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Could I Have Termites?

By Chris Williams on April 6, 2016.

Subterranean TermitesQ:  My wife found several hundred insects with wings in our attached green house.  We did notice a few ants last summer on the patio.  We are not sure if these are ants or termites, how can we tell?

A:  This is a common question at Colonial Pest Control.  Ants and termites both produce winged reproductive forms.  Ants may swarm several times per year depending on the species. Termites swarm only once a year, from January until late July. Temperature and other climate conditions dictate exact swarming times each year.  Ants and termites respond to warming conditions and become active once air and soil temperatures increase.  Carpenter ants living in homes wake up once things warm up and they don’t go back to sleep until next fall. Pavement ants also wake up and forage for food on floors.  Odorous house ants may also become active within homes as spring approaches although temperatures are still cool out side.  Most ants feed on insects or plant secretions out doors, but readily find moisture and food indoors, especially in springtime.  Termites on the other hand, only eat wood and other cellulose containing materials.  Termites are a major contributor to home damage.  Termites cause over 5 billion dollars in damage each year.   Termites cause damage in every state except Alaska.  Most homeowners are unaware of the potential termite threat in their area.  Homeowner’s insurance usually does not cover termite damage or repairs.  When you find anything of a suspicious nature at your home, it is always best to call Colonial Pest Control Inc.  Termites and ants are a frequent source of consternation in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.  The good news is that Colonial Pest Control Inc. has experience in dealing with both termites and ants of all kinds.   The first step in pest control is identification of the pest.  Ants and termites have distinct differences. Termite swarmers have four identical wings, a black uni-body form, moniliform (dotted) antennae, and are all the same size, wings drop off.  Swarming takes place once a year, sometimes for more than a week if colony is mature, then stops.  Ant swarmers are of various sizes depending on species and sex.  Male ants are 1/3 the size of female ants and resemble wasps.  All ant swarmers have four wings; the fore wings are larger than the second pair by far, unlike termites.  Ants also have “elbowed” antennae unlike the termites.  Some species of ant swarm several times each summer.  Carpenter ants can swarm whenever the colony is ready; June and July are heavy swarming times in New Hampshire.  It usually takes ant and termites colonies 3-5 years to become mature and swarm.  New ant and termite colonies are always forming in nature and around your home.  Our best advice is to minimize termite food sources like bark mulch, wood ties stumps, etc… Remove ant paths to the house, cut back bushes, move woodpiles away, and inspect for activity.  Preventative treatments can be performed for both termites and carpenter ants.   Colonial Pest Control Inc.  has a proven track record in Residential and Commercial property protection.  If you think you have an ant or termite issue, call us at 1-800-525-8084 for a free estimate.  The first step in solving any problem is finding out what it is!

Tim Chace

3/1/2016

 

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