Termite Swarm Season
If you live in the Southeast—particularly Georgia or Florida—then chances are high that termites are already close to your home. In our area of the country, there is an average of 10 to 13 termite colonies per acre of land, with the Eastern Subterranean Termite being the most common species.
Termites begin their reproductive cycles in early spring, which is when you are likely to see termite swarms around your property or potentially inside your home.
What is a termite swarmer?
Colonies consist of three distinct types (referred to as castes) of termite:
- Alates, also called reproductives or swarmers
As their names suggest, soldier termites protect the colony, while the worker termites are responsible for breaking down the cellulose found in wood. Of the three castes, workers are the only termites that actually cause damage to wooden structures.
The swarmers’ job is to reproduce and establish new colonies.
Why do termites swarm?
Once a colony has reached maturity—which usually takes at least one year from the time it is established—it will produce reproductives. These termites leave the colony in large swarms, which is why they are referred to as swarmers.
The swarmers typically don’t fly too far from their original colony unless they are carried by the wind. Once they fall to the ground, their wings break off and they try to find a mate. Most of the swarmers will fail at this stage, though, as their survival rate is less than three percent due to natural predators and exposure to the elements.
The small percentage of swarmers that successfully find a mate will then try to find a crack or crevice near a food source to begin reproducing and building a new colony.
Should I be concerned about a termite swarm?
If you spot a swarm of termites outside on your property, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are in your home. Because the Eastern Subterranean Termite is so prevalent in our region, you could have a colony established in a resource point such as a wood pile, a tree stump or a wooden shed.
A termite swarm outside your home is like the check engine light in your car—a signal that you might want to get your house checked out by a professional.
On the other hand, if you see a termite swarm inside your house, you need to contact a professional IMMEDIATELY, as this is a sign there is a colony already established inside your home.
If you aren’t sure when the last time your home was inspected for termites or if you’d like to learn more about termite protection, give us a call.