For homeowners, late spring and early summer are a time to look out for termite swarms and this year, although swarms are arriving a little later than in years past, they are arriving in force.
The native termite species generally swarms from April until late May, but in correlation with cooler weather no reports of swarms were made earlier this year. However, beginning with the recent spike in temperatures termite swarms have been reported region wide.
After not receiving a report of termite swarms until this week, St. Charles Parish County Agent Renè Schmit said he has had numerous people contact him within the past few days about swarms.
“I got five calls in two days,” he said. “I had three samples brought in and unfortunately the samples were all Formosa termites.”
Formosan termites generally swarm from late May until mid-July and are potentially more harmful to property than the native species.“The Formosan termites are generally more aggressive than the native. They will do twice the damage in half the time,” he said.
Schmit said although homeowners are now seeing termite swarms it does not mean their homes are infested. “They come in through any opening so it is quite normal for a swarm when it is occurring to get into the house a little bit,” he said. “If you do see them there is not reason to panic, but if you see them for more than a few days then you may want to get in contact with a pest control operator.”
If homeowners still see termites in their home three to four days following a swarm it may be the sign of an infestation.
According to Schmit, a few telltale signs that termites have moved in include finding them in the bathtub, seeing them come out of wall sockets and finding bore holes in drywall.
He said regular pest control inspections are the best way to combat termites.
“I would encourage anyone who has not had any type of termite treatment in recent years to have it done. No home in Louisiana should be without protection,” Schmit said.For more information on termites and termite control, contact Schmit at (985)785-4473.
To reduce risk for attracting termites, also consider the following maintenance tips:
•Provide for gutter downspouts to drain water away from your house, including air conditioning condensate.
•Promptly fix any leaks in roof, gutters and plumbing.
Eliminate earth-to-wood contact
•Make sure wood is not in direct contact with the soil.
•Outdoor wood porches and wood steps should be placed on a concrete base at least 6 inches above grade.
•Store woodpiles or firewood away from the house and make sure they are raised off the ground.
•Keep shrubs and flower gardens at least 12 inches away from the house.
Minimize the amount of raw wood available for termites to eat
•Treat unpainted exterior wood with an oil based wood preservative or borate product such as Bora-care.
•Replace rotted or destroyed structural wood with properly pressure treated wood.
Inspect your property often for termites
•Look for signs of infestation inside and outside of structures - mud tubes along the slab, siding, especially in crawl space, attic and bathroom.
•Accumulation of termite wings indoors or swarms emerging from the building exterior.