It’s time to call the pest control company! Regardless of whether they are dead or alive when you first notice them, finding eastern subterranean termite swarmers inside a building is a sure sign the building has an active termite infestation and needs to be professionally treated. It takes several years for a colony of eastern subterranean termites to grow large enough to produce swarmers. This means that if you have hundreds of termite swarmers in the building, there are probably hundreds of thousands of termite workers eating the wood in that building. Eastern subterranean termite swarmers are fairly easy to identify. They are black; have long, straight, bead-like antennae; have clear white wings that are much longer than their body; and their front and hind wings are equal in length. Ant swarmers have elbow-shaped antennae and their front wings are considerably longer than their hind wings. Eastern subterranean termites normally swarm in the spring, but swarm season can begin as early as late January to February along the Gulf Coast and extend into May and early June in North Mississippi. Seeing swarmers is one of the most easily noticed signs of termite infestation, but savvy homeowners will also want to be alert for other signs of infestation, and the publications listed below discuss these.
Termite control is not a do-it-yourself project. If your home or building is infested with termites, it needs to be professionally treated by a properly licensed pest control company. Treatment costs vary depending on the size of the building, how it is constructed, and the type of treatment used, but a rough approximation of the cost of treating an average size home would be in the range of $1000, give or take several hundred. That’s a significant chunk of the family budget, but it is far better than having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to repair heavy termite damage. You don’t have to wait until you have termites to take steps to protect your house from termites. The best way to protect a building from termite damage is to have the building preventively treated for termites and to maintain the annual termite protection contract.
See Extension Publication 2568, Protect Your House from Termites, for more information on termite biology, signs of infestation, and how to control termites.
Extension Publication 2765, What Homebuilders Need to Know About Termites, contains additional information that will be of special interest to new home builders, and Table 1 of this publication contains information on the effectiveness and durability of available termite treatments.
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Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The information given here is for educational purposes only. Always read and follow current label directions. Specific commercial products are mentioned as examples only and reference to specific products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended to other products that may also be suitable and appropriately labeled.