Termite Alate (Swarmer) Pictures...

As termite swarming season gets into full swing, we wanted to remind you of one of what the enemy looks like.  The following are termite swarmer images from different places around the country.   Termite Swarmers in San Diego, California (2011) Termite Swarmers in San Diego, California (2011) Termite Swarmers in Adairville, Kentucky (2012) Termite Swarmers in Orlando, Florida (2012) Termite Swarmers (May 2013) Termite Swarmers in New Orleans, Louisiana (May...

Formosan Termite Swarms

The Formosan subterranean termite is an invasive, forign termite species. Compared to the native U.S. subterranean termite species they are more agressive, they forage in a wider area and they grow into much larger colonies of termites. While native termite colonies can grow to includes several hundred thousand members, mature Formosan termite colonies can surpass a million members. Swarmers Alates, commonly called termite swarmers, are wingged reproductive termites that leave the colony to start their own colonies. It’s common to see termites swarming on moist, spring nights just before dusk. They are attracted to light, and on those perfect spring nights its common to see them swarming around lights, windows and on window seals. Due to their greater numbers, Formosan termite colonies can release a massive number of swarmers. While the alates tend to have a tiny chance of individual success, their shear numbers guarntee that new colonies will be started. Studying Termite Swarming To help study termites better, and to create semi-controlled enviroments, researchers and students will setup termite study areas. These areas are generally away some where the termites can be left alone without causing damage to peoples property. In these areas mock homes can be setup to moitor and track termites as they procede to demolish the wood. In one such study area, while going out to study the termite swarming season, researchers found an old section of wood that had been completely infested by Formosan termites. The termites had eaten into the wood and part of the colony was now living there. Closer inspection revealed that that secion of the colony included a high concentration of Formosan termite alates. They were able to relocate the wood to an enclosed environment, where they setup light traps to attract and trap the swarmers. Then they proceded to monitor the termites as their swarming began and ended. The main swarming happened during a 5 day period. Every day around dusk swarms of Formosan alates would emerge. The alates were collected and counted. In the 5 day period, an estimated 68,729 alates were collected (Su & Scheffrahn 1987). While this may have only represented a part of the total number of alates for the colony, the numbers are quite impresssive. Day 1: 10,371 Day 2: 23,997 Day 3: 26,500 Day 4: 4, 768 Day 5: 3, 363 After the 5th day of the main swarming, there were small sporadic swarms of just a couple hundred alates for another 6...

Springtime Termite Swarming...

As we start sliding out of the winter months and the weather starts to get nicer, termites begin to become more active. They’ll quietly work along, multiplying, and preparing the next generation of alates (young king and queen termites) to leave and start their own colony. The number of alates will build up in mature termite colonies, and when the weather is right, they’ll burst from their colonies in large swarms of flying termites. The timing of termite swarming is a directly related to the weather. Termites have delicate bodies. They like warm temperatures. They don’t like to be out in the open. And they avoid direct sunlight, since the heat will quickly kill them. So termite swarmers need ‘ideal’ conditions when they leave the nest and take flight. Ideal Termite Swarming Conditions So what are ideal conditions? Simple: a warm, moist day. A spring day after a rain storm creates the prefect environment for swarming. Typically, swarming will happen towards the early evening hours. Under these conditions, the moisture in the air after a rain storm helps the termites keep their bodies from drying out while they are out of the nest. Springtime Termite Swarming Season in the U.S. For most of the U.S. the termite swarming season runs from March, April and May.  The following maps show the regions where termite swarming starts and surges throughout the United States.   February – In warmer southern areas of the United States, termites can start swarming in early February.   March – For most of the U.S., termite swarming season starts ramping up in March.     April – By April termite swarming season is going full steam across the entire United States.   April – Termite swarming season peaks about mid-April.   May – Towards the end of May the swarming season starts coming to an end, as the hotter summer months start to roll around.   June – By June termite swarming season slows down and is pretty much done.   Data Source: “2012 Termite Swarm Alert Map.” Terminix.com. 2012. Terminix International Company....

How to Kill Drywood Termites...

Understanding how to kill termites depends on a few factors. Termites are common pests that can be found all over the United States. Some varieties of termites live underground and move back and forth in mud shelter tubes. Subterranean termites make up nearly 90% of the termites that plague the eastern region of the United States. Formosan termites are also subterranean termite that are common in the southern portions of the United States. Drywood termites occupy dried wood, and they can be located in Southern California and the Gulf Coast. Drywood termites require a different treatment strategy than subterranean and Formosan termites. The process used to solve a Drywood termite infestation consists of either a spot treatment and structural fumigation. Drywood Termite Spot Treatment How to treat termites will also revolve around whether the infestation confines to a concentrated space. A do-it-yourself, spot treatment is useful under this condition. A spot treatment system can be purchasable at a nearby home and garden retailer. Deciding how to kill termites in a more extensive infestation warrants a more potent maneuver to purge the affected area of the pests. The swarm is manageable with the use of sulfuryl fluoride, SO2F2, also called Vikane. Sulfuryl fluoride is a fireproof, non-corrosive biochemical compound that does not emit a bothersome odor. It is a controlled product, so it must be administered by a licensed fumigator. It infiltrates various hard, fibrous substances rapidly. It is essential ridding the structure of Drywood termites and a variety of pests. Drywood Termite Structural Fumigation The practice of fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride addresses any variety of a termite infestation. The setting to receive the chemical agent is first covered to contain the treatment to the affected area. Sulfuryl fluoride offers rapid, consistent diffusion of the pest-killing compound. The restricted use of sulfuryl fluoride limits to overrun furnishings, such as household effects, construction textiles, structures, decontamination compartments, and vehicles excluding aircraft and submarine watercrafts. Sulfuryl fluoride is practical for use with a waterproofed canvas or impenetrable structure. The treatment period can extend from 2-72 hours; however, the exposure to treatment requires on average 20-24 hours typically. It is contingent on the selection of fumigant employed, pricing, and the substantial time constraints involved. Sulfuryl fluoride is a poisonous gas that should not be exercised by an unqualified individual. Prolonged exposure because of inhalation may cause respiratory distress and possibly death. Sulfuryl fluoride is a powerful, wide-ranging fumigant because of its effectiveness in...

How to Choose a Pest Control Company...

Once you suspect that you have a termite problem, or any pest problem for that matter, it is important to choose the right pest control company. When looking for an extermination company you can trust, it is important to know the right questions to ask and what to look for in a reliable business. Check that they are Licensed and Insured First: find out about the company’s state licensing status. If they are not licensed you should pass on their services even if they are offering a better rate. Second: once you have seen the proof of licensing ask about their insurance coverage. You will want to make sure that their coverage will cover any mishaps or damages that might occur in the termite removal process.  It’s their insurance that is going to cover any damage they accidentally cause to your home, so be sure they have coverage. Check Reviews and Past Customers Now that you know that they are a legitimate pest control service, do some of your own research to find out the quality of their work. Finding out if they are a member of the Better Business Bureau and/or Chamber of Commerce will enable you to find out if any complaints have been filed against them. Another good way to check the quality of their work is to ask for customer referrals. However, be aware that when a company gives you a referral it is usually a customer that was satisfied with their work. Knowing this be prepared for raving reviews, but be sure to ask specifically if there were any negative aspects with dealing with that service. It may also be helpful to find out how that client felt about the way their questions were answered, if there were any contractual problems, and if they would use the service again. You will also want to ask if this service ended their termite problem. If not or if the pests returned find out how the pest control service handled it. Meet with Them in Person The next step is to find out if they fit your professional expectations. Do this by having the pest control company come to your home. The first thing to take note of will is if they arrived to your home on time or not. This is a good indicator of professionalism and respect for your time. Next, evaluate the representative by noting their appearance and attire. Also, make a point to look at the vehicle...

Evaluating Different Termite Treatment Methods...

Termite treatment methods vary greatly in cost and effectiveness. Depending on the severity of your infestation you may chose to enlist the help of a professional pest control company, or you may try to take care of the problem yourself. Whichever treat method you choose, it is important to rid your home of the pests completely so there is no more damage done to the structural integrity of your home. Detecting the Problem The first step in the process of extermination is detecting a termite problem. There are a few warning signs of termites to look for such as sawdust or a mud like substance on the wooden surfaces of your home.  Termite activity leave subtile signs, but an alert homeowner should be able to spot them when they start to appear. If you suspect a problem, a professional termite inspection by a reputable pest control service is the best way to effectively determine if you do in fact have a termite infestation and to what extent. Treating Wood with Borate Prevention is the best way to eliminate a future termite problem. Treat the structure of your home while it is still being built. You can have your building company use borate to treat the wood. This is a very effective way to prevent termites because the borate kill the protozoa in the termites digestive tract that enable it to turn wood into food. A borate treatment is not expensive and will save you money in the long run. Ground Stakes for Light Problems Ground stakes and baits are a good choice for a mild infestation. While it is more costly than the liquid treatment and can take months to complete, it is a safer choice since it does not release poison into your soil and around your home. A plastic stake with a wooden interior is placed in the ground near where a colony is suspected. When the stake are checked and show signs of termites, the wood is treated with a pesticide. This poison is a slow working one so that a single host can carry it back to the colony. While the termites are grooming and feeding the host will pass the poison along to the colony. Liquid Treatments and Chemical Barriers for Moderate Invasions The quickest way to treat a moderate infestation is to use a liquid treatment. This is ideal for the do it yourself exterminator. You can choose to use a compound made specifically to...

Termite Swarming Season

Termite Swarmers Termite swarmers are termites that are designated to fly away from the colony and spread the colony to new places. These termites are only capable of spreading the colony and can not cause any damage to your home; it’s their children, the worker termites that will eat and destroy the wood in your home. These reproductive termites have a small pair of wings that give them the ability to fly. However, these insects cannot fly very well and often use the wind to carry them long distances. The reason that they are not good flyers is because their two pairs of wings are both of equal length. Insects such as flying ants also have two pairs of wings but the anterior pair are longer than the posterior pair making them more aerodynamic. Flying Ants vs Flying Termites While speaking of these flying ants, many people confuse these insects with the swarmer termites. Here are four simple ways that you can tell these species apart: 1. Ants have bent antennas and termites have straight 2. Ants are sectioned into three body parts while swarming termites have only two body parts 3. The abdomen of an ant is very thin while that of a termite is thick 4. As mentioned earlier, the wings of an aunt are not equal length while the wings of a swarmer termite are. Where to Find Termite Swarms Now that you know how to identify these insects, I will now tell you where to look for them. If you find these insects on the outside of your home or on trees around your home you may not be in much trouble. Because these swarmers cannot fly very well, they are often blown by the wind onto the exterior of your house or onto neighboring trees and plants. If you find these bugs in these locations, generally you will have no problem. However, if you find a swarmer leaving from the structure of a window, door, porch columns, or any wood structure, then you should contact some pest service. Once inside these structures, swarmers have the ability to mate and begin reproducing working termites which will begin to cause damage to your home. Finding only a couple of swarmers inside your home may only be coincidence. However, if you begin seeing many, than more than likely this indicates that a colony has formed somewhere in or near your home. The quicker you take care of...

What are Flying Termites?

Entomologists have estimated that flying insects may have come around nearly 300 million years ago. Flying insects are the only invertebrates that developed wings for flight. One of the 25 different categories of these flying insects is the winged termite, or Order Isoptera. Often confused with flying ants, termite swarmers are flying termites. Another name commonly associated with termite swarmers is “winged reproductives.” These termites have one queen, one king, and secondary reproductives ranging in the hundreds in their colonies. Identifying Flying Termites Whereas flying ants will have three distinct body parts, and look literally like an ant with wings, termite swarmers will have the appearance of a head followed by two long wings, twice as long as the body, and distinctively larger at the base than up by the head. Moreover, the antennas on these insects are straight, not elbowed like the flying ant. Flying termites go through a gradual metamorphosis, from egg to nymph to adult. When a swarm of winged termites are together, they are just starting out as adult females and males. The normal swarming season for termites begins in early March when the temperature begins to increase. It is during this weather that termites begin their social season, and they can be seen in swarms. They will go off in pairs (this makes up the king and queen) to start their own colonies. Once they settle on a location, their wings will fall off, and they will begin reproducing. Flying Termites are a Sign of Local Termite Activity So, while flying termites outside a home, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have infested as of yet. These winged termites are attracted to light, so a swarm may not mean anything more than their interest in the atmosphere. Only when there have been repeated swarms in the neighborhood over the course of a couple of years is there a high chance there are termite nests nearby. However, when the wings of a termite are found near a home, then there is a higher probability of their infestation. That being said, it will take years before any damage is actually done to the wood of the...