before moving . Also we have ferrets and what would should we do after wards to protect them once we move back in. Should we shampoo carpet? Any help would be appreciated. Linda
Jun 02, 2008 10:04 PM #8
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Anonymous
Pest Control Las Vegas

Thanks for nice post !
When it comes to household pests, cockroaches are at the top of my disgusting list. They are dirty and smelly, and they leave droppings, body parts, and shed skins lying around.

People everywhere, in every walk of life know that a satisfied customer is the best form of advertising. If your friend is happy with the product or service provided by a company, you are very likely to call upon that same company.
In my humble opinion, one spider is one spider too many. Spiders are right up there with mice: I see one and I want to run screaming out of the house.

Pest Control Las Vegas

Sep 09, 2009 08:54 AM #9
Anonymous
Anonymous
Sharon
It is middle June and they are swarming in my house! My husband is out of work and I am only working part time! Seem like they are in the window area. Is there any thing I can do myself? I absolutely have no money for a exterminator.
Jun 22, 2010 11:57 PM #10
Anonymous
Anonymous
Cesar

Termite Brazil http://www.cupim.net.br

Jun 25, 2010 02:33 PM #11
Anonymous
Anonymous
Alhambra Termite Control

Termites are everywhere, but its better to seek professional help to get rid of them for life.

Mar 17, 2011 04:20 PM #12
Anonymous
Anonymous
Marc

I've just recently started having them turn up in my bath tub in the morning before I shower. I'm not sure where they come from as the bath tub seems to be the only place they appear. My bathroom is not on an exterior wall of the home, so there are no windows. Do you have any idea how they might be getting in there?

Apr 13, 2011 09:54 AM #13
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