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Are Termites More Active in the Spring?

As the weather warms up, you might notice some termite wings in your windowsills or around your door frames. How long have those things been there? Is it that you’re just now noticing them, or did they just appear? Are termites more active in the spring?

Well, yes and no. Termites are more likely to be actively flying in the spring, but it doesn’t mean they’re more active when it comes to eating your house. Here’s what is going on. In the spring, termites called alates or swarmers leave their colonies in search of greener pastures. They’re reproductive termites looking for a mate and a new place to start a colony, and when they find those things, they drop their wings and settle down. So, wanderlust is what makes termites active in the spring, and if you see discarded wings around your house, call for assistance as quickly as possible, before they’re able to establish their colony.

At least, if you see termite wings, that means they’re about to start a new colony and you don’t already have a termite infestation, right? Wrong. Termites often settle not too far from home, so if you’re seeing wings, they’re probably from young termites who grew up somewhere on your property. Worse, if you have seen any termites crawling on the outside of your house, they probably came from the inside! Termites don’t hibernate, so it’s entirely possible that you’ve had these little invaders munching on your house all winter long.

Of course, you may not see the termites themselves at all. Subterranean termites are very good at staying hidden, and may go undiscovered for years while they happily eat your home from the inside out. Because they’re so sneaky, it’s important to know how to look for subtle clues of an infestation. Here’s what to know about evidence of termites:

  • You might see mud tubes on your exterior walls. These tubes are about the width of a pencil, and usually found on foundation walls. Because subterranean termites can’t travel above ground, these tubes help them make it from the soil around your home into the wood that makes up its structural support.
  • Look out for wood damage. You might not see this, because termites are often deep inside the walls. However, you might notice pinholes in the drywall, sometimes accompanied by termite droppings. If you’re paying close enough attention, you might also notice that some of your wood sounds hollow.
  • Sometimes, you might think termite damage is something else. Are your doors and windows warped or sticking? You may think it’s water damage or a sign that the house is settling but it could also be termites. A blistered appearance on wooden surfaces can also be termite damage.
  • Of course, now we’re back to swarmers. You might see them at night, swarming near a light, or see them briefly on the insides of your windows. And the wings, as we’ve mentioned, will be dropped once they’ve decided to stay a while.

If you see any of these signs, it’s past time to schedule an inspection. You should schedule a termite inspection annually, so that a professional can go over every part of your house and determine if there are any signs of termite activity. If there are already termites, treatment can eradicate the colony. If you have an inspection and there are no signs of termites, proactive treatment may be recommended. Why? Because termites are extremely destructive and, if left to their own devices, can do extreme damage to a home. In addition to professional treatment, there are some steps you can take to keep your home safe from these intruders.

  • Don’t let moisture accumulate. If you have a leak, fix it immediately. If your basement is damp, determine how to dry it out and waterproof it. Termites need water to survive and removing potential sources of water can help keep them out of your home.
  • Check the exterior of your home for any potential water sources. Do you have any leaky faucets or water pipes? Is your exterior AC unit putting out excess water? Are any sprinklers pointing at your foundation? Rectify any problems you find. If any part of your fascia, soffits, or roof shingles is rotten, repair it. Clean your gutters and make sure the grade of your yard is sloped away from your house so that water does not pool around your foundation. Consider putting a strip of crushed rock around the foundation, to further deter them.
  • Deny termites entry into your home. Don’t leave any room for them to breach your home’s exterior. Replace weather stripping as needed and repair any loose mortar around your basement foundation. Termites can get through a gap as small as 1/32nd of an inch, so take care to repair any cracks or gaps caused by the settling of your house. Seal cracks around gas lines and plumbing with caulk or foam sealant.
  • Take care not to provide food sources for termites. Did you know that it’s not wood termites are after, but cellulose? Cellulose can also be found in paper products. So, while it’s a no-brainer to keep rotting wood away from your home and remove wood left over from construction jobs, you should also know that newspapers, cardboard boxes, and other paper products stored in and around your property can invite a termite infestation. Recycle paper and wood products, keeping important papers on the upper levels of your home.
  • Be careful with what’s touching your house. Keep firewood off the ground and away from the house. Reduce the amount of soil-to-wood contact around the house, taking care that soil or mulch only touch the concrete foundation. Keep shrubbery trimmed and at least a foot away from the house.
  • Enlist the help of the professionals. The most important thing you can do to protect your home from termites, in the spring and every other season, is to schedule regular maintenance with an experienced termite control company.

At MightyMite Termite Services, we’ve earned a reputation as experts in California termite control. We perform termite inspections to ensure that your home is free of termites and work hard to help you keep it that way, using treatments that are naturally derived and have a low impact on the environment. We diagnose and treat infestations with the most effective methods and unmatched warranties, solving your termite problems the first time, with an industry best “no call-back rate.” That, combined with our experience, technology, and highly trained professional staff, makes us the leading extermination company in the Bay Area. We understand that your home is your most important investment, so we work hard to provide excellent service, utilizing best practices to solve our customers’ termite problems in Northern California. For more information, email, call us today at 408.335.7053, or contact us through our website.