May means termite swarms in New Orleans
For those that live in and around southern Louisiana, springtime brings with it many great things such as nice weather, great festivals, the start of the fishing season and everyone’s favorite spring food – crawfish.
But homeowners also get a daunting reminder of potential problems which loom in the form of termite swarms each year around this time. And this May, like many before, residents all over the metro area are seeing swarms of Formosan termites looking for food in the form of wood.
New Orleans has a long and difficult history with termites; even Katrina couldn’t remove them from the city. They plague our homes and cause billions of dollars worth of damage every year; and springtime is when they come out in full force and sometimes cause the sky to fill with swarms of insects. Those unfamiliar with termites are amazed at the speed in which they can spread when swarming. For instance, a home that one day has just a few termites in it might have thousands in just a few days.
How to Identify Termites
There are primarily 3 types of termites native to southern Louisiana. They are:
- Native subterranean termites (reticulitermes) are found state wide and are the species that is the target of most termite control jobs.
- Formosan termites (coptotoermes) are presently found in the southern most part of the state, especially in the New Orleans and Lake Charles areas.
- Drywood termites are seldom found in our area in numbers compared to native and Formosan types.
If you go out around dusk and see a swarm flying around a light post or your back porch, those are most likely Formosan termites. Here are a few signs that termites may be around your home or business:
- You see swarms of insects near your home or property between April and July.
- You see signs of damage around your home such as wood damage.
- You find mud trails in or around properties; if you can follow this trail, it’s likely to take you to a nest.
Dealing with the problem
The good news is that extensive research over the past decade is opening the door to new treatment options. Many local universities and even the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control offices are dedicating tremendous resources to research that monitors termite activity and tests new control methods.
Predicting the severity of each termite season is difficult, but this makes it all the more important to always be vigilant in your efforts to keep your property in peak condition to make it less appealing to termites. A few tips include:
- Maintenance – Leaking faucets should be fixed; rotting wood should be replaced, and trees and shrubs should be kept trimmed and away from the house.
- Attention – Watch for signs of mud or bug trails, even slight property damage or swarming. All are signs of activity and should be reported and investigated further.
- Prevention – Annual inspections with a professional pest control agency, such as Dial One Pest Control, should be scheduled to ensure prompt detection. If you wait until there are obvious signs of an infestation it may too late to treat the problem without incurring major expenses. But regular monitoring and inspections can help catch problems before they become severe.
Photo Credit: Scott Threlkeld/The Times-Picayune