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Why You Should Never Ignore A Termite Swarm

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Web Articles

Submitted by Karen Pye, President of A-1 Inc. Exterminators

Moderate climates like those found here in Virginia and other southeastern coastal regions don’t experience the same freezing temperatures that many northern states do during the winter. The soil temperatures remain relatively constant all year long even when there’s snow on the ground, meaning that many homeowners can see swarms of termites on or near their homes as early as January.

In these moderate climates, termite colonies work actively all year long, but homeowners may only see a swarm of termites early in the year and not recognize them for what they are. Once the swarm subsides, homeowners may be lulled into a false sense of security since the problem is visibly gone.

Any time you see a swarm of insects on or near your home, the insects should be positively identified. This is especially so for wood-consuming termites: Even though the swarming behavior may be short-lived, the termite colony will continue to feed on wood in your home’s structure all year, regardless of outdoor temperatures.

If you see a swarm of any kind, be sure to save some of the dead insects, or their wings if they become separated. In the case of termites, swarming termites do not bite, but shortly after they swarm their wings break off and the colony members will retreat to hidden areas or voids in the wall to search for soil. Often, the termites will die there if they cannot reach the soil. If that’s the case, many times a homeowner will only find a mass of separated insect wings as the evidence of a swarm.

If you find a mass of insect wings, save them for identification by a pest control professional. As harmless and fleeting as saving insect wings can seem, these are critical for evidence and could help you recognize a giant warning sign of a termite problem. If you do have termite problem, your home’s wood will continue to serve as a feast for hidden termite colonies until it’s treated by a professional.

Keys to identifying and treating a termite problem:

  • Always collect samples of insects or insect evidence like broken-off wings if and when you see a swarm of anything on or near your home.
  • If the insect swarm stops or appears to leave the area, don’t assume the problem is gone. In the case of swarming termites, reproducing termites create the swarm, but worker termites are continually eating wood all year. Call a professional to provide an inspection and identify the point of entry into the structure and estimate the cost for termite treatment.
  • When getting estimates for termite treatment, ask about the different methods and what types of products they use. All treatments are not created equal and it’s important to make apples-to-apples comparisons.
  • Ask to see the label for the treatment product they’re and ask them to point out what sections of the label pertain to the treatment that will occur on your structure. Your home is built with a certain type of construction and the label should specifically list how the product should be applied to your type of structure.
  • Always ask for references.

Originally published on Angie’s List

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