Termites can cause a considerable amount of damage to the wooden structure and frame of a home over time and often go undetected, until they have caused a lot of mayhem. It's best to conduct periodic termite inspections, but if you have not done that or may have recently moved into your new home, you may first become aware of activity following a termite swarm.
Often, the very first sign that any homeowner gets of a termite problem is when they come home from work and discover what appear to be insect wings littered around a windowsill. What are they and what should you do in this situation?
Why Do Termites Swarm?
A number of different types of termite may be living out of sight behind your walls. These may include workers, soldiers and alates. This latter type has wings and in certain circumstances will leave the colony and enter your home. This activity usually takes place in the spring, when the colony reaches a particular size and when weather conditions are expected to be perfect for flight.
These swarming termites will leave the colony through a miniature crack in a floorboard in a particular room, or through holes that have been made by the worker termites specifically for the purpose.
The swarming termites will exit these holes in considerable numbers and will be immediately attracted to the nearest source of light. Usually, this will mean that they head for the window. However, if the windows are closed they will not be able to reach the source of the light in order to continue their search for new nesting homes.
After a couple of hours without any moisture they will die from dehydration. Because these swarmers are characterised by the size of their wings, this is what you are likely to notice first of all, especially around those windowsills.
What Should You Do If You Encounter a Swarm?
Typically, a swarm will not last very long and the only step you need to take is to close any doors or windows, so that the insects cannot escape. They will naturally die shortly. Do not try and seal any holes the insects are escaping from, as the worker termites will simply create new ones.
Once the swarm is over you should vacuum up the dead or dying insects and dispose of them normally. However, you should keep a small bag of them in order to show to a trained termite inspector like Surekil Pest Control, who will advise you on your options for preventing further damage.