Every year millions upon millions of termites take to the air in living rooms across the land proclaiming to the stunned home owners, ‘we’re here!’ The spectacle is frightening at first but once a can of Raid has doused the would be home invaders and the bugs are all vacuumed up a sigh of relief comes forth and then they are forgotten.
People who see this swarm often don’t realize that it is just the tip of an unseen iceberg. Killing the flying termite is great but does nothing for the thousands that live on in secrecy in their walls. Since the exodus only happens once and for a short time people can be fooled into thinking the problem is not that severe and since they killed them anyway, all is forgotten. It should be noted that only full grown colonies make swarmers and they are only a small part of the total number. The swarmers are the only caste in the colony that seeks light and just this once. The rest of the hoard that does the damage is left unseen to continue doing what termites do, eat wood.
A mature colony of subterranean termites is about sixty thousand strong at least. It takes two to three years and favorable conditions for them to get this large. The queen who was once a swarmer herself is an egg laying machine pumping out hundreds per day. The queen can live up to thirty years and there is always a ready stable of supplementary reproductive’s waiting to take over in case she dies. The supplemental queens also produce eggs and this really speeds up a colonies growth.
The worker termite is the one caste that eats the food. They do not have eyes so they prefer to live in total darkness and eat on the inside of your walls or wood they are in. They only need a small crack to enter any building and bring moisture up from the ground to sustain this valuable need. They then return to the colony and feed the others who technically do no damage at all. Termites can eat about 2 feet of a wall stud every 6 months so the damage can be extensive.
For whatever reason many people put off termite treatments thinking that if they can’t see it the problem is not that bad. It is often to late once swarms emerge or a mud tunnel is spotted because the damage may have been accruing for quite some time. The best advice is to at least have your home looked at once per year by a professional or even have it treated before there are any signs at all. This way there’ll be no surprises for you in the springtime with swarms of bugs sounding the alarm.