Your first reaction to seeing flying termites in your home could be panic. If you've had a previous termite infestation, you probably just feel angry. Either way, hungry termites mean business and your home is on the menu.
"After the cold winter we've had, you may be surprised to know that termites are swarming right now," says Ty Ferraro, Dow AgroSciences product manager for the Sentricon® System. "We've had a cold winter, but now that we're getting rain and warmer spring air, the termites are here."
The National Pest Management Association estimates that subterranean termites cost homeowners $5 billion per year to repair damages. That's more than fires, earthquakes and tornadoes combined. Yes, termites are a big problem.
So what do you do if you find winged bugs flying around in your home? Here are five steps the experts recommend.
1. Get expert help. Many pest management firms will do an inspection for free. Termite damage is slow but steady, so although it needs to be stopped, you have time to make the best decision.
2. Identify the enemy. Flying bugs could be termites, but they also could be ants or pantry pests. Catch one in a bag or jar to help with identification. Flying ("swarming") termites and ants easily can be confused with each other. Among other traits, ants have a narrow waist and termites have straight antennae.
3. Know your options. Used since the 1950s, liquid barrier treatments inject a chemical insecticide into the soil around and even beneath your home to stop the termites. A better approach, the Sentricon® System, eliminates the underground termite colony and it's a green approach. In fact, it's the only termite product to ever win the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
4. Conquer the queen. You need a product that doesn't just kill individual termites, it eliminates the entire termite colony. The colony is a complex hierarchy of termites who depend on each other for survival and who protect and care for the termite queen. Her job is to produce offspring, and depending on the species, has the amazing ability to produce up to 1 million eggs in her lifetime. Bottom line is: you kill the termites in the colony, no one can care for the termite queen and she – and her ability to reproduce – dies.
5. Take action to avoid termite swarming altogether. Preventive treatments are becoming the norm as pest management professionals seek to help homeowners avoid pest problems before they occur. The old saying that "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" is especially true for termites – flying termites known as swarmers in a home are a sign of a mature colony, and that usually means damage already has occurred. But the lack of swarming termites in your home does not mean your home is not being attacked.
Source: Dow AgroSciences