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Termite Swarm Season is Just Around the Corner

Preventive termite protection is imperative in the state of Georgia as Georgia is consistently ranked in the top 3 states in the US for termite damage.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.  Nationally, termites cause more than $5 billion in damage each year—more than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

Some homeowners experience this firsthand when they find themselves without coverage and a new termite problem arises.  Now, not only is the homeowner faced with the cost of the treatment, but also the cost to repair damages which can run in the thousands of dollars.  By having a preventive termite treatment, aka “termite warranty,” there is a shift in liability from the homeowner to the company who holds the warranty; therefore, if a home or property under a termite warranty, any damages caused by termites will be covered without an additional charge to the homeowner.

The most common termite in Georgia is the Eastern subterranean termite.  There are typically 8-14 colonies per acre and colonies can have as many as 300,000 termites each. 

During a queen’s reproductive cycle will lay thousands of eggs.  Aelates, the winged termites that hatch, lay awaiting the queen’s “go” in the termite tunnel.  When the pressure in the tunnel is great enough, the aelates will fly out, swarming.  Swarm season usually begins is late February/early March in Georgia after the last freeze and when the temperature rises and humidity increases. During swarm season is when you may see winged termites which look similar to winged ants; eventually, the winged termites will go back into the ground where they will lose their wings. 

Termites feed on cellulose, including the paper glue in sheetrock (creating divets), baseboards, ceilings, door jambs and window trim, to name a few.  Mud tunnels in expansion joints or along walls as well as swarmer inside a home are good signs that there is an active termite infestation.   

In addition to the Eastern subterranean termite, there are other types of wood destroying organisms that can cause damage to homes and property in Georgia, including wood boring beetles, powder post beetles, drywood termites and wood destroying fungus.

Wood boring beetles, most commonly found in lumber yards and other wooden areas, are not a large threat for homeowners.  Powder post beetles are a type of wood boring beetle that more commonly effect homeowners.  They like areas with increased levels of moisture; therefore, they are common in crawl spaces and basements where moisture levels are typically higher than other parts of a home or property. A female powder post beetles will lay eggs in wood.  The eggs turn to larvae which feeds on the wood while developing.  When the larvae has reached adulthood, it will leave the wood leaving a hole—evidence of an infestation.  To reduce the likelihood of a powder post beetle infestation or to correct a problem, the humidity in the area must be change with cross ventilation, moisture barrier or in some way decreasing the moisture level.

Though we’ve seen a recent increase in drywood termites in Georgia, there are more common in the coastal regions.  Fumigation is the best treatment for a drywood termite infestation.  Wood destroying fungus, though not common, is another type of wood destroying organism.  This fungus, often found in crawl spaces and basements where moisture levels are high, starts as a mold or mildew and can develop into a wood destroying fungus as moisture levels increase.  Reducing the moisture level with cross ventilation or moisture barriers is the best solution for a wood destroying fungus problem.

As you can see, more than just the Eastern subterranean termite is a threat to homeowners in Georgia.  Preventative termite control is the best way to protect your home—your largest investment—from termites.

Preventative termite protection is the best way to protect your home from these 24/7/365 foraging pests.


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