Panama Metropolis going through swarm of termites after rain. What to do about them

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PANAMA CITY – It’s the perfect crush.

These aren’t feather-wing ants or gigantic mosquitos that pop up from wet and rotting logs – or in your home. They are termites and they have nothing good to offer.

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The above two sentences are the answers to two questions some of your neighbors may be asking right now, as a combination of the right temperatures, a large amount of rain, and the termite breeding season all together cause swarms of the voracious Isoptera edenda to flee be looking for new homes – possibly yours.

“This is the season for hotties,” said Teresa Griswold, vice president of Arrow Pest Control, based in Callaway. “And since it has rained a lot and it has to do with the temperatures, everything is perfect for termites to swarm out.”

Termites in the air

The phones in Griswold’s store reflect this.

“We’re very busy,” she said. “We get a lot of calls from people who get enthusiasts.

“Some are panicking and others are just like that, OK, we saw that and we probably have to do something about it. We get them from all over the place.”

A typical description came from someone who said she was “swarmed by flying ants” and resembling a “Hitchcock movie”, but that her “large population of lizards is in the sky”.

Although Cathy Dulaney wasn’t happy to see termites swarm, she was happy to know what it was and that she wasn’t alone.

“I’m on Linda (Avenue) and I can say it’s the biggest crush I’ve seen so far. It’s annoying,” she said. “They’re definitely termites. We’ve been plagued since the storm, but we’ve kept them out of the house so far.”

Mickki Hayes was not so lucky when she returned home on May 3rd “to find hundreds of them entering the house under the two back doors”.

She and her husband Larry Hayes “grabbed the bug spray and vacuum cleaner and massacred the pests” and then headed to the porch where the massacre continued.

Hayes said she knew what it was, but it seemed worse than she’s used to, believing a gust of wind led her to her porch, “where she decided to stay and try to find a place to go To find nests “.

Importance of recognizing a swarm

One of the most important things to understand is that spotting a swarm of termites is like spotting an iceberg – you only see a small part of the problem.

This picture shows dry rot and termite damage in an infested house.

According to Orkin, Florida’s termites are underground and work under the radar. By the time you see a swarm or tell-tale signs inside, such as sawdust or exit holes, damage has been done.

So it’s important to remember, Griswold said, if you see termites swarming near your home, you really should call a specialist. And if you find them in your home, or if you have any signs of it, you risk the value of your home if you do nothing.

Bryan Patterson of the Arrow Pest Service examines termite bait stations in a house in Shoreview.  Monday, May 10, 2021.

Because when a house is sold, a termite inspection is done and the banks don’t fund houses that are riddled with termites or the damage they cause. Support structures can be damaged, as can anyone’s desire to purchase them. Homeowner insurance also does not cover termite damage.

And that’s why professional termite treatment, annual inspections, and a termite loan are good bets to protect the investment that a home represents.

The consensus seems to be that termites wreak about $ 5 billion in damage each year in the U.S. – more than floods, fires, and hurricanes combined, according to laruepest.com/.

The underground termite Formosan, which is common in our region.

“Often times, when you’re all ready to sell it and you already have a termite loan, it’s an asset to the home,” Griswold said. “A termite bond is basically like our termite insurance policy and stays with the house when it is sold.”

Why do termites swarm?

When it comes to termites and swarming, honey bees are not dissimilar. It’s breeding season and when the conditions are right and the beehive is overcrowded, the queen wants some rest.

“These termites look for food underground, there is a colony there, and once a colony grows to a certain size they will head out to find a new place,” Griswold said. “They could come from a stump, they could come from your house, they could end up in your house.

“Getting your home treated is always a good idea, but if you see a crush and they come out of your house, you need to get it sorted out ASAP.”

The “termite season” lasts from around April to July, with the centerpiece falling in April and May if the conditions are right like this year.

What are you looking for?

Termites, such as wet, soaked, soft wood found in a rotting tree, stump, or exposed wood in a house that has been damaged so the elements can weaken it.

Holes, cracks, and anything that lets water past the perimeter of the home can create the environment a termite is looking for.

When you see something that could be an “exit hole” or sawdust on an inner baseboard or floor, you need to know that termites may be at work and also should know that it is not sawdust but “frass”, a fantasy Word for poop.

What happens next?

A termite inspector will examine the area the swarm was seen in, or if it isn’t a swarm, he’ll check the exterior of the house for termite activity. At Arrow, the inspection is free.

If there is accessibility under the house and in the attic, this will also be checked.

The two basic resources are liquid treatment or bait stations, the latter being much less intrusive, easier to maintain, highly effective, and in demand.

What is a bait station?

The bait station is now the solution for many pest control companies like Arrow because it works, is much less intrusive, doesn’t spray pesticides, and doesn’t have to disturb anything in the house.

“Baits are used to use small amounts of products like edible ‘smart missiles’ to kill populations of termites foraging in and around the home,” said the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (https: // entomology). ca.uky.edu/).

“Stations are placed in the ground around the house, they have a green cap, and in that station is the bait that the underground colony feeds on and you eliminate the colony,” Griswold said. “It’s always active, needs to be checked and replaced annually. If you keep this system near the house and there is termite activity, you will bring it back to the queen and the colony will be eliminated.”

For residents like Hayes who have fought a large crush, it’s good to know that relief isn’t that difficult.

“It was all pretty creepy and worrying,” she said.