It’s hard to tell the difference between flying ants and swarming termites. Swarms of either (and sometimes both) can occur at this time of year, so it’s important to know if those gossamer wings glimmering on your windowsill are cause for further investigation.
Flying termites indicate a potentially serious problem. Flying ants can also indicate a problem, although not as serious.
If you’re the curious type, and want to know what insect is leaving wings behind, here is an easy way to tell: flying ants have an hourglass figure, with a tiny waist. Flying termites have no waist.
Flying ants, could be carpenter ant reproductives or another species. While carpenter ants can’t digest cellulose, they are attracted to areas with a lot of moisture and often nest in wood that is or has been moist. They hollow the wood out for nesting, and excavate galleries that have a smooth, sanded appearance. Unlike termites, who pack the galleries with mud, carpenter ants excavate their shredded fragments of wood into little piles of what look like pencil sharpener shavings. If any ants are active in the house it is time for an inspection. Termites, with their incredible appetites for cellulose and ability to damage structures, are one of the least desirable pests.
It’s at this time of year, when sunshine follows a spring rainfall, and swarms of winged reproductive subterranean termites leave their colonies to establish new homes.
The prolific reproductive behavior of termites means that new colonies will rapidly increase in numbers. Depending on where they’re established, they may chew their way into your home. If they’re not intercepted, they can cause eventual damage resulting in thousands of dollars in repair work. In the United States, termites are found in 49 of the states and cause more than 2 billion dollars of damage every year. Much more than all the storms and fires combined.
If you’ve spotted swarmers in your home you should call a professional pest expert and have a complete inspection!
The specialist will be able to determine if the pest are termite swarmers or ants, the extent of your problem, and the specific recommendation to correct them. Your home will not fall down overnight so take the time to learn about the potential options you may have for correction. Be sure to deal with a company who is recommended by neighbors and friends. Ask for references and check them out. Be sure to know exactly what will be done and with what material and ask about a warranty for the treatment and if it is extendable and transferable.
Be weary of “bargain” treatments that may not provide the level of protection you need.
Gene Scholes is the Vice President of Reliable Pest Solutions, a provider of Pest Control in the TriState area since 1938. He is a Certified Entomologist and a Licensed and Certified Pest Solution Provider. His experience includes more than 40 years in the Pest Solution Business. He can be reached at 1-888-777-3542 or on the web: reliablepestsolutions.com
Employee of the Month: Chad Shutwell
Get to know our Featured Employee for the Month for February 2013: Chad Shutwell
Job title: Service Technician
First car: "1972 Ford Galaxie"
Favorite movie: "'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'"
Hobbies: “Watching sports, playing sports with my son”
Favorite bands: "Def Leppard, Little River Band"
Favorite quote: "Live each day like it will be your last. Have no regrets."
Favorite sports teams: Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs
Subterranean termites cause the large majority of termite damage that occurs in the United States. Now is the time to start paying attention to the signs of termite damage around your largest investment (Your home). To the untrained eye, this can be a bit of a challenge as finding the workings of subterranean termites differ from those of all other wood-destroying organisms. These termites remove only the soft layers within the annual rings of the wood grain, penetrating the hard layers only to get from one soft layer to another.
Termites may excavate the wood so that only a very thin layer of wood is left on the surface between their cavities and the outside.
Take this for example:
From the front this book taken from a structure being treated by Reliable for termites looks like a perfectly good Webster’s New Collegiate
Dictionary yet from the back it looks like dinner and part of a larger termite highway.
Yes these are the stories that you hear about where a new homeowner proudly leans against a wood beam or door frame of his new home and falls through it as it crumbles to the touch… It can and does happen which is precisely why we at Reliable spend so much time and energy learning to spot the signs of an infestation early on, before termite damage gets this bad and Expensive!
Subterranean termites travel constantly from their nests in the ground to the wood, or as you can see from the picture, to the other cellulose-bearing material upon which they feed. These trips are made only inside wood or in the mud tubes that they construct. Single tubes when they are built in the open are about the diameter of an ordinary lead pencil but can be very long depending on the open area needed to travel, protected from the elements and predators along the way.
Call an expert:
Extensive and ongoing training is a requirement for each member of the Reliable staff to ensure that we have the best in the business to inspect, identify, treat and protect your home.
In these pictures taken at our most recent companywide in-Service you can see Chris Smith (Operations Manager) delivering yet another ongoing termite training class giving specific direction on inspection techniques along with open discussions on behaviors, biology and treatment techniques.
For the last 75 years Reliable Pest Solutions has been dedicated to protecting your home, health and property. It is the obsessive never
ending dedication and attention to detail of team members such as Chris and his team of technicians that makes it all possible and will ensure that we will be here to protect you and your family in the decades to come…