Termite damage is known to cause large scale destruction to all kinds of St. Louis properties. Termites eat away at moisture-damaged wood around your property, and they seriously threaten the structural integrity of your building, putting you and everyone on the property in danger. So how can you protect your property from termite activity? Educate yourself on these voracious wood eaters.`
The first thing to know about termites is the fact that they live in a caste system. Within their colonies, they are divided into three groups: workers, soldiers, and reproductives (also known as swarmers). At the bottom of the pyramid are the worker termites. They are sterile, blind, and wingless. They perform important tasks that keep the colony running properly, like maintaining the nest and gathering food. One step above them is the soldiers. They’re similar to workers, except they have powerful jaws that help them protect the colony from intruders.
At the very top of the hierarchy, are the swarmer termites. Swarmers also referred to as alates, are termites with wings. They exist solely to reproduce and start new colonies. Termite swarms travel in groups, looking for new nesting areas where they can breed, grow, and spread their population.
Signs Of Swarmers
Termite swarms usually happen in the spring, often after rainfall, as the weather begins warming up. They fly around looking for a partner and a place to start a new colony. Once they couple up in male/female pairs, swarmer termites shed their wings and begin reproducing. These two termites will act as the king and queen of the new colony.
Termite swarmers emerge from the colony’s mud tunnels and gravitate towards sources of light. They’re commonly found in doorways, walls, and windowsills, leaving discarded wings where they gather. Termite swarms are often the first and most visible sign of a nearby termite problem, so it’s a good idea to be able to identify them.
The individual alates are black or dark brown and grow to about 3/8 of an inch. They essentially look like winged ants, but you’ll know they’re termite swarmers because of their straight waist and antennae and wings of equal length. Termite swarms last about 30-40 minutes as they look for soil. Swarmers that are unable to find a suitable place to infest, die of dehydration.
Preventing Termite Activity
If you aren't yet seeing any swarms or signs of termite activity, now is a good time to take some preventative measures. The following efforts help minimize exposure to termites and reduce your chances of experiencing an infestation:
- Apply loose mortar or weather stripping around windows and doors.
- Eliminate any rotting or damaged wood from your property.
- Store wood a good distance away from the perimeter of your building.
- Examine and thoroughly check all wood before bringing it inside.
- Reduce excess moisture around the entire property.
- Avoid any wood to soil contact.
- Repair rotten areas of the roof to prevent entry.
- Direct downspouts away from the house.
- Repair plumbing issues such as leaky faucets and pipes.
- Put a dehumidifier in moisture-rich areas of the house.
- Install vent fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
While these are all useful suggestions for termite prevention, none of them are 100% effective on their own. Your safest approach to termite control is to seek regular services from a professional pest control company. If you are seeing signs of termite activity around your home, like swarmers or their discarded wings, don't hesitate to contact us.
Professional Termite Control
The professionals at Arenz Pest Management Solutions are experienced in the identification and elimination of all termite activity. We know how to keep them off of your property for good. Our follow-up services are scheduled on a regular basis to make sure you’re protected from termite infestation throughout the year. Call us today.