Spring has officially arrived, along with the tree pollen, blooming flowers and bugs. According to the National Pest Management Association, spring is also termite season because, sometime after the last freeze, young adult male and female swarmers emerge from their nests in large groups. Since swarms tend to be the only outwardly visible sign of termites, people mistakenly believe they’re only active in spring, when they’re actually quite busy all year long.
Here are some other lesser-known facts you should learn about termites…
1. There are thousands of species: There are over 2,000 species of termites in the world, but the three most common are damp-wood termites, dry-wood termites, and Formosan subterranean termites. Ohio most frequently sees subterranean termites.
2. They are commonly mistaken for carpenter ants: If someone asked you to describe a termite would you be able to? Termites actually look a lot like ants but have some distinguishing features to look for. If you see an insect that looks like an ant but is light brown to white in color, has straight antennae, no distinct waist, and wings that are equal in length, it is likely a termite.
3. They need shelter to survive winter: Termites cannot survive below-freezing temperatures without shelter. When the weather turns for the worst, many make their way into homes and other residential structures, like sheds and garages, to wait out the winter months and reemerge once spring hits.
4. Termites have a caste system: Like bees, termites have designated jobs and roles. Workers, soldiers, kings, and queens can all be found within a termite colony.
5. They are descendants of cockroaches: During the Jurassic period, some cockroaches started evolving into what we know today as termites—which means termites date back over 100 million years.
6. Some of them can live close to 50 years: Unlike their cockroach ancestors, who only live about a year, queen termites can live for decades. Worker termites typically only live one or two years.
7. They actually do eat wood: While many people think termites are merely chewing through wood, they are actually consuming it. Their cockroach lineage is often credited for this digestive feat.
8. Their work is both physically and financially devastating: Though they are tiny, termites cause BIG problems, costing property owners approximately $4 billion dollars in damage every year.
9. They have multiple nesting sites: Termites are social insects and live in colonies. Every colony has one parent site and multiple satellite sites, and a single colony can consist of several million termites.
10. They swarm to create new nesting sites: Termites swarm to reproduce and establish new satellite nests. Swarms can occur at any time of the year but happen more frequently in humid and wet weather.
If you see a swarm of termites, it’s a sign that there is a mature and established colony nearby. If you find one nest on your property, it’s likely there are more nearby. A termite infestation can only be eradicated if the entire colony is destroyed—meaning all satellite nests and the parent nest must be wiped out.
A-1 Able Pest Doc has a proven track record of successfully eliminating termite infestations. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact A-1 Able Pest Doc at 1-800-737-8189 to schedule an inspection today.