I went into my backyard Thanksgiving morning and found a large swarm of termites
flying about. I managed to kill a large number of them with my hands and crushed a
few hundred more that had lost their wings and were crawling on the ground. I was
not able to tell where the termites were coming from - there is a possibly that they
might have been coming out of my neighbor’s house.
So what to I do next? The house and garage were tented and fumigated for termites
just before I bought the property nearly six years ago. Is it time to call in an exterminator?
Or can I just buy something at Home Depot to spray around the exterior of the house?
Thanks in advance for any advice that you can give me.
A swarm of flying termites are termites that are leaving an existing nest and are heading out to form a new nest. If this is an unusual event around you, and posting about it makes it likely, then that means there is a significant nest near you. So the answer to your question is yes. Call an exterminator who is experienced with termites. Do you have Formosan termites in your area? If not, then perhaps a barrier treatment will be sufficient. Good luck.
Around here in S. Louisiana we have swarms of termites every year. It is routine. The pest control companies won’t even bother to come out when called. It is pointless until the swarms die off.
Termites live in dead wood everywhere in their range. If you have trees, you have dead wood. You must be somewhere warmer than I, though, because they aren’t swarming at this time of year in the northeast. But like all the social insects, they swarm from time to time to find new homes.
Make sure you don’t have any connection between the wooden parts of your house and the ground. No piled up leaves, no dirt, certainly no wood pile next to your house. (They will build tunnels of dirt – if you see those, call the exterminator.)
But yeah, it’s probably time to get the pest people out to at least examine your home for termites, and treat if needed.
I think the choice to call an exterminator depends on whether there’s a reason you think these termites are damaging your house specifically, not just whether they are nearby. If you live in an area without trees and there’s no other explanation for what they’re doing, then, sure. But they’re an unremarkable part of a healthy environment when there are trees around.
They always do this after the first rain in CA-- just a bit late this year because we haven’t had any appreciable rain this season until a few days ago. I see it every year in my yard, and I know I don’t have a termite problem. So it doesn’t mean anything ether way, but it’s always good to have your hose tested periodically.
If you’re in an area that tends to termites, it’s worth having an annual inspection. They can catch an incipient infestation in the ground outside the house and treat it there, eliminating the need to tent / fumigate the house itself. We were advised to keep up with such an inspection by our realtor 30 years back; friends were not and they wound up having an infestation in the house.
Not helpful for your current situation, though.
I wouldn’t try doing anything yourself, beyond clearing away dead wood anywhere near the house. Home Depot is unlikely to sell anything strong enough to deal with an in-house infestation, and you wouldn’t be qualified to handle anything that could do the job; if the critters aren’t in your house itself, then clearing away deadfall is about all you could do on your own.
There are “traps” the companies may try to persuade you to put in - that attract ones heading toward the house and make an incipient infestation easier to detect. Not sure if they’re worth it; we’ve never done this.
We did have some evidence of them in the soil around the house once; they put down some treatment and all was well.