As I write this article, it’s the middle of February…50 degrees outside…freeze warnings for tonight…and I was in flip flops the day before and sweating…Texas weather, just have to love it!! Good thing is we are getting some much needed rain. It’s nice to now be traveling past Lake Conroe to see how much it has risen…it’s not going up too fast, but it is going up!

I have decided that this month and next month to spend my time discussing Wood Destroying Insects and more specifically, termites. Therefore, there’s no reason for you not to be prepared when the termite swarm occurs…and it will occur…always has and always will. The difficult part of this topic is that certain species of ants also swarm and create confusion to property owners, so it’s imperative to properly identify the swarming insect. Hopefully this illustration will help:

C:\Documents and Settings\Cary Wortham\My Documents\My Pictures\ant vs termite.jpg

Insects have three “body” parts…the head, thorax and abdomen. The easiest “identifier”, for the termite and ant, is the middle part of the body, or the connective area between the thorax and abdomen. The ant has a very distinctive narrow segment (pedicel) between the thorax and abdomen. The termite does not.

Ok, so how do you prepare and how do you protect your property? Inspect. The key is to make certain that your home or office is not inviting them to “set up shop” on your property. Do not allow firewood or other products to be stacked next to the building, minimizing slab visibility/inspection. Repair leaking faucets and A/C drip lines, to prevent constant moisture next to the slab. Make certain that your soil and mulch levels are 2-4 inches below the top of you slab. Remove the debris collecting in the gutters. Replace moist and damaged wood on the structure. Eliminate vines growing on the structure and shrubs/trees that are contacting the structure. If you are uncertain as to what should be corrected, be safe and call a qualified pest control operator to come perform an inspection and advise you of the conducive conditions. And for the record, not all pest control operators are termite licensed. A licensed professional operator will inspect the property, identify the areas of concern, discuss the available options, and allow you to make an educated decision.

Next month I will discuss the “timing” of the swarm and the various treatment options. In the meantime, with the weather being more enjoyable, get out there and perform the needed alterations and have your property professionally inspected. The inspection fee is minimal compared to the wasted time, effort and damage caused due to neglect or thinking it just “won’t happen to me”. We do have a high level of termite activity in our region due to the moisture and cellulose substances in our soils.

By the way, all of the other insects are soon to be emerging and wanting to “party” after their long winters nap. So if you don’t like to “party” with these guys, it’s time to get started on your treatment programs. This is a great time to apply Top Choice for yearly fire ant control. Perfect time to install a mosquito misting system…prior to the “season”. And, most definitely, a great time to perform termite treatments.

If you would like more information on these systems or any pest related service, please contact me at Chase Pest Control. Our office number is 936-441-2847 or by email at Until the next issue, have a great time outdoors.