What Termite Swarmers Could Mean For Your West Chester, PA Property
May 21, 2021
While they don’t sting, bite, or spread disease, termites are one of the worst pests you can get in your West Chester, PA home for one simple reason: they’ll destroy it. Since they only leave their nests to breed, termites can fly under the radar for years, tunneling through your home’s wooden components until they do so much damage it threatens the structural integrity. If left untreated, termites can cause thousands of dollars in damage and may even lead to a total loss. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do about them. Below, we’ll talk about signs of termite infestation, ways to prevent it, and what to do if you already have a problem.
As we said above, termites are real homebodies, so you won’t see them crawling around on your counter or scurrying under your furniture like ants and roaches. The one time you will see them is when they swarm. During “termite season” (breeding season), mature termite colonies will send thousands of reproductive males and females – called alates – out of the nest to pair off and found satellite nests.
Termite swarms appear in big clusters of winged termite alates. Alates look similar to flying ants in that they have small, dark bodies with four white or off-white wings. Alates have much longer wings than flying ants, and their wing pairs are also equal lengths rather than being two separate lengths. Termite swarms don’t normally travel far from the nest that birthed them, so if you see a swarm, it’s time to start looking for other signs of infestation, such as:
- Blistered or damaged wood
- Termite sawdust – called frass or carton
- Kickout holes in walls
- Shed swarmer wings
- Mud tubes in the ground near your home
- Warped wooden components around your home (i.e. buckled floors, deformed doorframes, etc.)
Once alates pair off, the newly mated termite king and queen start hunting for a place to begin their own nest. The best way to keep termites out of your house is to make it less attractive to these alates. Wood-nesting termites prefer to nest in rotten and aging wood because it’s easier to carve, while ground-nesting termites prefer moist soil that doesn’t easily dry out. That means a lot of prevention techniques are going to revolve around eliminating these environments:
- Reduce moisture problems in and around your home, including leaky plumbing, clogged drainage and gutters, and areas in the ground that collect rainwater.
- Use ventilation or dehumidifiers to reduce humidity in attics and crawlspaces.
- Get rid of rotten wood both in your home and its surrounding areas.
- Avoid mulch if possible. If you do use mulch, leave a barrier of at least 4 inches between it and your home’s exterior.
- Never store firewood pressed up against your home’s exterior. Keep it covered indoors or far away from your house.
Unfortunately, termites can often get around your prevention measures, even if you’re careful. If that happens, there’s not a lot you can do on your own. Because termites can fly under the radar so long, it’s not uncommon for them to have founded several satellite nests by the time you discover the mature colony. So even if you kill the original colony, there could be plenty of satellite nests you’re not getting. Luckily, there’s a better way.
Here at Masters Touch Pest Solutions, we have over 25 years of experience dealing with these perilous pests. Our termite defense treatments can include a free termite inspection and quote, preventative termiticide soil, and effective extermination solutions to terminate your termites for good. So give us a call at 610-269-3000 or visit our contact page to schedule your inspection.