Termites are on the move.
“We are gearing up for swarm season,” said Mark Gincerowski, quality manager for Horne’s Pest Control. “It hasn’t really begun yet, but we have had some calls and we do expect it to increase over the next few weeks.”
Swarms can be visible year-round, but pest control professionals said spring conditions are ideal. Gincerowski said the insects that resemble winged ants particularly love temperatures in the 80s with a little moisture and a slight breeze.
Brian Forschler, a professor at entomology at University of Georgia, said the state has about five common species of termites.
Two are already flying, two more are expected to start around May to June and the last species is more common in late summer.
Experts said the debris left from the winter ice storm should not result in higher instances of termite infestations yet.
A stump, for example, left after the storm will provide
a popular hangout for termites, but it will take a while for the bugs to increase in number.
However, it does make it that much more likely the termites will notice a nearby, larger wood object: your home.
“The longer the wood is on the ground the more likely you’re going to have large numbers of termites,” Forschler said.
Justin Annis, a sales manager at Advanced Services Pest Control, said the average termite repair bill in 2012 was $10,000, and most homeowner’s insurance does not cover termite damage by itself.
The danger is that some homeowners who have brick homes or a home on a concrete slab think they’re immune to termite damage.
The truth is that no home is immune unless it has zero wood, which is uncommon.
Termites sometimes get into cracks in a home’s slab and head for the expansion joints, which lead to the wood studs in the walls and to the roof.
“They can get into your home and they can actually be inside your home for
a very long period of time
before they make them-
selves known to you,” Annis said.
Even a yearly inspection could be too infrequent to catch termites before they cause substantial damage.
Termites especially like wood near moist soil and are often found in garages and porches. Discarded wings in windowsills or garages could be a sign of a bigger problem.
Gincerowski estimates there can be up to 10 termite colonies per square acre, and according to Forschler, an average colony in Georgia has 50,000 termites.