Do you know what February in Florida means? It’s the start of termite swarmer season! Termite swarm season is upon us and every year we get panic calls from worried owners. We also hear horror stories of homeowners being ripped off by unscrupulous termite salespeople.
Termite swarms are normal in Florida. There is no need to panic. Florida is home to many species of termites which produce winged alates (swarmer’s) who leave the colony to form new colonies. It is part of a normal reproduction cycle.
Homeowners typically see swarmer’s around windows and doors, but they are also found inside attics around gable end vents. A mating pair of alates can enter your home and begin a new colony but you should know only a very small percentage of a swarmer colony will survive.
When Termites Swarm
The Eastern subterranean termite alate typically swarms between February thru late May or early June on still afternoons (often following a rain).
The Formosan subterranean termite typically swarms between April thru July, at night and they are attracted to light.
The Drywood termite typically swarms in the evenings between May and August. They are also attracted to light.
What To Do If You Find Termite Swarms on the Exterior of Your Home
First, don’t panic or start calling termite exterminators. Take photographs of the area being swarmed and collect a specimen and place it in a jar with alcohol (termite alates don’t bite or sting). It will help your termite company identify the specie.
Second, vacuum or sweep them up and place them in a sealed container/storage bag for disposal.
Third, have the area inspected by a professional termite inspector who will document possible entry holes or nesting sites. If found, a simple spot treatment will generally kill the mating pair of alates.
There is no need to fumigate your home based on finding normal termite swarmers in season!
What To Do If You Find Termite Swarmer’s Inside Your Home?
Again, don’t panic! A professional termite inspector should be able to determine if the swarmers are from an established colony “inside” your home or opportunistic swarmer’s who gained entry from the outside.
If it is determined the swarmers are from a colony located inside your home, a treatment plan should be developed to eradicate the colony. The treatment plan should be based on the species of termite and the area affected. This data can be best determined by an inspector who uses TermaTrac® to locate foraging termites in walls, floors, and ceilings. Again, there is no need to automatically fumigate your home if swarmers are found inside your home! What is important is to locate the galleries (where the termites are foraging). In many cases, the colony is small and can be controlled with spot treatments.
Evidence of Termites
Termite swarmers will leave evidence such as frass, kick-out holes, galleries, or damage. Don’t believe you have a colony inside your home unless the inspector shows you the evidence! Hint: A photo of a termite wing on a cell phone is not “evidence”.
Termite swarmers bore tiny kick-out/exit holes in floors, walls, baseboard, trim, or ceilings. Drywood termites will kick-out small, hard pellets on floors and windowsills while subterranean termites will leave a fine, caked powder behind.
Finding the evidence is just one part of the inspection; now, we need to know, to the best of our ability, the size of the infestation within the home. In other words, how big is the affected area? This is where a well-qualified and equipped inspector can save owners significant money, disruption, and frustration and this is the reason our inspectors use the TermaTrac® locating system.
TermaTrac® uses radar, thermal, and moisture sensing to locate and track termites behind walls, floors, and ceilings. This patented technology allows us to pinpoint exactly where the termites are foraging so we can determine the most effective treatment plan.
Think of it this way…your doctor orders MRI/x-rays to pinpoint damage and develop a treatment plan before they cut your body open. It just makes sense.
Less than 4% of all termite inspectors use the TermaTrac® system. They don’t want to “pinpoint” the infestation. They want to sell whole house treatment or fumigation, even if you don’t need it. Sure, they will give you a “free” inspection, but that “free” inspection may cost you thousands in the end.
Our TermaTrac® termite inspection is fully guaranteed. On average, we save our clients over $3,000 in unnecessary termite treatments. To request service or to learn more about our services including, termite treatments, residential pest control, and WDO inspections, contact 360PestControl at (904) 637-1109.