Home & Family
Termites and Ants Are Active in the Spring
3/1/2013 9:44:27 AM

Spring cleaning often reveals evidence of pests inside the home, so homeowners are usually more aware of problems than they may have been during the winter months.

"Termites begin swarming in our area during the spring. Some neighborhoods may see activity beginning in March. They’ll continue in different areas through April and May,” explained Robert Soileau, manager of the Lake Charles office of J&J Exterminating.

There are several types of termites; some are more destructive than others. Using a well-qualified pest control service is key in keeping pests at bay. "The two most common types of termites in Southwest Louisiana are Formosan, which swarm at dusk, and native which swarm during the day. You may notice the Formosan termites near street lights or porch lights. Because they’re attracted to light, they’ll enter your home through the smallest of cracks around windows and doors. Most people don’t notice native termites swarming as much because it’s during the day and people are usually at work or not outdoors,” he said.

Soileau says these swarms can cause concern. "When you hear that termites are swarming in your neighborhood, or you see them, most homeowners are worried and rightfully so. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your property is infested or that your home is in danger. Termites live in the ground. Our job is to keep them there, away from your home.”

Ants of various types often surface in the spring. The carpenter ant can cause damage to a home by tunneling through wood to build its nest. They often begin in areas where the wood is decayed before attacking undamaged wood.

Known to eat most anything, including fruits, meats and cheeses, ants can often contaminate foods found in the pantry or cabinets.

"The most common type of ant in Southwest Louisiana is the fire ant,” Soileau said, "but another type of ant that we’re seeing more of is the raspberry crazy ant. This type gets more active as the weather warms. They travel in large numbers, it almost looks as if the ground is moving,” he explained.

They are attracted to electrical equipment, including air conditioning units, and can cause a lot of damage. These ants can swarm by the hundreds of thousands in search of food. "When they’re in this electrical equipment, they can get electrocuted, which causes them to produce a pheromone that attracts other ants, leading to an overwhelming number of ants which shuts down the electrical system. These ants will also enter the home in search of food, primarily sugary foods, and water,” Soileau said.

"Ants usually enter buildings and homes through cracks around doors and windows,” said Soileau. "They’ll build colonies within the walls, in woodwork and insulation.”

To deter ants and termites, and virtually any pest, Soileau gave these tips:

  • Keep tree branches and shrubs cut back from the house.

  • Seal cracks and holes near doors and windows.

  • Keep pet food and water dishes clean and remove any spilled food. If you find ants to be a problem near your pet’s food, you may need to have specific times the food bowl is available for the pet, then remove it and clean it.

  • Eliminate standing water or moisture near your home.

  • Keep food sealed in containers and dispose of garbage regularly.

Posted by: Christine Fisher | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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