The early Spring and Summer season brings wonderful opportunities to enjoy your home both inside and out – playing in the yard, cookouts, fresh cut grass, and the inevitable Spring Cleaning, which can give your home a renewed welcoming feeling.
It also brings renewed opportunities for one of the most mysterious and damaging pests that threaten your home – termites.
termites can be one of the most damaging and hard to find pests in your home
Termites live and thrive in large colonies, often establishing themselves in favorite spot for many years if not found. As the colony grows, it will eventually produce “swarmers”. “Swarmers” refers to the winged termites that will leave the colony once it has gotten too large in order to establish a new colony somewhere else, thus passing on an infestation to another location.
It is likely that you won’t see a termite infestation until considerable damage has been done. They are experts at stealth, doing damage to your home while remaining largely out of sight. You should check carefully and often for any signs of termite damage around your home. Aside from the termite swarm, other signs that you might be hosting a colony include cracked or bubbling paint, wood that sounds hollow and mud tubes on walls or beams.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR?
Once these termite swarmers establish and settle into a new location, they begin to shed their wings. These can often be easily seen and are a definite sign that you have an infestation problem and should contact Nelon-Cole immediately for help. The good news is that finding these shed termite swarmer wings may be an indication that the infestation is relatively new, and you can treat the problem before considerable structural damage is done, potentially saving you thousands of dollars. This is one reason why regular inspections are so important; sometimes the signs of an infestation are obvious, but sometimes not.
ARE THESE JUST WINGED ANTS?
Termite swarmers and winged ants are often easily mistaken for each other. While it can be easy to confuse the two, there are a few easy ways to distinguish them. For starters, winged ants do not shed their wings. If you see a swarm of insects and later notice piles of wings lying around, it was most likely a termite swarm. If you’d like more confirmation, you can always ask a Nelon-Cole technician for help in identifying them; perhaps even with a simply photograph.
If you can get a good look at the body of the flying insect swarming around your home, it can sometimes be quite easy to tell if you have termites or winged ants. Termite swarmers have two sets of wings that are the same size; relatively large in comparison to winged ants. They also have a straight waist and straight antennae. Winged ants also have two sets of wings, but the front pair is noticeably larger than the back pair. Their antennae are bent and they have a pinched waist (this may be harder to see if the insect is in flight). A key difference in trying to diagnose a possible infestation is to remember that winged ants do not shed their wings, so if you just find wings or if you find a lot of bodies that don't have wings, then you are looking at termites.
winged ants and and termites have some key visual differences
A final key point to remember is that a termite swarm usually only forms in nice weather. If it is too cold or raining heavily, it is very unlikely that you will see a termite swarm. This does vary some from species to species. Some termites prefer wetter conditions than others, so a sunny day that seems perfect for swarming for you might be too dry for the termites you have.
HOW MUCH DAMAGE CAN THEY DO?
Termite colonies, if not caught before they grow to a very large size, can do considerable damage to the structure of your home. The rate at which termites eat wood depends on many factors such as the species of termite, size of the colony, type of wood, climate, and location. Here in the Carolinas, experts estimate that over a period of about five months, a group of around 60,000 termites can eat the equivalent of one foot of a 2x4 beam. Now, their damage is usually more spread out than concentrated to a single board under your home, but you can see by this that untreated swarms can lead to thousands of dollars in home repairs.
What should you do if you suspect you have a termite infestation? A call to Nelon-Cole is important – it is a no-obligation opportunity for you to ask questions and for our expert staff to provide some answers. Of course, we can’t necessarily provide an answer of whether or not you currently have an infestation, but based on your observations we can certainly tell you if we believe that a visual inspection is necessary.
The Carolinas can be tough for homeowners; pest want to eat your home, and mold and moisture problems due to our high rain and humidity levels, all work to damage your home year after year. The pest and moisture control experts at Nelon-Cole are here to help protect your home and business from high repair bills. We are always a free call for a consultation, and we are always on your side in fighting against these yearly pests. We are your North Carolina and South Carolina Pest and Moisture Control specialists. Call today and let us start protecting your home just as we would our own!
Call free at 888-7-TheWeb or visit us online at www.NelonCole.com