Termite swarmers are no joke, but the good news is that there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself, your home, and your investments. We’ve got everything you need to know to get rid of termites for good. So buckle up and get ready to read about these pesky bugs. Once you’re finished, we’ll even grant you with an honorary “swarmer termites badge of knowledge.” Okay, maybe not, but we can offer you a free quote for your termite treatment with a discount if you live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area.
When is termite season?
Termite season here in Dallas may not be a season you mark on your calendars, but it should be. Subterranean termites (which we’ll go into more depth about later) swarm in the spring and summer months. Just like you enjoy shacking up inside with the cool A/C, termites like hanging out in your home as well! They want to escape the heat, especially after a lot of rainfall. And you know where in Texas gets a lot of rainfall? Yep, Dallas County. That includes everywhere from Coppell and Southlake down to Rowlett and Forney. We love the rain, but the termites tend to swarm right after it!
Once you wind down after the summer and get ready to settle in for a long binge on all the new fall TV, and prepare for the holidays, things aren’t better. See, there are different types of termites, and drywood termites love the holidays. They’ll stick around your home for those summer and fall months, snuggling into your wood when things get cool.
You can expect to see termites throughout the spring, summer, and fall. If your house contracts termites (just like you contract chickenpox), you need some help or termites will stick around for winter too!
When do termites swarm?
Because the different types of termites vary so much, there are termites that swarm during the day and termites that swarm during the night. Because we have a warm climate year-round, there’s a good chance that termites will swarm all year round. While they may stick mostly to the swarming seasons, you can expect for there to be activity at all times.
One thing that termites really love is the wind. When there is a calm wind that makes it easy for them to travel, they’ll take advantage. So, whether it’s dawn or dusk may not matter to them as much as the warmth and wind.
Termite swarming season: how long do termite swarms last?
Up to this point, we’ve only talked about the swarms that happen outside as they travel into your home. Unfortunately, termites like to swarm indoors as well. Think of it like a termite house party. They have no shame! After they’ve made themselves comfortable in your walls, they make their worker termites literally do work. These little ones will eat, eat, eat like that boy from Matilda ate that chocolate cake, and leave holes in your baseboards, doorframes, and more. So, unless polka dot baseboards are suddenly a thing, that’s more damage that you’ll have to replace.
Through these exit holes, the larger swarmers will fly out and try to get to the light. Their goal is to spread their colony and make more baby termites. Can you say “yay” for more damage? A termite swarm in your house is literally no fun at all. If they end up succeeding, you could have more colonies mark your home as their territory. And if they don’t succeed, you’ll have wonderful little termites dead on your countertops or anywhere directly below your lights. Sounds fun, right?
Well, if this isn’t your idea of fun, we can’t blame you. The problem is that these termites with wings can travel quickly, and a lot of them can get out in a termite swarm. You can expect a termite swarm to last between thirty and forty minutes. When you see a swarm happening in your home, it can be scary and overwhelming. You may not even realize that termites do that!
What’s even scarier is that a home termite swarm is usually the first sign that homeowners get notifying them that they have termites. By the time a swarm happens, it could mean that there’s irreparable damage. First, let’s get into the different types of termites and what they look like.
Types of termites
Here in Texas, we get two types of termites. We’re practically the Australia of the United States, thanks to our creepy crawlies and other crazy animals! If there’s an annoying or dangerous bug in the United States, you can count on it being in the Dallas area. But, just because they are around doesn’t mean you have to live with them.
There are termites everywhere, but if you practice prevention, they don’t need to come into your home. The most common termite is the subterranean termite. They account for 95% of the termite damage reported in homes. Subterranean termites have both swarmers and soldiers. The soldiers do all the work and they are the swarmers’ number-one fans. They make the holes for swarmers to get out of the walls and fly away to multiply and replenish the termite population.
Subterranean termite swarmers
Subterranean termite swarmers have a smaller body and head, with thin wings. They are darker in color than drywood termites, and their wings are a pale-to-clear color. The swarmers are going to be out during the day and they live in mud tubes that are created by the soldiers. Because of this, they will die when they come out and swarm, but it’s still a good idea to try and keep them isolated.
The subterranean soldiers have a wider head and longer body. Another interesting thing is how their feeding patterns differ. These soldiers are a bit more picky with their wood. They are often found near the foundation of the home because they live in mud tubes. When they eat, you can often see the mud tubes. However, they eat with the grain of the wood. They like the softwood in between the grains. This differs a lot from the drywood termites.
Drywood termites are not nearly as popular as the subterranean ones. However, they still exist here in Dallas! These are termites that only swarm during the night. And just like Katy Perry at the Met Gala, these termites shed one outfit for another. While drywood termite swarmers may start out with wings, they usually shed their wings within a few moments of landing. Like a bad criminal, they leave behind their mark. These wings are usually one of the only tell-tale signs you’ll find in your home.
The swarmers have a wider body and are larger than subterranean termites. They have complex veins on their wings, whereas subterranean wings usually only have one thick vein on them. A lot of people mistake both drywood and subterranean termites for flying ants, but they’re a lot more of a pain.
The drywood termites also have soldiers. These soldiers have a thinner and longer head with a shorter body. Again, these soldiers are going to be the termites doing the real work. They will chew away at the wood and get the holes large enough for the swarmers to do their work. Drywood termite eating patterns are a lot more interesting. These bugs aren’t picky, so they aren’t going to stick to that softwood in between the grain. In fact, these termites seem to eat against the grain on purpose. So it’s often not too hard to tell what type of termites you may have.
Do swarming termites mean infestation?
So, you’ve experienced a termite swarm. Now what? We know that’s the last thing people want to think about, but we’re here to tell you it will be okay. Usually, swarming termites do mean that there is a termite infestation in the home. This is because a termite swarm only occurs when a colony becomes large enough to reproduce and spread their wings (no pun intended).
It can be hard to know whether or not you have termites, so don’t beat yourself up. Chances are that the infestation isn’t so out of control that it can’t be stopped. It’s not like termites stroll up to your house, stay there for a few months, and the house falls to the ground. Termites are small just like ants. And while they can cause irreparable damage that no one wants to deal with, thankfully, termites can be eliminated before that happens. But, if you notice a termite swarm in your home, it’s time to get help immediately.
If you wait too long, it could be too late. Structural damage can occur from just one colony, so this isn’t something to play around with. You’ll want to contact a licensed pest control expert to help you get rid of the problem.
How to get rid of swarmer termites
We know that you’re wondering how to get rid of swarmer termites. We don’t blame you. As soon as you know that there are termites in the walls, you get a little itchy. Bugs crawling around in your house? Yuck! But, we’re here to stop those itchy sensations we all get whenever we think about bugs. If you’re ready to get rid of termites for good, here are the ten steps to do so:
1. Don’t panic
We get it—bugs are gross. That’s why we’re in the business of making sure that you don’t have to deal with them any longer. When people first see a termite in their home, the initial thought is sheer panic. We’ve all seen those cartoons where little termites come in and in five seconds, the house is a sitting pile of sawdust.
Thankfully, as it turns out, that’s not true! Termites love wood, but they aren’t going to gnaw on the beams of your home and shave them down to nothing in a few minutes. Chances are, the termites you see have been there for a little while. And, chances are, they haven’t caused irreparable damage. There’s no reason to panic yet! Get help, but don’t panic yet.
2. Don’t seal the exit holes
If you’re in the middle of witnessing a termite swarm, people immediately think that the first thing they should do is seal up those exit holes. Surely, keeping the bugs in the walls will help, right? Well, wrong. Worker termites will create more holes, and since they will die once they hit the air within an hour or so, there’s no reason to seal the exit holes.
Tape, glue, or anything else you think of to seal the exit holes will only cause more damage in the long run. Again, they have to find soil to survive, so if these swarmers are in your home, they are going to die quickly anyway. As tempting as it is, don’t seal the holes!
3. Insect spray from the store won’t help
As humans, we’re pretty proactive. We see a bug and think that a can of insect spray is the answer we’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to help. First of all, you’re just going to waste the insect spray that you purchase. These termites are going to die very quickly, so there’s no reason to waste your hard-earned money on insect spray for termites!
If you think that going after those exit holes with the can of insecticide is a good idea, we hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not going to help either. That’s because termites are strong. Imagine throwing a stick at Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s not going to do much. And if we’re being honest, he’ll probably just get annoyed. That’s exactly what termites are like. These little bugs are extremely resilient. To actually kill them, you need a very in-depth, professional treatment for them to die off. Otherwise, they’ll be back.
4. Try to keep them in one area
Yes, we’ve told you a lot about what you shouldn’t do, so let’s move on to what you should do. When you see termites swarming, it’s time to try and keep them in one area. What you can do with the exit holes is tape a plastic bag over them so that the termite swarmers fly into the plastic bag. Not only will this contain them, but it can help you capture them to show to a pest control company.
5. Vacuum up the bugs
Once the swarm is over and there are bugs in whatever room it happened, you should get your vacuum. The vacuum will make it easy to suck them up, both dead or alive, and empty them out into a trash bag. When you do this, make sure to seal up the trash bag so that they are sure to die. You don’t want them alive when they reach the outdoors! Find a company that is experienced`with termites. If you’re in the Dallas area, from Rockwall County to Fort Worth, make sure to give us a call. We’re experienced with termite prevention and treatment, so we can make sure you’re covered.
You want to make sure that the termites are gone for good, so go with a company like Vinx that will offer a guarantee on the work. We know that you’re paying good money to get rid of these termites, so we want to make sure they are actually gone! Once we knock out that colony
6. Make sure to capture a few of the bugs
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is capture a few of the bugs to show a pest control company. It’s not like you have to put them in a glass jar and show them off to everyone who comes over, but it is smart to keep a few of the dead ones in a bag to show the licensed technician.
This is because there are two different types of termites. And while you may be able to narrow it down based on when the swarm happens, it’s also important for the pest control company to be completely certain about the kind of termites they are dealing with. Each termite will need a different sort of treatment, so this should be your main priority when witnessing a swarm!
7. Call a reputable pest-control company
The most important thing you can do after witnessing a swarm is call a pest control company. You need the termites out of your house and that’s only possible with the help of a licensed technician. Termite treatments “soak” the home so that you get rid of the termites and prevent them from coming back. This product isn’t available to the general public, so it’s important to call a company.
If you live in the Dallas area, Vinx is here to help. We offer termite treatments and termite prevention with Sentricon. Our liquid treatment will take care of the termites currently residing in your walls or property, and Sentricon bait stations will alert us should the termites come back. It’s an important part of getting rid of termites!
8. Seal up your house
Once you call the pest control company and get rid of the termites you had, it’s time to seal up your home. This is when you’ll want to take care of those exit holes. You should also seal up any gaps in the windows, doors, and foundation of the home. Anytime there is a gap, you leave your home vulnerable to termites and other harmful pests.
9. Get rid of mulch
Another important thing to do is get rid of mulch. Most of us love having mulch in our yards, especially here in Texas because of how hard it is to keep grass green! But having mulch near the foundation of your home can be extremely harmful. This is practically termite bait. So when it’s within a few feet of your home, you’re practically inviting them in!
10. Keep moisture out
The last thing you’ll want to do is keep the moisture out of your home. Termites love the humidity and moisture that comes with the Dallas area. When there is a leaky roof, leaky pipes, or a lot of rainfall, termites are ready to do some damage. While we know you can’t control the weather, you can control the leaks around your house. Make sure that you’re doing home inspections yourself every month. Sometimes, there’s a leak that you don’t even know about!
Conclusion: Surviving Termite Swarming Season
Termite swarming season is upon us, and it’s never fun. If you’ve just witnessed your first swarm, Vinx is here to help. Capture one of the bugs and give us a call or fill out the form below. While it may not mean that there’s irreparable damage to your home, it is a good sign that you have an infestation. The population is only going to grow, so don’t hesitate! Get rid of the itchy sensation that comes with knowing bugs are in your walls by having Vinx come out and treat your home. Click here to get a free price quote or fill out the form below.