Whether they're crawling over surfaces or clouding the sky, termite swarms are a bad sign. In Delray Beach and Boca Raton, swarms may occur at any time of the year, but they're most common in late spring. Increased humidity, warmer weather and Florida's characteristic rainstorms create ideal conditions for termite swarms. That's why many infestations are discovered between March and May.
What Are Termite Swarms?
The nasty truth is that swarmers are a special caste of fertile termites called alates. Their job is to mate and establish new colonies. When the time is right, the winged alates emerge from the ground or from cavities in infested wood. They fly briefly to find mates before losing their wings and returning to the ground. If they were successful, the pair will become the king and queen of a new colony.
Swarms may congregate indoors or around your yard. Although termite activity is unavoidable in most areas, it could indicate that a mature colony is active on your property or in your home, so it's worth investigating.
How to Identify a Termite Swarm
Flying ants and termite alates are quite similar at first glance, and they're active at the same time of the year. Flying ants have a set of large and small wings, elbowed antennae and well-defined waists. Termites have two sets of equally sized wings, straight antennae and thick bodies. Because several types of termites are active in Florida, swarms may occur at different times.
- Subterranean termites swarm during the day, particularly after rainfall. They're most active in the spring.
- Invasive Formosan termites swarm at night and are generally at their peak in the late spring and summer.
- Drywood termites are also active at night, especially around lights. Unlike other types, their heads and bodies are orange or golden-brown.
Protecting Your Property From Swarms and Infestations
If you've seen swarmers or piles of dropped wings around your property, note their location. Indoor infestations and activity originating from foundations, walls, porches and outbuildings require attention from a licensed pest management professional. Outdoor swarms do not necessarily indicate that your house is infested, but you might want to have it inspected just in case.
Finally, you can protect your property by caulking cracks in your foundation and sealing vents with mesh screens. Controlling moisture problems and keeping your property free from landscape debris are also helpful strategies.
For assistance managing termite swarms, contact Hometown Pest Control to schedule an inspection or to learn more about our treatment options. We are experts in termite control.