Pest Control Austin : Termite Damage

Termite Mud Tubes 195x260This year has been a little strange. Many of our Austin pest control customers have been dealing with termites and termite damage for months now. We are quickly approaching the end of September, and generally by now, we have stopped getting calls regarding termite swarms. Not this year. Just last week, I received three calls about termite swarms. This is out of the ordinary, but it makes sense. Here in central Texas, we have had a year of mild to warm temperatures combined with a good bit of rain. These conditions will usually bring out termite swarms. The past few years, were so dry that there wasn’t much of a swarming season. The lack of a swarming season makes it less likely that Austin pest control customers will know that they have a termite problem; the only sign of a colony under the home would be termite damage which can be hidden inside walls for years before you can see it with the naked eye. When termites swarm you are acutely aware that you have a termite infestation. A swarm is a sign of a mature colony. When a swarm occurs, hundreds and hundreds of termites evacuate their current colony in the hopes of mating and finding a good place to establish a new colony. Swarmers may make the mistake of swarming into your home, instead of outside. Literally hundreds of winged termites will fly out of a hole they created and fly towards a light source, like a window or light bulb. When people see this, it is obviously a bit of a scare, and most will quickly contact their local Austin pest control company to take a look and evaluate the level of termite damage in and around the home.

Just to recap here are 7 main points about Termite Swarmers

  • There is a termite swarming season.
  • Weather conditions are everything, rain then moderate heat will bring out a swarm.
  • A swarm is a sign of a mature colony, which is ready to expand.
  • Swarmers are leaving the current colony to mate and establish a new colony
  • It is possible and fairly common for a swarm to occur INSIDE!
  • Swarming is an indicator, without it termite damage may go unnoticed for years
  • If you see a swarm in or around your home, you may need a treatment and should a seek a professional inspection

So when I got call about termite swarms, I was surprised that we receive calls so late in the season. At first, I thought it was probably not termites, but we had just enjoyed some rain so who knows. I asked if the customers had seen any visible signs of termite damage, where they saw the activity and so on. They had diagnosed through Google and were certain they had termites. When I went out to inspect it was the same scenario each time. They were termite swarmers, but not the kind I’m used to seeing. These were large, reddish brown swarmers, with large brownish opaque wings.

There were hundreds of dead ones all around the homes I inspected. There were no signs of damage to the structure. I collected samples and took it back to our office. One of our service managers quickly identified them as agricultural termites. Unlike the subterranean termites we are used to dealing with, the agricultural or desert termite does not pose a threat to your home. Agriculture termites are usually found in large fields in rural areas. They are usually attracted to pasture areas used for grass or hay production; grasses are and similar debris are their food source. These agricultural termites are being found in urban areas around central Texas because the drought has forced them closer to the soil surface in search of moisture and nourishment. In the end it was nothing to worry about.

If you are seeing swarms of termites or termite damage around your home please contact an Austin pest control company to schedule a free termite inspection.