Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that this trickery of hot one day and freezing the next is hard on us and really confuses the insect population. I was thinking that by mid-April we (in the pest business) would need to have our “engines finely tuned up” and ready for the race…but, someone fired the “gun” on March 1st. We generally do not experience swarming termites until after periods of rain, high humidity, and warming temperatures…Oh wait, we had that around the end of February beginning of March…followed by another freeze. So, on March 12th we received that first call about termites swarming inside a home. Therefore, it’s time to discuss termites. (May need to have this discussion in December next year?)

It’s my responsibility to inform as to what to look for and how to make the right decision…not a rash decision. 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:

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.

The timing of the swarm is solely related to environmental conditions, not a specific day, time or event. Research has indicated that the swarm usually occurs in late March, anytime in April and even in May. Historically, the temperature is above 75 for several days and the humidity is rising. So, there’s a strong possibility that by the time you get this article we will have experienced the “swarm”, or it’s soon to occur.

Should you enter your home or business and discover thousands of “ant like” insects with or without wings, you should immediately contact a pest control company. Do not grab the raid can and start spraying. The majority of these swarmers will die. If you must clean up the area, please use a vacuum and then discard the bag. It’s important for the pest control operator to view the area to determine the point(s) of entry/exit, especially on an interior swarm. Additionally, it is very common for homeowners to find termite swarmers around the doors and windows during the swarm season. What needs to be identified is whether the wings are located on the inside or outside of the structure.

As for treatments, you have four options: do nothing, spot treat, partial treatment, or a complete partial treatment. Spot treatments are limited to 10 linear feet or less. Partial treatments are 10 linear feet and more. Complete partial treatment is where the entire structure has been treated. Of these treatment options you have only three treatment types: fumigation, liquid, or baits (and sometimes a combination of both liquid and baits). Which treatment option and type depends on the termite species, construction of the home or business, surrounding environment, your desires and finances.

The TDA oversees and defines Termite Treatments. Treatments must be performed by a Licensed Pest Control Technician, with a termite designation. Estimates for treatment must include a Termite Disclosure indicating the area to be treated, the product to be utilized, the warranty and any renewal option if granted. The TDA does NOT specify what termiticide must be used. This decision is generally determined by the pest control company or the client. Termiticides vary by active ingredient, length of efficacy, application type and cost.

So much more to discuss…but so little space allowed. Hopefully you will have enough information to make an informed decision or at least to ask the right questions. Whatever the case may be, curative or preventative; take the necessary time to research the company, the product and the treatment options available. Your property will not fall down over night…but don’t wait 6 months to make a decision either….cause while you’re thinking, the termites are eating!! And eating!! And eating!!! And eating!!!

Until next time, if you’re tired of ”swatin, stompin and throwin” things (at bugs)…give us a call…we’ll Chase’em away …to your neighbors. We are a full service pest control company providing general pest, termite, rodent and misting system services to homes and offices in Montgomery County. If we can assist you, please give us a call or email me at