Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Subterranean Termites Swarming In Orange County

    In Orange County, it is common to see subterranean termites swarming during the months of February, March and April. During these months, many people will come home from work and find hundreds of termites flying around inside of their homes. Or, if they’re outside, they may see a “cloud” of thousands of termites flying by.

    Swarming is when the young king and queen termites take off on their “honeymoon” flight. It is part of the termite’s mating ritual and often occurs on a sunny day, particularly after a rain.

    Termite swarmers look similar to flying ants. Their bodies are almost black and are about ¼ inch long. Here are two easy ways you can tell the difference between flying ants and termites:

  1. A termite only has two body parts – a head and an abdomen. Ants have three body parts and you’ll notice a distinctive “constricted” waist between their thorax and abdomen.
  2. Termites have two large pairs of wings which are almost twice as long as their body. Look at a flying ant and you’ll see it has two pairs of wings which are not equal in length and are much shorter than their body.

    King and queen termites look much different than worker termites. The workers are whitish and look similar to six legged maggots. These workers are blind, do not have wings and all they do is eat 24/7.  Another important thing to note is that the kings and queens depend on worker termites to bring them food because they do not eat wood.

    Once conditions are right, the young kings and queens burst out of their nest and start their short mating flight. These termites are poor fliers and usually follow the prevailing breeze. While still in flight, they break off their wings and spiral down to the earth, or some may land and then remove their wings. Kings and queens are not attracted to one another until their wings have been clipped off. Fortunately, their mortality rate is very high and only 3% survive.

    When a king finds a queen that he likes, he will follow her around until she finds a place to call home. Perhaps they will do this by excavating a small cell in moist soil, under wood. After about a week, they will mate and the male will stay with her for the rest of his life. A queen may live up to 25 years and lay as many as 60,000 eggs.

    Unfortunately, many homeowners are completely unaware that they have a subterranean termite problem until they see swarming termites in their home. Most homeowners are not very happy when they find swarmers in their home. But, in many cases, it can actually be a blessing in disguise.

    Years ago, “Termite” Terry remembers doing a termite inspection on a home which was being sold. When Terry did his inspection, it appeared that no one had crawled under this home for many years and the amount of damage done by subterranean termites was staggering! The homeowner had no idea that she had a problem with subterranean termites because the interior of her home looked perfect.

    To properly repair this home, it needed to be jacked up off the ground and almost all of the flooring replaced. Since the repair costs were so high, she decided to hire another company that offered her a much lower price and tried to “patch” things up.

    Terry still remembers getting a call from the people who bought this home. When they moved into this home, their refrigerator fell through the kitchen floor!  Guess the other company’s patch didn’t hold, huh?

Don’t Let This Happen To You!

    If you see subterranean termites swarming in your home, call for an inspection immediately! And, even if you don’t see these swarmers, make sure you have your home inspected inside and out, top to bottom, every year.

Ten Things You Can Do To Prevent
An Infestation Of Subterranean Termites

  1.  Use termite shields when building a new home. Place them on foundations, piers and between wooden steps or porches and the main structure to prevent termite access from the soil. The soil should be treated prior to the pouring of the foundation to prevent subterranean termites. New wood can also be treated with borate solutions to help prevent both drywood and subterranean termites.
  2. Eliminate any wood contacts with the ground (e.g. by replacing wooden posts and piers with those made of concrete and by supporting wooden steps on concrete bases which are at least 6 inches above the ground).
  3. Re-grade soil around the perimeter of your home to ensure drainage away from the structure. You also need to maintain at least 6 inches clearance between wood siding and the ground.
  4. Make sure you have at least 18 inches clearance in crawl spaces between all horizontal timbers and the ground.
  5. Control humidity in crawl spaces by ensuring adequate cross-ventilation. You may also want to cover the ground with a plastic moisture barrier. In some cases, an electric fan system may be needed to promote good ventilation.
  6. Remove all wood debris from the crawl space, such as scrap wood, form boards, old tree roots and saw dust.
  7. Look for foundation cracks, hollow blocks, gaps between stucco and the wall and crevices around pipes. These problem areas may help subterranean termites move from the ground and into the structure. Fill or repair theses items as needed.
  8. Remove infested stumps and trees near the structure.
  9. Correct sources of excess moisture, such as plumbing leaks and roof leaks. Check your lawn sprinklers and make sure they are adjusted properly.
  10. Always have your home inspected annually and take care of any problems quickly.

NOTE: Subterranean termites love moisture and if you’ll keep things around your home dry, you can significantly reduce your termite problems and possibly save yourself a fortune.

    Have a termite problem and need an inspection? Call our office at (949) 631-7348 or click on order form and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment at your convenience.