Many Americans know that termites infest a massive number of homes and buildings within the state of Louisiana, but many people living outside of the state are not aware of how much of a nuisance termite swarms can be within the state. There exists several termite pest species in Louisiana, most of which swarm during the spring and summer season, but some species swarm during the fall, and due to the state’s mild winter climate, termite swarms can occur all year round. Even during unusually cold winters in the state, termite swarms can emerge from heated homes and buildings where their colonies are active.
Witnessing a termite swarm within or near a home is troubling, as such swarms indicate a termite colony’s presence on a property, and massive swarms can also occur in populated urban areas where residents can find themselves in the thick of thousands of swarmers (alates). Formosan subterranean termites, which are highly abundant in Louisiana, are known to swarm in particularly large masses, and they are often described as looking like a large black cloud that can partially block sunshine.
This year, numerous Formosan termite swarms have occured since May 2nd in Louisiana, and the size and frequency of these swarms have been described as “overwhelming” by residents, but entomologists and pest control professionals in the state claim that there is nothing out of the ordinary about this year’s swarms.
Formosan subterranean termites typically begin swarming during early May in Louisiana, but this year’s high temperatures may be making these swarms more frequent than usual. May sees the largest Formosan termite swarms, and these swarms typically recur every eight to ten days until the end of the Formosan swarming season during mid to late June. Formosan swarms generally occur during dusk on windless and cloudy days. In many cases, swarms occur following bouts of rain, and the winged alates can travel as far as 300 feet from the nesting sites where they emerge. Unlike many termite species, Formosan swarmers gravitate toward artificial light sources in urban and residential areas, so keeping outdoor lights off during the dusk hours during May and June can help prevent swarmers from gravitating near your home.
Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm within a public building or business?