Yes, love is in the air and the invitations are starting to roll in. You might be surprised to know that it’s wedding season for termites, too. Stay with me on this.
When the termite nest gets too big to support all of the “family”, springtime is when the young adults are told to GET OUT!! And by the thousands they swarm out of the nest in hopes of meeting up with the perfect mate. This is also when hungry birds often find a feast of young termites to eat. The birds will literally snatch them out of the air. But if the termite girls and boys can find a partner, mate and then set up a suitable home, they are on the way to establishing their own colony.
It takes years to grow a colony to a size where parents are pushing swarmers out of the nest – but year after year the queen termite does her duty by staying continually pregnant until thousands and thousands of offspring are produced. Oh, those carefree days of trying to get away from the birds…but I digress.
All the while, as the nest grows, food must be found to support the family. Workers are sent to forage for wood and cellulose that can be turned into food. Sometimes it’s an old tree log and sometimes it’s your home. And this is the part that should interest you.
Termites are thought to do more than a billion dollars in damage every year to structures. They can be difficult to detect because they mostly live underground. There are two things that might alert you to the fact you have a termite problem: seeing the swarms or seeing termite shelter tubes. These tubes look like mud cylinders climbing up foundation walls or along windows, plumbing lines or blocks in a crawlspace. It is a good idea to get a flashlight and check these areas for tubes. Dark and undisturbed places are the most likely areas to find them although they can be anywhere.
If you find something suspicious I can help you identify the problem. And since there are other wood destroying insects that can eat your house, we will talk about that next time. Until then, don’t forget to RSVP on those invitations.