Termites are swarming inside my house! What do I do!?
Spring is approaching and the days are getting longer and warmer. As temperatures rise, termite activity also increases. A termite colony is very complex but primarily consists of a queen, workers, and soldiers. The queen lays eggs, workers forage for food and take care of other members of the colony, and soldiers provide defense against predators. When the colony is fully grown, which can take somewhere between three to five years, it will produce swarmers. Swarmers are winged males and females that leave the colony when conditions are right in hopes of starting their own colonies. Typically this would be a warm day shortly after a rainstorm.
When it’s time to leave, all of the swarmers disperse at the same time and it’s quite a scene to behold. Thousands and thousands of small insects with large clear wings fluttering about shimmering in the sunlight can be truly awe-inspiring, but if this occurs inside your home it can be very frightening.
Termite swarmers are not very good fliers as they tend to flutter around a bit and rely on wind to carry them any considerable distance. Once they land, they break off their wings and males and females pair up to look for a suitable place to start their own colonies. Very few individuals from the swarm make it to that point as most of them tend to get eaten by other insects, birds, lizards, or other small animals.
Swarmers do not chew through wood or cause any damage. However, a swarm that occurs inside definitely indicates that there is a termite infestation present, and it is possible significant damage may have already occurred. When termites swarm, you should call Terminix to schedule an inspection. If you have termite coverage from Terminix, we will need to get there as soon as possible to assess the situation and to make necessary treatments and/or repairs. If you do not have an existing termite bond, we will provide a free inspection and treatment estimate and discuss any damage repairs you may need. In the mean time, when you have lots of swarmers pouring out from a wall, the best thing to do is to vacuum up all the swarmers you can find. Try to refrain from spraying pesticides, as it may cause the termites to move to another area, which makes it more difficult for our control methods to work. It may take several minutes, even up to an hour, for all the individuals to leave the colony. Once you no longer see any more swarmers emerging and they are all vacuumed up, empty the canister into an outdoor trash can. Leaving thousands of dead swarmers in your vacuum can cause a foul odor.
Sometimes you may find a few individual swarmers crawling around or a few discarded wings. This doesn’t mean your house is infested. Termite swarms commonly occur outdoors and a few individuals may work themselves inside through a gap in the window sill, under a door, or other accessible entryway. These few individuals will eventually die, and they can be removed with a vacuum cleaner. You may want to call and schedule an inspection just to make sure an infestation is not present. Sometimes the swarm can occur in the crawlspace or attic and only a few individuals are seen in the living areas.
So, give us a call anytime you see termites or suspect you have termites. Our highly trained professionals will inspect your home and assess the situation. The sooner you call the better. You certainly don’t want to put off getting your house treated and risk accumulating costly repairs.