This is a photo taken by a Certified Sentricon Specialist® of an actual termite swarm inside an office building in Louisiana in Spring 2014.
March may come roaring in like a lion and bleating out like a gentle lamb, but it also may bring another animal with it—hordes of ever-hungry, wood-chomping termites. While termites are actually necessary to accelerate the degeneration of wood debris in the forest, they’re not welcome inside your home. Why do they swarm in the spring, and who is at risk? Here’s the who, what, when, where and why of swarm season:
WHO—It’s native subterranean termites that cause most of the ruckus in spring. In the Southern US, Formosan subterranean termites (exports that have gained a foothold in the warmer climate) will swarm, too.
WHAT—Swarm season occurs when winged male and female termites, called “swarmers,” leave the colonies where they were hatched to start new colonies. They shed their wings during the swarm, pair up with a mate and look for a suitable location to start a new colony as queen and king.
WHEN—Swarmer termites emerge from the colony when daytime temperatures begin to warm up and rain becomes more frequent—termites love damp weather. This is usually around the first day of Spring.
WHERE—Swarm season can begin as early as late February in coastal Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. As the weather warms and rains increase, swarm sightings begin to spread throughout the South and gradually work their way east into Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and west into Texas and Arkansas. By late March, swarm season is usually at its peak in the South and is spreading throughout the rest of the country as it gradually thaws from winter’s cold.
WHY—It’s new colony initiation time for termites. Unfortunately for most homeowners, termite swarmers usually appear only when a colony is mature and under way. And more than one termite colony can be present at a single property! The event may last 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.
Next month, we’ll tell you how to take steps to defend your home from termite swarm season. In the meantime, if you see any flying insects in your home, contact the Certified Sentricon Specialist® nearest you to take advantage of 20 year’s worth of experience in providing the latest, most effective termite protection for over 2 million homes in the US. Help us track swarm season on our Facebook pages, or send us a tweet on Twitter using the hashtag #swarmseason!