Across our region termite control experts are seeing an increase in calls from homeowners, alarmed by the emergence of termite swarms. Some of these swarms are occurring outdoors, away from structures, but many emerge from the floors and interior walls of homes and businesses. According to Pest Control Center’s Termite Department Manager, Dennis Kleiber, the changes in temperature and humidity that occur in spring, signal subterranean termite colonies to begin their annual emergence and mating flights. Mr. Kleiber says the late rains may cause termite colonies to swarm for a longer period. In response to the large amounts of outdoor moisture seeping into the ground, the swarms are less inclined to emerge outdoors, preferring to move toward the drier soil, adjoining structures. From there they can travel up through mud tubes and exit either in crawl spaces or indoor living areas. Don’t be too alarmed if you see them indoors. It took them years to get there and 90 percent of the time they are easily controlled.
According to information on the UC Davis IPM website, “Because of the serious damage they can cause to wooden structures, termites are among the pests most feared by homeowners. However, swarms of flying termites do not always mean your building is infested.” Pest Control Center’s experts agree with that assessment. “If you suspect that your building has been colonized by termites you should get a thorough inspection of the structure to confirm whether or not there is, in fact, an active infestation.” The swarm may be coming from an outdoor source. There is also a chance that the swarm may not be termites at all. They could be reproductives from an ant colony. There are key differences between flying ants and flying termites. Consulting a licensed termite expert is the best way to find out which one you are seeing. He or she can make a positive identification and recommend the best course of action.