In our Lewisville service area, termites can be a serious threat. But most folks don't really know where this threat comes from. It is common for people to think that an infestation begins with a swarm of termites landing on their home—as if termites swarm around in the air and then settle on a place to live as a group. This isn't quite how it works. If you walk out into your backyard and see hundreds of termites on your exterior wall, that is not likely a sign of an impending infestation. When large numbers of winged termites are seen together, it is a sign of a current and mature infestation on the property because those swarmers don't swarm for more than a few minutes before they break up into couples.
The Anatomy of a Termite Swarm
When a termite colony gets big enough, the queen begins to create alates. These are male and female winged reproductives that are developed for a singular purpose: to create new colonies. The queen releases a pheromone scent and the alates work their way to the surface (toward the light) and exit the colony. Once they take to the air, they begin to swarm with each other. This is why we call them swarmers. This swarming behavior helps the males and females find a mate. When they do, they are mated for life. There are no deadbeat dads in a termite colony.
In the same way a queen uses pheromone scents to communicate with the subjects in her colony, female alates use pheromones to attract a mate. After the two have come together, they look for a suitable place to land and start a family. They break free of the swarm, land on the ground, shed their wings and dig out a chamber in the ground. This is their nuptial chamber. It is where they will mate for the first time and where the queen will begin to create her offspring.
If you find a few termites on your property and there are shed wings lying on the ground, you might be looking at the start of an infestation. It could also be the start of a new nest on your property. Either way, it isn't good. As a new queen creates new workers for her colony, those workers are going to need to eat, and their primary food sources is wood.
It is important to understand how termites swarms work because a misunderstanding can lead you to believe that your property is safe and allow those wood-damaging pests the opportunity to feed on your home without you knowing it.
Termites don't always enter a yard as a winged reproductive. They can tunnel into a yard. Subterranean termite workers can travel as far as the length of a football field in search of a food source. If your neighbor's property is infested with termites, those termites could feed on your property at the same time. If you learn that your neighbor has been dealing with termites, it is definitely time to start considering termite protection for your home.
While colonies often begin with a female and male swarmer entering your yard, some colonies form as a result of budding. Budding is when one colony turns into two or more colonies. Here's how it works: In a termite colony, there are supplementary reproductives that assist the queen with egg production. These alternate queens also assist with satellite colonies, essentially acting as front-line reproductives to speed up the creation of workers. If a satellite colony is separated from the main colony, it can become its own colony. Through this process of budding, a colony can be established in your yard without a single swarmer taking to the air.
How to Make Termites Go Away
Now that you have an idea of where termites come from, let's talk about how to make them go away. At Adams Exterminating Company, we trust the award-winning, eco-friendly Sentricon System with Always Active technology. It works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to eliminate colonies. We'd love to talk with you about it. Reach out to us today to learn more or to begin the process of putting termite protection in place around your North Texas property. We service Lewisville, Denton and the surrounding communities.
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