Find out why May and June are the worst months for termite swarms in southern Louisiana and Mississippi, and what you should do if you happen to see a swarm.
While termites can certainly pose a threat to your home at any time of the year, when you live around the Gulf Coast, you can expect termite populations to swell during April, May and June, and this is when it is crucial to stay on the lookout for signs of infestation. Fortunately, not only is springtime the most common period for termite problems to occur, but it is also a time when these pests are often the easiest to identify.
So, why is spring so important for termites? This is the time of the year when thousands of winged termites leave the colony. These winged forms of termites are the termites that have come of reproductive age and are ready to go out and start their own new termite colonies elsewhere.
Things to Know About Swarms of Winged Termites
We do have a bit of good news for you when it comes to flying termites. First of all, majority of these types of termites never make it to their final destinations because they are caught by predators, such as birds and reptiles that love to feed on termite swarms.
Secondly, new termite colonies require a large amount of moisture, soil, and a viable cellulose food source in order to be able to grow. Typically, the flying termites do not settle in and infest homes because they cannot satisfactorily meet all of the requirements that they need. However, if there are swarming termites flying around your property, this could be a sign that there is already an infestation that is present and has now released a swarm of termites.
Distinguishing Flying Termites From Flying Ants
Many homeowners do not realize that there is a swarm of termites nearby because they mistake the termites for flying ants; these two winged insects do look somewhat similar. However, upon closer examination, it is possible to tell the difference between a flying termite and a flying ant.
While both the termite and ant have the typical head, thorax, and abdomen, the body of the termite is roughly the same width throughout the entire length of the body, whereas the flying ant has a waist that is pinched, giving a very segmented appearance. Ants also have elbowed antennae, while termites have straight antennae. Lastly, flying termites have two pairs of large wings on either side of their body, and ants have one large and one small wing on each side of the body. Click here to read more about Formosan termites.
If you identify the insects on your property as swarming termites, it is essential to seek termite inspection, and prevention as soon as possible. It is not necessary to panic, as seeing a flying termite does not necessarily mean that your house has already been damaged, but it is time to take preventative measures at the very least.
Do Not Wait Until You Have a Swarm of Termites to Take Action
If you do not see a swarm of termites around your home this spring, this is good news, but it does not rule out the possibility that you have a termite infestation. While termite swarms do often happen in Mississippi and Louisiana because the temperatures and humidity levels are ideal, not all termite colonies will produce a swarm every single year.
Termites do not generate swarms of flying termites until the population of the colony grows substantially. This means that a termite colony could be infesting your home for several years before you experience any flying termites. The best way to prevent this scenario from happening is to have your home thoroughly inspected and to implement preventative termite control strategies in order to make your home uninhabitable for any type of termite.