Large swarms of winged insects inside and/or around the home is the most obvious sign of termite activity. Swarming occurs when reproductive male and female termites exit the colony and attempt to begin building a new colony. Since it takes most termite colonies at least three years to produce termite swarms, this is a likely sign of an ongoing problem.
When do termites swarm?
The exact dates termites swarm vary each year according to geographic regions, species type and weather conditions. Swarming season begins in February and can last through May or early June. As a general rule, most subterranean termites swarm under these conditions:
- Daytime, usually mid-day
- Often following rain
- Formosan termites are a notable exception in that they typically swarm in the early evening.
Other signs home owners should watch for:
- Dead termites or wings around windows, doors, heating vents, or in bath tubs and sinks, certain signs of termite activity.
- Termite mud tubes on walls located outside or inside the structure. The tubes are either round of flat and usually measure at least 1/4 inch or wider. They look like their name – a tube of mud.
- Damaged wood. Termites eat from the inside of the wood out, so damaged wood is sometimes very difficult to detect. “Hollow” sounding wood should be inspected for termite damage
- Live termites. Termites are sometimes found while doing home remodelling or repair. Worker termites are small, whitish creatures that will quickly move away when exposed to light.
Termites vs. Ants
It is often difficult to determine the difference between termites and ants. Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) and are of almost equal length. Ants also have two pair of wings but the fore wings are much larger than the hind wings.
- Termites have relatively straight antennae while ants have elbowed antennae.
- Ants generally do not swarm at the same time as termites, but it can happen.
- Termites have a thick waist and ants have a narrow waist
- Termites have straight antennae and ants have elbowed antennae
- Termites have four wings that are all equal in length
- Ants have four wings, however, two are larger and two are smaller
- Responsible for millions and millions of dollars in damage to home/businesses each year.
- Live for 15 years
- Lay 1 egg every 15 seconds
- Have 4 wings
- Burrow tiny mud tunnels to a source of wood
- Leave sawdust near windows
- Enjoy wood resulting from leaky plumbing
- Can destroy entire house in about 2-3 years
- Found in every U.S. state except Alaska
- Help the food chain by recycling wood for the soil