Every year in the U.S, termites are responsible for at least $5 billion in property damage. These pests eat wood to survive, which is problematic because most houses in the U.S. are primarily made of wood. There are a few ways to identify a termite infestation.
- Hollow-sounding wood when knocked
- Damaged or bubbly paint or wallpaper
- Presence of frass or termite droppings
- Faint rustling or head-banging sound
- Flying termites or swarmers
Keep reading to find out when and why termites swarm.
What is a Termite Swarm?
Swarming termites, also known as alate or reproductive termites, are winged termites. When the colony becomes too big, they leave in search of somewhere to start a new colony. They are often found around light fixtures and windows because they are attracted to light.
Termite swarmers can indicate a colony living on or around your property.
What Termites Swarm in Baltimore?
A few common types of termites that swarm in Baltimore are:
- Drywood Termites
- Eastern Subterranean Termites
- Formosan Termites
Drywood termites are light-colored insects. They are long and narrow and are around an inch long.
This species of termite thrives in dry wood, and colonize the wood they consume. They gather in furniture and other items in your home made of wood.
Their colonies can contain over 2,000 termites. Their swarmers help expand the colony and may hitchhike on furniture in your home to move to new areas.
Eastern Subterranean Termites
Eastern Subterranean Termites live underground and have a caste system, unlike Drywood Termites. They have workers, soldiers, and termites in the reproductive role like the kings and queens.
The worker termites have a body that is light in color and are often not seen. They are the ones that eat away at the wood. Soldiers defend the colony if something from intrusion.
Kings and queens are dark in color and have wings. During the winter or spring, you may notice these swarmers. After finding mates, they discard their wings and attempt to start a new colony.
Formosan Termites are also subterranean termites with a caste system. They are light in color ranging from a cream color to brown. They’re about half an inch long and shape the same as other termites, being long and narrow.
These termites are an incredibly aggressive species of termite. They prefer warmer climates and are most often found in southern states.
When Do Termites Swarm?
Each species has preferred weather conditions for swarming. Most colonies only have one period per year that they swarm. Each species tends to invade consecutively, allowing each species ample swarming time.
Dampwood Termites swarm from January to October.
Drywood Termites tend to swarm in summer and fall.
Subterranean Termites swarm in spring and summer when it is warmer. They may be more active after rain as termites prefer moist conditions.
Why Do Termites Swarm?
Termites swarm to find mates to reproduce and start new colonies. They will swarm once the original colony needs to expand. Humid weather makes the soil easier to nest in, so termite swarms are more common in the summer months.
Their swarms generally only last 30 minutes to an hour, making it hard to protect your home.
What Attracts Termite Swarmers?
Termite colonies live where their food sources are most abundant. They feed on cellulose, which is in wood. They prefer dark places left undisturbed, like an attic or crawlspace.
Excess moisture and wet wood are two of the biggest termite attractants. They prefer wood with at least a 20% moisture rate. If you live in the woods, you may be more at risk.
Mulch is often used in gardening, but termites can infest the mulch. If the mulch is too close to your home, termites may infiltrate your foundation.
Termites often infest outdoor piles of firewood. We tend to keep firewood near our homes for easy access. If you store firewood in your home, termites may begin an infestation.
Tree stumps attract termites because rotting, dead wood is easy for them to consume. Once termites are finished consuming the tree stump, they may move onto your home.
If you spot termite swarmers in or near your home, you may already have an infestation.
How to Get Rid of Swarming Termites?
There are some preventative measures to take during the swarming season. First, check your home for cracks. Also, check holes and crevices for signs of swarmers. You may spot droppings, wings, or even dead termites.
Remove any dead termites and discard them to keep them away from your home.
Swarmer termites are not always a sign of a termite infestation, but they can lead to a termite infestation.
The easiest way to eliminate swarmers is to contact local exterminators. However, if you want to take care of it yourself, there are a few options.
You can do spot treatments, which require drilling into the infested wood and injecting a termite killer.
You may also use boric acid to kill termites. Boric acid dehydrates termites, but they must lick or ingest it for this to work.
You can use bait stations, which you put into the ground. The termites will be attracted to the bait and enter but die eating the bait.
As always, contacting the pros will be the easiest way to ensure you eliminate termites.
Phenom Pest Protection: Your Expert Termite Exterminator
Termites can cause severe and extensive damage to your Baltimore property. When you spot signs of a termite infestation, the colony may already be established, and it may be too late for simple control approaches.
Schedule an annual termite inspection so any infestation can be dealt with as early as possible.
For more information about our termite extermination options, contact us today!