Every year, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) sponsors Termite Awareness Week! They created this week in order to bring public awareness to damage caused by these wood eating insects. We are partnering with the NPMA to educate our customers and community on the difference between termite swarmers and flying ants. We’ve also included some prevention tips and signs of an infestation homeowners should be aware of.
Flying Ants versus Termite Swarmers
Many homeowners mistake termite swarmers for flying ants and vice versa. To tell the difference, look for discarded wings! The purpose of a termite alate having wings is to find new places for colonies, but since their colonies are underground, there is no need for wings once they have mated. Another telltale difference is the waist of the insect. Flying ants have narrow, defined waists whereas termites have broad waists. The wings of the two pests are different as well. Flying ants two sets of wings that are unequal in length, but termites have two sets of wings that are equal in length.
Termite Swarmers are reproductive male and female termites who are looking for a new place to form a colony and will show up early in the spring when temperatures reach about 70 degrees. The females will release a ‘mating pheromone’ to draw in a mate. After attracting a suitable male, the couple will break off their wings and mate. Then, they will search for a good place to form a new colony.
Signs of an infestation
There are lots of signs of an infestation, but they are subtle. Listed below are some issues to look out for regarding termites.
- Mud tubes around the foundation of your home
- Hollow sounding wood
- Excessively squeaky floor boards
- Rotting wood
- Peeling paint
- Discarded insect wings.
How to prevent termites
Termites are a tricky pest and can be hard to prevent, but here are some tips provided by the NPMA that should keep them at bay or help you to spot them becoming an issue more quickly.
- Keep basements and crawlspaces well ventilated and dry.
- Inspect your home regularly for mud tubes, rotting wood and uneven or bubbling paint.
- Maintain an 18-inch gap between the soil and any wood portions of your home.
- Store fire wood at least 5 inches off the ground and 20 feet from the home.
- Damage caused by wood boring insets is typically not covered by home insurance, so you might want to consider partnering with a professional pest control company for annual termite inspections.