- Live for 15 years
- Lay 1 egg every 15 seconds
- Have 4 wings
- Burrow tiny mud tunnels to a source of wood
- Leave sawdust near windows
- Enjoy wet wood resulting from leaky plumbing
- Can destroy an entire house in about 2-3 years
- Are found in every U.S. state except Alaska
- Help the food chain by recycling wood for the soil
Large swarms of winged insects inside and/or around the home is the most obvious sign of termite activity. Swarming occurs when reproductive male and female termites exit the colony and attempt to begin building a new colony. Since it takes most termite colonies at least three years to produce termite swarms, this is a likely sign of an ongoing problem.
When do termites swarm?
The exact dates termites swarm vary each year according to geographic regions, species type and weather conditions. Swarming season begins in February in the Charleston area and can last through May or early June. As a general rule, most subterranean termites swarm under these conditions:
- Daytime, usually mid-day.
- Often following a rain.
- Formosan termites are a notable exception in that they typically swarm in the early evening.
Other signs home owners should watch for
- Dead termites or wings around windows, doors, heating vents, or in bath tubs and sinks, are certain signs of termite activity.
- Termite mud tubes on walls located outside or inside the structure. The tubes are either round or flat and usually measure at least 1/4 inch or wider. They look like their name – a tube of mud.
- Damaged wood. Termites eat from the inside of the wood out, so damaged wood is sometimes very difficult to detect. "Hollow" sounding wood should be inspected for termite damage.
- Live termites. Termites are sometimes found while doing home remodeling or repair. Worker termites are small, whitish creatures that will quickly move away when exposed to light.