Swarm Season 2014—Reports From the Field

This year’s termite swarm season has been one for the record books. And thanks to the proliferation of smart phones, we’ve received lots of videos of termites and swarming. We thought we’d collect some of the best videos and show you what folks across the country have been experiencing this spring.

 

 

This video was taken by Amy Chapman, a sales rep for the Sentricon® System in the Southeast. Here’s how she tells the story behind this swarm: “I met a client today to look at a home with active termites in the basement. We spent time adding Recruit AG in the basement and when we went to leave, termites were swarming in the driveway.  We went searching for the source and found termites swarming out of two logs about 10 feet apart in the woods adjacent to her home.”

 

 

Shawn Varchetti, owner of D-Bug, Inc. in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, shot the video above. The termites entered the home through a window, and were in full swarm when the Certified Sentricon Specialist™ entered the basement. Luckily, Sentricon was installed and got to work right away.

 

 

Here’s an ugly reveal of what lies underneath old flooring during a recent home renovation! This video was sent in by Greg Sudholdt, a sales representative of the Sentricon® System. It occurred during swarm season in Louisiana. It’s a good reminder to let a pest professional thoroughly inspect your home—no matter its age—before you make any structural changes.

 

 

Want to see a swarm in action? This video was also sent in by Greg Sudholdt. That’s a new colony of Formosan termites on the move. Thanks to heavy rains and high humidity, Formosan swarms were plentiful in Louisiana and neighboring states this year.

 

Remember, if conditions are right, swarm season doesn’t stop with the end of spring. It can continue through the warmer months, too. The swarm lasts just a few minutes, so chances are better that you’ll see the wings they leave behind. Look for shed wings around windowsills, doors, heating vents, even bathtubs and sinks. Whether you see the swarm itself or the aftermath, it’s best to call a professional immediately. Better yet, why wait for the swarm? Your local Certified Sentricon Specialist can set you up with a termite protection program that will help prevent a termite problem.

 

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The Sentricon(R) System Story


We thought that with swarm season just around the corner—or, depending where you live, arriving right now on your doorstep—we’d remind you how the Sentricon® System works to destroy not just one termite, but the entire colony. Swarm season occurs when newly developed reproductives leave the colony, shed their wings and attempt to create new colonies, so it’s important to understand why colony elimination is the best solution to your termite problem. “The Sentricon Story” video uses a quick-draw white board art technology to tell the tale!

Subterranean termites are social creatures, living in a highly organized caste system in an underground colony. Each caste member has a role, and they depend on each other for survival. The queen can lay millions of eggs in her lifetime. The king exists to reproduce with the queen. The soldier’s job is to protect the colony from invaders, like ants. Reproductives, or swarmers, are the termites with wings. When they’re ready, they emerge from the colony to begin new colonies. A colony can number from thousands of termites to millions, and it’s common to find two or more colonies competing for food around a property. The workers are responsible for feeding the colony by regurgitation, as other termites such as soldiers can’t feed themselves. Workers forage for food 24/7 by building tunnels and mud tubes from the colony to the food they find. Once they discover food, they mark it and their path to it with a pheromone—that’s a chemical they produce to communicate with each other. Termites can enter your home through an opening that’s as small as 1/32nd of an inch. If there’s a settlement crack, loose mortar joint, a small space around a drainpipe or a crack in your foundation, they’re in. And the damage begins.

 

The termite bait begins working the moment it’s put into the ground.   Just like a tree that expands its branches to absorb more sunlight, termites add additional tunnels off the main tunnels to maximize the colony’s chance of finding food. So naturally, they’ll find and begin feeding on the Sentricon bait stations. They can’t help it, it’s in their DNA! Their biology is why the bait—the science—the system—works. Once ingested, the patented active ingredient, noviflumiron, prevents the workers from molting. When they can’t molt, they die. And dead termites can’t feed their colony, so the colony dies. Because termites can’t detect noviflumiron, they continue feeding on the bait and deliver a lethal dose to the colony until it’s gone.

 

A Certified Sentricon Specialist™ will strategically place Sentricon stations about 10 feet apart around the perimeter of your home and in areas conducive to termite attack. He or she will check the stations and replace the bait when necessary, making sure it’s always working to prevent further attacks on your home. So every time you see those green stations, you can take pride in knowing that your home is being protected 24/7/365 by the product homeowners prefer over any other brand. That’s the science of the Sentricon® System—death to the queen, death to the termite colony—for good!

 

Tom Termite Takes Over During Termite Awareness Week!

From March 17th through the 23rd, 2014, the Sentricon® System promoted Termite Awareness Week.   However, at the beginning of the week, “Tom” Termite hacked into the Sentricon Twitter  account and proceeded to take over the tweeting duties. How did Sentricon eventually rid its social media of Tom? By doing what it does best—by utilizing scientific knowledge of termite behavior to eliminate the colony by ending the food supply chain they need for survival. In case you missed it, here is the timeline of Tom’s takeover, social media mischief, and ultimately his discovery of the bait station, which was his—and the colony’s–undoing:

But first, Tom posted this self-portrait:

Worker Head

And this was his first post:

He immediately went to work finding food for the colony…

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And shared some gossip.

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Eventually, Tom happened upon the Sentricon® System.

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He liked what was in the bait station so much he made a video:

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Tom complained a bit about his work.

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But overall, he seemed happy.

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Sometimes he shared too much information.

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The other worker termites got in on the good eats, too.

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However, it wasn’t too long before Tom felt something wasn’t right. Could it be that Sentricon was doing its job?

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And eventually, the entire termite colony started feeling the same way. So long, Tom.

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While Tom’s story may have been fictional, the effectiveness of the Sentricon® System is for real. Luckily, we were standing guard against Tom and the rest of the colony. Does Sentricon protect your space?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do the Queens of the Castle Think About the Sentricon® System? (Part 2)

For nearly twenty years, the Sentricon® System has protected homes just like yours. Here is Part 2 of our series of stories from the true “queens” of the castle. Find out what they think about Sentricon and the Certified Sentricon Specialist™ that helps protect their investment!

Laura, Dallas, Texas

laura from Dallas (2)

Laura decided to invest in the Sentricon® System for preventative reasons. “It’s not something that you want to be hit or miss. You want it taken care of. We don’t have to worry about what or how we’re going to afford to be able to repair the damage termites might cause. You don’t have to worry about where the next attack is going to be.”

Laney, Jackson, Mississippi

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Laney suffered through swarm season and then got the Sentricon® System installed. “It was an easy decision,” Laney declares. “The word around town from other people that have used it–I had already heard that they were pleased. “By the time that you find out that you’ve got termites, the damage can already be done before you see the evidence. It’s a must-have.”

Mandy, Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Mandy has been a loyal customer of her Certified Sentricon Specialist™ for over 15 years. When building a new home, she decided to get the Sentricon® System for preventative reasons. “After going through the trouble of building the house, decorating the house, the last thing I wanted was termite damage so there was no question. I like that it’s not just sticking a bunch of chemicals out into the environment, around my house, around my dog, around my children, around myself. It is truly an investment, not only in my house but also an investment with my family, an investment in my peace of mind. So many things can go wrong in a household. If I can eliminate one of them, I’m good.”

Clare, Monroe, North Carolina

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Clare is a busy dog lover that got the Sentricon® System for preventative reasons. “I don’t have to deal with it. It’s in the ground and boom. I don’t want to mess with chemicals or putting stuff all around the house. From my standpoint, not having to mess with it is great. I have two dogs and I don’t want to have to keep them away from wet stuff.”

Do you have a Sentricon success story to share? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or chat with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages. If you’d like to learn more about the Sentricon® System, visit our website and find a Certified Sentricon Specialist on our Find-A-Pro page.

Liquid or Bait? Watch our 3-D Video and Decide Which Method is Best

Our latest video goes 3-D with a termite colony. By going underground where termites live, you will get a feel for what termites want — to eat 24/7. See how the Sentricon® System works, and then learn about the differences between Sentricon and liquid treatments.

 

Subterranean termites that live in the soil are mother’s nature’s way of breaking down things like dead trees, yet they commonly invade homes like yours. Termites can’t tell the difference from the wood in your home from a dead tree. Your home might be your largest investment, but to a termite, it’s food!

Workers can forage for food nearly the length of a football field. Once food is found, they lay down a chemical trail of pheromones for others to follow. But even when a source is found, it’s the worker’s instinct to continue to search. So how do you protect your home and get peace of mind from this relentlessly foraging enemy? You have two options:

 

Liquid…

The objective of a liquid barrier is to create a continuous chemical barrier around the foundation of your home. When an individual termite comes into contact with the barrier, the termite dies. In order to apply an effective liquid barrier, it’s necessary to dig around your home’s foundation and in many cases, drill through concrete and brick to make the barrier continuous. This process takes several hours of preparation to apply potentially hundreds of gallons of termiticide. Even with this intense preparation, many things can obstruct the chemical barrier and limit the effectiveness of the liquid treatment, and a termite only requires 1/32nd of an inch to find their way through. Termites that contact the chemical barrier are killed, but liquid treatments degrade over time and aren’t designed to eliminate the colony, leaving your home vulnerable.

 

Versus Bait…

The Sentricon® System is a revolutionary product that uses the termite’s natural foraging instinct against them to eliminate their entire colony. Sentricon stations are professionally installed by a Certified Sentricon Specialist ™ and are strategically placed to be easily and quickly found by foraging termites. Remember, even when a food source has been found, the workers are constantly searching. And that constant search insures they will find a station. When they do, the workers distribute the bait into the hungry colony’s food supply. The bait is unknowingly passed from termite to termite. The workers die first and without workers, the rest of the colony cannot sustain itself. The entire colony is eliminated, including the queen. Sentricon offers around-the-clock protection from future colonies as well.

The termite colonies’ constant foraging makes liquid treatments vulnerable, but insures the success of the Sentricon® System. No digging, no structural drilling, just smart science. Sentricon is the only choice for true peace of mind and total termite colony elimination. Death to the termite queen, death to her colony, for good!

 

What Do the Queens of the Castle Think About the Sentricon® System?

The queen may be the heart of the termite colony, but a female homeowner puts her heart and soul into her home. If these two lock horns, who’s going to reign supreme? For nearly twenty years, the Sentricon® System has protected homes just like yours. Here are some stories from the true “queens” of the castle—find out what they think about Sentricon and the Certified Sentricon Specialist™ that helps protect their investment!

Laura, Dallas, Texas

Laura from Dallas part 1

Laura and her family kept seeing termites after liquid spot treatments. She says, “Living in Texas, they say you’re always going to have termites. The spot treatments were not working, so I decided to try something else. The reason why I am confident with it is that in the first inspection, there were termites in the station. So to me, that means it is working.”

Lynda, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Laura from Virginia part 1

Lynda is a homeowner that juggles multiple condominium properties. After dealing with termites invading several of the units, she decided to have Sentricon installed. “Mostly with me it’s environmental. It’s the most non-invasive. Termites ended after Sentricon.” Lynda is also satisfied with her Certified Sentricon Specialist. “You wouldn’t continue the contract more and more and more with someone if they didn’t give perfect service.”

Cindy, Southlake, Texas

Cindy from Texas part 1

Cindy is a hardworking homeowner that doesn’t have time for termites. “I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and he [the Certified Sentricon Specialist] came to me and said that this worked, let’s do it…and that’s the way it went. It’s a system. It’s in there and it works. I trust [the technician] to take care of it and if there’s a problem, he will let me know.”

Natalie, Houma, Louisiana

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Natalie had Sentricon in her previous house. However, when she and her family moved to a different home, they found over $50,000 worth of damage. They immediately had the Sentricon® System installed on their new home after repairs. “It’s a proven system,” Natalie says. “It’s a sense of security you have knowing that it’s a great product and it’s covered and backed by reputable companies. We felt better the day we got Sentricon.”

Do you have a Sentricon success story to share? We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or chat with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages. If you’d like to learn more about Sentricon, visit our website and find a Certified Sentricon Specialist™ on our Find-A-Pro page.

The Five Senses of Termites

Subterranean

They may look disorganized, but subterranean termites have traits that help them stay on their destructive foraging, feeding, and reproduction paths.

The well-organized underground colony system can be home to several hundred to millions of subterranean termite members. To find cellulose food sources and grow the colony, termites use social cooperation to survive and thrive. But do they use the five senses—sight, hearing, taste, touch and feel—the way other animals do? We asked Dr. Neil Spomer, a Global Urban Pest Management Lab Leader and Field Scientist for Dow AgroSciences, to shed some light on exactly how subterranean termites use their own peculiar anatomy to find other termites and the decaying wood in your backyard.

Can subterranean termites see?

Only the king and the queen termites have eyes. The workers and soldiers are blind. According to Spomer, “As far as how well they can see, we’re not sure. Once they go subterranean into the soil, we could speculate that their ability to see declines.”

What can subterranean termites hear?

Termites don’t really have ears. However, they can sense vibrations. One of the behaviors they exhibit when they experience a vibration is head-pounding, which is a communication method for the termite colony. The range and perception of their sensitivity to these vibrations is not well known.

Do subterranean termites have a sense of smell?

Termites navigate using their sense of smell. When a termite finds a food source, it leaves a pheromone scent trail to recruit other termites from the colony to come find the cellulose food source, too. The scent trail is an effective part of the colony’s communication system, helping to keep the whole colony fed. Spomer adds, “A pheromone is a chemical not as we would define a smell. Termites use their antennae to detect a chemical trail—more of a chemical response, not a traditional ‘sense’ that we would understand, but a chemical signal they receive.” Besides pheromones, termites also respond to colony odors and hydrocarbons on the cuticles of other termites. They also detect and respond to carbon dioxide, although they don’t recognize it as such. “Because of the microbes on wood breaking down, there’s a carbon dioxide byproduct that’s given off as the wood decays,” Spomer says. Termites can also detect the Queen’s pheromones, which help regulate caste differentiations.

PHEROMONE ART

Pheromone trails help termites find food and their way to the Queen termite’s area.

Are subterranean termites able to taste?

Termites don’t have true taste buds, but they do have a cellulose-degrading organism in their stomach that helps them digest wood. They can discern between different types of wood, and some are more palatable to them than others. According to Spomer, “Softer wood that is partially decayed is easier for them to consume because it speeds the digestion process along.” This is why it’s important for homeowners to be aware of any leaks, standing water or drips inside their home or on the exterior foundation. (You can read more about other mistakes homeowners make that attract termites here.)

Termites will feed on all types of wood. This University of Florida video of a termite taste test demonstrates how they prefer the Recruit® HD termite bait in the Sentricon® System:

This video documents a termite trail leading straight to the Recruit HD bait. 

Do subterranean termites have a sense of touch?

They know what they like! Subterranean termites love a moist, temperature-stable environment (and the soil just below your lawn is ideal.) Termites do exhibit some thigmotactic (from the Greek word thigma, or “touch”) behaviors. According to Spomer, we should “think of it as how they like to get into crevices or cracks, something that touches on multiple sides of their bodies. “ If exposed to open air, the termites will construct mud tubes from packed earth, saliva and bits of chewed cellulose. And while these tubes are primarily meant to protect them from dehydration and ant attacks, some subterranean termites will also use this material to seal themselves inside edible lumber, and sometimes to create an entire, above-ground colony. This is why it’s so important for homeowners to seal the cracks in their home’s foundations and walls. Termites can forage along concrete and find a crack, which is the path of least resistance, and they will use it to find food.

The subterranean termite has a unique body that helps them adapt to their environment—be it a decaying, tree-filled wood or a freshly-constructed home. How can a homeowner make their home less palatable to these pests? By keeping up with simple home maintenance, being aware of warning signs, and calling a professional, such as a Certified Sentricon Specialist , to make sure that their home is protected. It’s the best way for homeowners to get peace of mind—and give their own senses a rest!

We love to talk termites! We’re happy to answer questions about termite anatomy, or how to recognize these pesky critters. Even if you just want to learn more about Sentricon, you can leave a comment here, or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages. That’s where the termite conversation goes on 24/7!