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Understanding The Termite “Swarm Season”

Spring in central North Carolina is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. The weather starts to warm up, and the trees and flowers begin to bloom, painting the landscape with bright colors. However, with the arrival of spring comes some unwanted guests - termites. 

Each year, when the temperature outside reaches about 70 degrees, subterranean termites throughout North Carolina will fly out of cracks and crevices in an attempt to reproduce and spread their colonies. This can be shocking and even frightening for homeowners who were unaware that termites were present on their property. So what are termite swarms, and when should you call a professional?

In this blog, we'll take a closer look at termite swarms and what homeowners can do to protect their properties. We'll discuss what to do in the event of a swarm, how far they travel, and when to call a professional pest control company. So, if you're a homeowner in central North Carolina, keep reading to learn how to safeguard your property against these pesky critters.

Termite Swarms Explained

Swarming is a normal part of the termite life cycle and typically occurs between mid-February and early summer. The “worker” members of a colony will chew a hole through wood or sheetrock to make way for the reproductive flying members to escape. By sprouting wings and taking flight in large groups, these termites are attempting to find new spots nearby to start more colonies. 

It’s worth noting that these winged members cannot cause damage to wood; their only purpose is to reproduce. They instinctively fly towards a light source, and if they emerge inside your home, they tend to congregate around windows and sliding glass doors. If this has happened to you, it may mean you already have an active infestation.

PRO TIP: Though they are natural enemies, termites and ants can swarm during the same time of year. Since they are small and appear similar, try to contain a few in a plastic bag or take a close-up photo for the inspector.

Here are some facts and tips about termite swarms:

1) The Implications Of A Termite Swarm

The presence of a swarm is often the first visible sign to homeowners that termites have been silently damaging their property. Understanding the implications of a swarm can help in early detection and prevention of further damage:

  • Active Infestation: A swarm indicates an already established and mature colony.
  • Potential Damage: The primary colony from which the swarm originates could be causing significant damage unseen within the walls or under the floor.
  • Active Infestation: A swarm indicates an already established and mature colony.
  • Potential Damage: The primary colony from which the swarm originates could be causing significant damage unseen within the walls or under the floor.
  • Rapid Expansion: The purpose of a swarm is to start new colonies. If not addressed, you could be dealing with multiple infestation sites in a relatively short period.
  • Warning Signal: Swarms serve as a natural warning sign. Noticing a swarm provides an opportunity for early intervention before the termites can cause more extensive damage.
  • Moisture Issues: Termites are attracted to moisture. Their presence might indicate underlying moisture problems in your property, which can lead to other issues like mold or wood rot.
  • Structural Integrity: Over time, unchecked termite activity can compromise the structural integrity of your home, leading to costly repairs.

2) Post-Swarm Actions: Are Termites Gone For Good?

Many homeowners are relieved when the swarm stops after 30-40 minutes, thinking that the pests have cleared out. Unfortunately, a termite swarm indicates the existence of a mature colony. When a colony reaches a large enough size, and the weather conditions are favorable, it will need to split and spread out. 

While thousands of termites have flown elsewhere around the property to search for a new base, it’s possible that there are millions left in the original location.

3) Immediate Steps In The Event Of A Swarm

When facing a termite swarm, the situation can quickly become overwhelming for any home or business owner. However, taking prompt and effective action can help mitigate the damage and prepare for a professional extermination process. Here's an expanded list of steps to take at the moment of a termite swarm:

  1. Attempt to Collect a Few Termites: Carefully collect a few termites in a plastic bag. This sample will be invaluable for your pest control inspector, helping them to identify the specific type of termite and tailor the treatment plan accordingly.
  2. Try to Contain the Swarm: Close all doors to the room where the swarm has occurred. This containment effort can prevent the swarmers from spreading throughout your property. Since these winged termites need access to soil to establish a new colony, containing them in a room without access to soil will lead to their eventual death. However, remember that the original colony, which sent out the swarm, will still need professional attention.
  3. Do Not Seal Exit Points: It might be tempting to seal the termites' exit points with caulk or another sealing material, but this is counterproductive. The termites will still be inside, and sealing them in could prompt them to create new escape routes, potentially causing more damage.
  4. Reduce Lighting: Termites are attracted to light. Turn off exterior lights and draw blinds or curtains in affected areas to prevent attracting more termites.
  5. Avoid Spraying Them with Insecticide: While it might seem logical to spray the swarm with household insecticide, this can scatter the swarm or push it into less accessible areas of your home, making professional treatment more difficult later.
  6. Document the Event: Take photos or videos of the swarm and the areas they are emerging from. This documentation can be helpful for pest control professionals when assessing the situation and planning their extermination strategy.
  7. Stay Calm and Avoid Disturbance: Try to stay calm and avoid disturbing the swarm more than necessary. Disturbing them can cause stress and spread the swarmers further around your property.

4) How Far Does A New Swarm Travel?

Termite swarms do not typically travel very far. In most cases, they won’t go farther than a few hundred yards from the original nest. Within one to two years of a swarm, the queen will begin to lay approximately 10,000 eggs each day. Colonies will grow quickly. 

5) Professional Pest Control: Beyond The Swarm

The role of a professional pest control service is critical in addressing both the immediate concern of a swarm and the underlying infestation. Here’s how professionals handle termite swarms and infestations:

  1. Inspection: A thorough examination to assess the extent of the infestation and identify swarm origins.
  2. Identification: Confirming the termite species to tailor the treatment plan effectively.
  3. Treatment Options: Discuss with homeowners the best course of action, which might include bait systems, soil treatments, or direct wood treatments.
  4. Prevention Plans: Implement strategies to prevent future swarms and infestations, such as moisture control, foundation barriers, and regular inspections.

Professional Intervention: The Role Of Pest Control In Termite Swarms

A pest company will provide you with a free home inspection to confirm that they are indeed termites. If possible, the inspector will enter the crawl space and thoroughly investigate the home to spot all termite entry points. 

In addition to mapping out where an infestation is found within the structure and your treatment options, they will also list any conducive conditions to termites around your home such as high moisture areas or wood piles up against the foundation. Treatment options range from spot-treatments to a full Termidor treatment and prevention plan. Many homes and businesses qualify for a $1M damage guarantee.

Comprehensive Termite Protection By The Neuse Termite and Pest Control

At The Neuse Termite and Pest Control, we specialize in comprehensive termite solutions that go beyond the immediate eradication of swarms. Our approach includes:

  • Tailored Treatment Plans: Designed to address the specific needs of your property and infestation level.
  • Advanced Monitoring: Utilizing cutting-edge technology to monitor your home and prevent future infestations.
  • Education and Awareness: Equipping homeowners with the knowledge to recognize early signs of termites and take preventive measures.

Understanding the gravity of termite swarms and the potential damage they indicate is crucial for every homeowner. Partnering with The Neuse Termite and Pest Control ensures not only the effective management of any current termite issues but also the implementation of preventative measures to safeguard your home against future infestations.

If you're experiencing a termite swarm or are concerned about termites in your home, don't hesitate. Reach out to us at The Neuse Termite and Pest Control for comprehensive termite solutions in the Triangle area. Our expert team is ready to provide you with a free home inspection, customized treatment options, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing your home is protected.

Neuse’s industry-leading termite protection program is outlined here. For even more information or a free home inspection, call (919) 275-5823!

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