Termites are a common problem in the Charleston area of South Carolina, and if you’re a homeowner, you may have experienced the frustration of dealing with them. One of the most common signs of a termite infestation is the presence of termite swarmers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what termite swarmers are, why they’re a problem, and what you can do to prevent them.
What are Termite Swarmers?
Termite swarmers, also known as alates, are reproductive termites that leave the colony to establish new colonies elsewhere. They are typically winged and are often mistaken for flying ants, but there are a few key differences. Termite swarmers have straight antennae, while ants have bent antennae. Additionally, termite swarmers have wings of equal size, while ants have wings of different sizes.
Termite swarmers typically emerge in the spring, after the weather has warmed up and the humidity is high. In the Charleston and the Lowcountry, we typically see swarmers during the mid- to late May timeframe. They are attracted to light and may be seen flying around lights or windows. Once they have emerged, they will mate and then shed their wings. The female will then burrow into the soil to start a new colony, while the male will typically die soon after mating.
Why are Termite Swarmers a Problem?
While termite swarmers themselves are not harmful, their presence could be a sign of a larger termite infestation. If you see termite swarmers in or around your home, there could be hundreds or even thousands of termites living in your walls, floors, or foundation. This can lead to serious structural damage over time if left untreated.
Termite infestations can also be difficult to detect, as termites are often hidden inside walls or other inaccessible areas of your home. This means that by the time you see termite swarmers, the damage may already be extensive.
How Can You Prevent Termite Swarmers?
Preventing termite swarmers from infesting your home is the best way to avoid a termite infestation. Here are some steps you can take to prevent termite swarmers:
- Keep wood away from your home. Termites are attracted to wood, so it’s important to keep firewood, lumber, and other wood products away from your house.
- Fix any moisture problems. Termites are also attracted to moisture, so it’s important to fix any leaks or moisture problems in your home. This can include repairing leaky pipes, fixing roof leaks, and making sure your home is properly ventilated.
- Use termite-resistant materials. When building or renovating your home, consider using termite-resistant materials, such as concrete or steel.
- Schedule regular termite inspections. Having your home inspected for termites on a regular basis can help detect any infestations early, before they become a major problem.
Termite swarmers can be a sign of a larger termite infestation, and it’s important to take steps to prevent them from infesting your home. By keeping wood and moisture away from your home, using termite-resistant materials, and scheduling regular termite inspections, you can protect your home from serious structural damage and ensure that your family is safe and comfortable. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation, it’s important to call Barrier Pest Services to treat the problem as soon as possible.
What if I Think I May Have a Termite Problem?
If you suspect that you have termites, it is important to contact Barrier Pest Services as soon as possible. We can conduct a thorough inspection of your property and recommend a treatment plan to eliminate the termites and prevent future infestations.
In addition to professional pest control, there are also several steps you can take to prevent termite infestations in your home. These include:
- Keep wood debris away from your home’s foundation
- Fix any moisture problems, such as leaky pipes or a damp basement
- Use treated wood when building or renovating your home
- Install physical barriers around the perimeter of your home’s foundation
- Have regular termite inspections by a professional exterminator
By taking these preventative measures and identifying termite swarmers early, you can protect your home from costly termite damage and maintain a pest-free living environment.
What Type of Termites Are Common in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are several species of termites that are commonly found, including subterranean termites, drywood termites, and Formosan termites. Each species has different swarming behaviors, so it is important to know what to look for.
Subterranean Termite Swarmers
Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite in South Carolina, and they often swarm in the spring after a rainfall. These termites are attracted to moisture and typically build their colonies underground. If you see subterranean termite swarmers, they will have dark bodies and two pairs of wings that are equal in size.
Drywood Termite Swarmers
Drywood termites are less common in South Carolina, but they can still be a problem. They typically swarm in the fall and are attracted to dry, untreated wood. If you see drywood termite swarmers, they will have light-colored bodies and two pairs of wings that are longer than their bodies.
Formosan Termite Swarmers
Formosan termites are an invasive species of termite that has become a major problem in South Carolina. They are known for their aggressive behavior and large colonies, which can cause significant damage to homes and other structures. Formosan termite swarmers typically swarm in the late spring or early summer, and they have dark bodies and two pairs of wings that are unequal in size.