Monday, April 1, 2013

Termite Swarmers

It is now April and “Spring” is still knocking at the door. The warmer air and light rains could cause termites to swarm. Which is not really a problem itself; however, swarmers could indicate a problem.

Swarmers are winged, flying termites that are generally attracted to light. Certain times a year, termites come out of the ground and fly. These termites do not eat wood, but they are a good indicator that an active colony is nearby. Usually you will see them swarming near an old stump or woodpile. No reason to worry, termites are just Mother Nature’s decomposers.

When you see them in your house or building, there may be colony underneath your structure. First, identify the nuisance to be sure they are not flying ants (look at online pictures, take them to your local Possum’s or local Clemson Extension Office). Ants have a constricted abdomen (like the waist of a body builder) and a termite’s body tapers straight down (more like a middle-aged person). You will usually find termite swarmers and their wings in window sills because they fly towards light.

If you determine that you do have termite swarmers and your house or building is under contract (bond) with a Pest Management Professional, contact them right away. If your house is not under contract, call 3 companies and get estimates. Do not necessarily go with the lowest bid, this is your house we are talking about, look to see what their warranties are, how long they have been in business or do they have referrals you can contact, how often they propose to retreat, do they cover Formosan Termites, who pays for damage, who pays for retreats, how much does the yearly inspection cost …  

Remember the swarmers are a nuisance. They do not eat wood. Kill them just to clean up the mess; however, a soil treatment or a baiting system by a professional is going to be your long term fix. Remember your house is probably your biggest investment.

It is a great time to apply SeaHume and Cotton Burr Compost by Back To Nature (watch out for imposters of the Cotton Burr Compost) to your lawn and beds. 04-00-10 (Perk) with its root enhancer technology is great for the lawn as it comes out of dormancy. 17-00-09 that is 100% slow release and loaded with minors will get your trees and shrubs off to a healthy start. These damp cool days are fungi’s dream conditions, so an application of a preventive fungicide is a good idea. Protect your new leaves as they emerge from your shrubs and trees from fungus and disease. Preemerge?

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.