How much is that bug in the window? or Is my house going to fall down today?

Swarmers in East Texas

Well it’s that time of year. I go from being available, to several weeks behind in one or two days. Swarm Season is the time of year when obnoxious offspring  of one of the most damaging insects are released into the world. Their numbers can be few or in such large numbers they are considered a catastrophic swarm.  It will usually start the day or two after a strong Spring storm followed by a mild warm day. Then at approximately 2:00 pm CST, the phone begins to ring. Then at approximately 3:00 pm CST when Kids return home from School; 5:00 pm  and 7:00 pm CST when people arrive home from work. Holidays are no exception. I have even received calls on Easter Sunday while at Church.

IMG_1505

If you are wondering, I am not looking for Easter eggs in the picture above.  Corrective treatments can be challenging. We have many tools and new technologies to help contain and minimize the damage of Termites, but they are a formidable opponent.  They cause so much damage that insurance companies won’t cover their treatment cost. It is estimated they do more damage each year than fires and storms combined in the United States.

th16LM19TW
Termite Tubes in Floor Joist
Termite-Damage-to-Floor2

The question that always comes up is,” How much damage do you think they have done”.  It  all depends on the species. Some cause damage more quickly due to their increased numbers and abilities to create sub-colony waystations (cartons)  so they don’t have to return to the soil. All are damaging to cellulose containing materials. Lumber and paper products are  bound together collections of water, cellulose and wood fibers. Unless the termites are left undetected or untreated, it will take a substantial  time for a house to “fall down” from termite damage.

DSC_0062
Termite Shelter Tube

The most common Termites in the Southern United States are the Subterranean Termites, Reticulitermes Sp.  and her more evil cousin Coptotermes formosanus.  Yes, I said her. As with most colony type insects the colony  members are almost all female or asexual. They do have a king and he mates for life with the queen. They travel everywhere outside the colony in a sheltered highway tunnel of mud. Even through the material they are consuming. They have soldiers for protection and they need it. Ants are the termites’ eternal enemy. If their was ever a good reason for  Fire Ants (Solenopsis Sp.) this may be it.

Well the good news is we have many options to manage termites and minimize damage to the structure. From conventional liquid methods to baits the technology is evolving for more efficient, environmentally responsible methods.  The key to minimizing damage is to be proactive and have the structure inspected occasionally by a professional who is licensed and insured. Then follow up on their recommendations if you have any conditions that are condusive to Termite infestations.

Well got to go! Another call, another swarm castle. Somedays my life is like herding cats.

termites.com-tubes-under-floor-insulation
Swarm Castle