Termites swarm just in time for Mother’s Day

Johnny Morgan  |  5/9/2018 8:17:22 PM

(05/09/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — South Louisiana residents are seeing the annual night swarms of Formosan subterranean termites, which typically occur around Mother’s Day.

Each year termites begin this swarming action in an effort to begin new colonies, said LSU AgCenter entomologist Dennis Ring.

“They begin to swarm in April, but the first big swarm, is called the ‘Mother’s Day snowstorm,’” Ring said.

Formosan subterranean termites are not the only ones that swarm, but they are the most destructive.

“What you are seeing is termites trying to start new colonies,” Ring said. “Make sure the house is treated.”

A few winged termites found in a house usually do not indicate a problem, but more than 100 winged termites suggest the house may be infested, he said.

Termites need a water source. “Inspect the structure for mud tubes, which termites use to travel from the soil into structures,” Ring said.

Formosan subterranean termites are believed to have entered the U.S. on ships returning after World War II.

“Formosan subterranean termites have been found in Sabine, Vernon, Rapides, Avoyelles, Concordia parishes and all parishes south of these,” Ring said. “Additionally, these termites have been found in Bossier and Ouachita parishes.”

Ring said native termites can start to swarm as early as January, but Formosan termites usually show up in the spring and swarm through late summer.

“If you are seeing termites swarming at night, you can turn your outside lights off to reduce the attraction to your house,” he said.

Ring said residents who see termites swarming around their homes can avoid potential damage by having their structure treated.

“You should contact your LSU AgCenter agent for help in identifying what type of termites you have, and then contact a pest management professional to treat your structure,” Ring said.

The cost to treat a structure depends on the size of the structure and the product used, he said.

“The goal is to make sure that a barrier of the liquid termiticide is formed so the termites can’t get inside the dwelling or use baits to kill the termite colonies.

Ring said the swarms will occur periodically with fewer numbers of termites swarming in the latter part of July.A few swarming termites may be seen in August.

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Formosan subterranean termites. LSU AgCenter file photo

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