It is a truth universally acknowledged that that a single termite in possession of two pairs of wings, must be in want of a mate.
...At least, that's a universal truth in the pest control industry. Spring is not only the time of rebirth and flowers in bloom, but also your worst nightmare. If you happen to be made of wood or some other cellulose material, that is. For us, spring marks the beginning of our busiest season of pest control. Not-so-coincidentally, it’s also the time when insects are busiest, too, what with all the mating and sneaking into our homes.
Speaking of mating, let’s get back to the swarmers. Shortly after the last freeze, when the temperature becomes much more bearable, termites begin foraging for food, constructing or reconstructing the nest, and reproducing like crazy. Swarmers are responsible for the latter. They leave the nest to reproduce and begin new colonies. If swarms are present in an area, it means there is a very mature colony somewhere nearby. It can take upwards of four years before a colony is mature enough to produce its own swarmers. Though most commonly in spring, swarmers can leave the nest at anytime during the year. The colony may divide in order to form a new colony when it has become too large for its available resources.
These flying termites have two sets of white wings that are quickly shed after swarm season begins. Finding these wings in and around the house is typically how people realize they have a termite swarm.
However, the presence of these wings on window sills or well-lit areas doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for the structural integrity of your home. I mean, it’s possible they just flew over from another house nearby – probably the Jones’ who live in that old colonial with a sagging wood frame and has that jerk dog that barks non-stop. Nevertheless, it is safer to rule out the possibility of an infestation with a professional termite inspection, rather than ignore the telltale signs like wood shavings or mud tubes on exterior walls.
Common signs of a termite infestation:
- A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil around your home.
- Cracked or bubbling paint or wood shavings (frass).
- Mud tubes or tunnels on exterior walls, wooden beams, or in crawl spaces.
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.