How Much Do You Know About Termite Swarmers In Gainesville?
March 15, 2021
Each new season comes with its own unique beauty and enjoyment, but the changing of the seasons also provide their own special pest infestations. Springtime offers an abundance of creepy critters just waiting to sneak inside, and there's one in particular that you never want to darken your doorstep – termites. While termites actively infest homes practically all year round, termite swarmers usually only venture out once or twice a year. For Gainesville, that window typically falls between February and May.
Termites, Or Ant Impostors?
These destructive pests are incredibly small and easily overlooked, so it's important to know what they look like. Depending on the species, termites range from 1/8th to 1/2 an inch long, and their coloring varies from pale white, light tan, brown to dark brown, and even black. All of this is worth mentioning because termite infestations are often mistaken for ant infestations. They're similar in size and coloring, and given their tiny stature, it's an easy mistake to make. There are very distinct differences between the two, in case you find yourself in an either/or situation:
- Termites have indistinct waists, where ants are more narrow
- Ant antennae are longer and segmented; termites are short and straight
- Termites have a soft exterior; ants have a hardened exoskeleton
- Ants are more easily found within the home, while termites are experts at hiding
- Flying ants have large forewings and smaller hind wings; termite swarmers have two sets of uniform wings
What's The Deal With Termite Swarmers?
Termite colonies produce different types of termites to help the nest function efficiently; once the king and queen have established a new home, they hatch workers, soldiers, and eventually more swarmer termites. Swarmers are winged male and female reproductive termites, and after the last frost of the season, they take flight in search of a mate and habitable conditions to build their own colonies. While their efforts are often unsuccessful for a multitude of reasons, large enough colonies have been known to release hundreds of termite swarmers at a time, increasing their chances of establishing a new colony.
What does this mean for you? Well, given that you take extra steps to ensure uninhabitable nesting conditions, probably not much. There are plenty of ways to protect your home from termites on your own, such as:
- Turning off porch lights at night; swarmers typically only travel at night and are attracted to bright lights
- Keeping brush and mulch piles away from the base of your home
- Removing lumber, sticks, and twigs, and wood-based products such as paper and cardboard from the base of your home
- Keeping shrubs and gardens trimmed away from the siding, at least 4-6 inches of space
- Maintaining a minimal amount of wood-to-soil contact on the outside of your home
- Locating and removing causes of excess water and moisture damage; most termites are attracted to moisture
When Should I Start To Worry About My Gainesville Home?
Typically, the only early warning sign you'll get with a termite infestation is finding shed wings around your property. When termites attempt to establish a new colony, they'll shed their wings and burrow into the ground. These wings often look like translucent scales, and they're easily overlooked. If you discover owner-less wings on your windowsills, door frames, decks, patios, or even near foundation walls, you might have a developing problem on your hands. If you missed the early warning wings, or they managed to find another way inside, your only other indication of a termite infestation would be active damage within your home. Signs of a termite infestation include:
- Discolored or drooping drywall
- Small pinpoint holes in the walls and wooden furniture
- Unusual maze-like patterns in walls and wooden furniture
- Crumbling wood
- Loosened floor tiles due to excessive water damage
- Overly squeaky floorboards
- Hollow-sounding wood when tapped
- Mud tubes climbing the outside foundation of your home
I Want Those Termites Out Of My Gainesville Home! What Do I Do?
If you've found evidence of termites in your home, then it's definitely time to call in the professionals. Trying to exterminate termites on your own isn't just frustrating and costly; store-brand pesticides can be toxic to humans and pets. At Alternative Pest Control, we use top of the line pesticides that are safe, effective, and guaranteed to work quickly on your Gainesville property. We offer both preventative and extermination treatments that are guaranteed to keep your property safe and secure against these stealthy pests. There's no reason to lose sleep over the silent destruction of your home; get in contact with us today and let us help you protect your biggest investment.