Friday afternoon (Feb. 24th) I found a small termite swarm in a condo unit in Raleigh. It’s pretty early in the year for swarmers but the conditions were perfect. A recent rain and warm weather due to this mild winter we’ve been having tricked the colony into thinking Spring had arrived.
Swarming is an annual event for most termite colonies. In the Spring of the year a portion of the termite colony will grow wings, their normally white or opaque skins become dark, and they all try to fly out of the colony exit at the same time. These swarms usually go unnoticed when they happen outdoors (although birds consider them tasty snacks when they come upon them). It’s when they swarm indoors that chaos ensues. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of these flying termites coming out of a crack in the floor or wall make for a fine mess and a general panic. The best immediate, though temporary remedy is to find the hole they are coming from and start sucking them up with a vacuum hose. Usually the worst is over in a few hours but there could be some inconsistant trickling out over a 2-3 day period. The good news is that these winged reproductive swarmers are not going to eat your house, they are only trying to get outside in order to start new colonies and the vast majority of them will die on their own. The bad news is that termite swarmers in your house is a sure sign of a termite infestation and you need to get it checked out soon.