Coming This Spring in Georgia: Subterranean Termite Swarms
April 3, 2018
While termite infestations may seem like something that only happens to someone else, they’re a common occurrence in Georgia. With their massive colonies and relentless munching on wooden structures, you could one day be that someone else. As spring hits, subterranean termites begin their reproduction cycle, called “swarming.” By knowing more about this process, you can save your home from playing host to a massive termite colony this swarming season.
The Reasons for Subterranean Termites’ Swarming
In Georgia, the Eastern subterranean termite species is always a threat – and swarming season is the worst time for them. Swarming starts when a colony reaches a certain size and maturity level. This doesn’t always happen at a particular age, but in most cases, colonies don’t swarm until they’re around three years old. In addition to a colony maturing, the pests only start to swarm when the weather becomes ideal for flight – that is, when the temperatures warm back up in the spring.
Swarming is basically the termite way of furthering their species’ existence because as a colony ages, it starts to produce alate nymphs. Alates are the only termites able to reproduce, as soldier and worker termites are sterile. When alate termites swarm, they travel away from their colonies to join up with a mate, and they look for a good place to start fresh.
How Subterranean Swarms Spring Into Action
Subterranean termites won’t leave the colony until the exterior temperature reaches a comfortable 70 degrees. There’s no better time for termites to swarm in Georgia than spring – our state’s average high temperature is 77 degrees in April. When swarming begins, the young adult female and male swarmers leave the nests in large groups, making it easier for them to select a mate.
As with many creatures, a female swarmer will release pheromones to attract the males. Once a male comes into contact with a female that it finds alluring, it will break off its wings. This action is to show any other male in the area that it’s paired with the female, solidifying the two as a couple. Then comes the formation of a whole new colony: The queen lays anywhere between zero and 22 eggs at a time, creating a population of up to 75 insects by the end of the year.
Termite Swarmers Spreading Far and Wide
What’s concerning about swarming isn’t simply termites’ reproduction, but also their fast spread to nearby buildings. Despite having wings, termites aren’t very good at flying. In fact, they depend largely on the wind to help them cover ground. This means that most termite swarms are short-lived, and they usually end up in a location close to their original nests. But before you know it, your entire neighborhood may be overrun.
Keep in mind that if an area experiences powerful winds (in Georgia, we know April to be a particularly windy month), then the next generation of termite kings and queens can travel quite far to start their new colonies. The subterranean species can stay active year-round. Our state’s warmer climate only makes matters worse. Because of this, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for them not only during the spring, but throughout the year in Georgia.
Do You Have Termite Swarmers or Flying Ants?
Swarms of termites are often mistaken for flying ants. If you can handle getting up close and personal with the pests, you’ll be able to spot the difference. For instance, termite swarmers have two sets of wings that measure the same length. With ants, one set of wings is shorter than the other. If insects are swarming in or around your home, consider calling in Allgood Pest Solutions. Our experts will determine whether it’s termites or another pest that’s infesting your home.
Keeping an Eye Out for Subterranean Termites
If you come across subterranean termites, check for termite signs around your home’s foundation to decrease your chances of an infestation. This species is unique because they’re known to build their nests underground. When they come up to feed on the cellulose found in your home’s structure, they leave behind indications of their presence called mud tubes, which are hollow tunnels of dirt that extend from the exterior soil to the side of your home. The pests use these tunnels to move between their nest and their food source – the one that you call home.
Apart from mud tubes, there are many other signs that you have termites around. Shed termite wings are a clear sign – and they’re often the most visible sign. The pests also leave behind small piles of excrement that look like sawdust. If you notice wooden structures becoming darker or blistering, or you tap a section of wood and it sounds hollow, then you may also have an infestation.[H3]
Let the Termite Experts Do What They Do Best
Subterranean termites are the most destructive termites in the United States, and Georgia is especially at risk. With their potential for harm, managing termites is something that’s best left to the professionals. With Allgood, you’ll get a thorough inspection, as well as a treatment option to fully eliminate the pests. This may include our state-of-the-art Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System, which disrupts termites’ growth and halts reproduction.
Contact us today, and rest easier this spring without the threat of termites around your home.