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Article updated on 02/03/20 by Gaea Miranda
During the late spring, homeowners need to be on guard for an annual menace that threatens their homes: termites. April and May are the height of termite season; it is the time when the temperature is just right for termites to swarm out of their nests and build new colonies in another location. These insects look like flying ants, but the damage they can do in the long run is much more serious.
Homeowners who see flying termites in their area should be aware of the following tips:
- Find the source. You need to find out if the termites came from your property. Termites commonly live underground, but they could tunnel into your house to eat wood as a food source. Be on the lookout for tunnels made of mud around your home. If the swarmers seem to be mostly indoors, then it is a good sign of infestation.
- Turn the lights off. If there are termites in your area, it may be best to turn the lights off when not in use. Like most bugs, termites are attracted to the light and will go straight for your home should you leave your lights on.
- Eliminate or reduce moisture. Termites thrive in moist environments. As such, it is essential to ensure that all moist areas in the home, such as bathrooms, are always clean and dry.
- Ensure cleanliness. Maintaining the home and preventing termite invasion requires that you fix leaking faucets, exterior air conditioning units and rotting parts of the house (e.g. roof shingles).
What to Do
If termites have begun to infest your property, professional treatment and inspection is important. It is very difficult to get rid of termites on your own, and the damage they can do is severe.
If termites appear to be coming from a neighboring property, a different approach should be made. Make sure to warn your neighbor about the infestation. If they are unable to hire an exterminator, you will need to generate other safe and secure solutions to ensure that your house will not be affected.
It is essential to recognize that it can take years for termites to actually do any serious damage. While this may be true, you should ask a local pest control professional about installing a bait system in your yard. These systems use wooden bait to serve as both a warning sign and a way to kill termites. The exterminator can check the bait stations to see if there has been any activity. Any termites that eat from them will also spread poison to the budding colony.
It is also always a good idea to do a regular inspection on your own—looking for mud tubes, sawdust, bubbles in the paint on your walls or small holes in exposed wood. This would allow you to assess any termite infestation or damage, as well as mitigate the situation early on.