The skies are staying brighter for longer, the hockey playoffs are slowly approaching, and you’re inexplicably feeling far less miserable than you did in January – it must be the faint hint of spring in the air.
But that increase in temperature will also come with spring showers, causing excess moisture, and the emergence of subterranean swarmer termites throughout Ontario.
How Subterranean Termites Operate
There are over 30 localized areas in Southern Ontario swarmed by subterranean termites, such as Toronto’s Lakeshore and Wellington areas.
They build mud tunnels in the ground that connect the nest (moisture) to the food source (wood). They’ll excavate wood until only a thin layer is left on the surface, leaving the inside hollow and cavernous. Once the wood breaks, they use a mixture of soil, feces, and saliva to cover the holes and construct the mud tubes. These determined little devils will even rebuild damaged tubes (they have the technology!).
The crafty buggers are capable of reaching sills and wood via cracks in a home’s foundation, or through other breaches in a property’s perimeter (ex. underneath the outside stucco).
While the presence of mud tubes provides definitive proof of an infestation, the absence of mud tubes doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of an infestation.
Subterranean termites construct four different tunnels:
- Working Tubes
- Constructed from nests in the soil to wooden structures
- May travel up concrete or stone foundations
- Migratory and Exploratory Tubes
- Arise from the soil
- Don’t connect to wood structures.
- Drop Tubes
- extend from wooden structures back to the soil.
Why Should You Worry About Swarmer Termites?
During the spring, termite colonies produce “swarmers” or “alates”. These winged adult termites resemble flying ants, and separate from the rest of colony. Swarmers are reproductive termites aiming to establish a new colony, and if you aren’t careful, a new colony could be established on your property.
Swarming is most frequent on warm days after rain, due to termites’ attraction to moisture and light sources. Finding even one swarmer termite inside your home is a likely sign of a full-blown termite infestation.
A Termite Infestation Inspection
When checking for termite infestations, you’ll require a flashlight and screwdriver. A complete inspection means locating exposed shelter tubes and damaged woods.
Probe wood with your screwdriver, and inspect the exterior and interior surfaces of your home’s foundation, particularly where wood is on, or near, soil. A common sign of subterranean swarmers is their discarded shed wings at ground level.
You’ll need to delve into the depths of basements and crawlspaces. Also, areas where concrete joins wooden structures (such as steps and porches) may be infested. Scrap wood, old tree stumps, and fence posts are other ideal harbourages for termites.
It’s all well and good to spot an infestation, but dealing with it on your own is an entirely different task – that’s a job best left to the professionals!
If you’ve stumbled across a subterranean termite infestation on your property, Terminix Canada provides environmentally friendly termite extermination services throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
If you need to get rid of a termite infestation in your home, or even a commercial building, contact us for a free consultation!