termite swarm outside nc home

What termites are active in North Carolina?

Active in North Carolina, the Eastern subterranean termite is a beneficial insect, when it’s in its natural environment.  Tasked with breaking down cellulose-containing materials and converting them to usable nutrients that can be recycled to the soil, termites play an important role in the ecosystem.  Unfortunately, when they move into structures and start attacking the wood elements they become a serious and potentially expensive problem.  Subterranean termites live in large colonies underground. Every member of the colony belongs to a caste and their job or role depends upon which caste they’re part of. 

 

Termite Workers

termite workers on a rotten log

The largest group in a termite colony, termite workers have soft, creamy-white bodies.  They are blind, wingless, and are the ones you’re most likely to see in the soil around your foundation or inside feeding on your structure.  Their main objective is to gather food for themselves and the entire colony.  Outside that means dead or decaying trees, rotting leaves and other living plant material.  Inside, they attack wallboards, structural beams, trim, and other items made from wood.

Termite Soldiers

termite soldier on infested wood

Larger than termite workers, soldiers have elongated yellow heads, large strong jaws, and very short legs.  Their mission, like every good soldier, is to defend.  Because they are constantly safeguarding the colony, termite soldiers do not have time to forage for food; they rely on the termite workers to feed them. 

Reproductive Members AKA Termite Swarmers

termite swarmers on a cement floor

The reproductive members (kings and queens) of the colony are the largest members and are dark-brown to black in color.  Unlike the others, reproductive have wings.  Their wings allow them to swarm from a mature colony in order to find a mate and start a new termite colony.   Shortly after a termite swarm, their wings will break off.  In many cases, witnessing a termite swarm coming from your walls or finding broken wings on the floor are the only indication of a termite problem you visibly see.

How do you tell the difference between swarming termites and flying ants?

Termite swarmers and flying or winged ants are often confused with each other; but there are some differences between the species that allow people to tell the difference between the two.

Winged termites vs. winged ants:

  • Termites have straight antennae, while ants have bent, elbowed antennae.
  • Termites have thicker waists, and have pinched waists.
  • Termites have two pairs of equal-length wings.  Ants have front wings that are longer than their hind wings.

If you’ve discovered winged insects in or around your home, church or business and are not sure what they are, contact A-1 Pest Control.  Our technicians are extremely knowledgeable on the pests in North Carolina, can help you identify the pest, and recommend a treatment plan that gets rid of them!

Are termites dangerous?

Termites do not pose a threat to human health.  They don’t bite and they don’t sting.  They are not known to spread disease.  They are dangerous to structures and can cause unnecessary stress for property owners.  Termite damage is not easily noticeable, until an infestation becomes significant.  These pests feed away on the wood from the inside out- often times, the outer layer will look intact but the inside will be riddled with tunnels.  Unfortunately, termite damage can be quite costly to repair and homeowners’ insurance policies don’t typically cover the expense.  That’s because, termites are considered preventable. 

How do termites damage homes and structures?

Termite enter structures while foraging for food.  When they discover water damaged wood, insulation, wallpaper, and other building materials that are made of cellulose, they’ll start attacking.  Unlike carpenter ants that only nest in wood, termites actually consume the material.   Left un-treated, their feeding activity will weaken the structural integrity of the infested structure as well as cause warping and buckling wood, swollen floors and ceilings, and blistering paint, and more.

What are the signs of termites?

Termites do all of the damage to the inside of wood and are rarely seen so detecting an infestation can be difficult. Some common signs of a termite problem include:

  • Mud tubes - Termites travel from their underground colonies to food sources inside mud tubes that are about the width of a pencil.  They’re often found on the foundation and elsewhere around or inside a structure.
  • Termite swarms – if you see a termite infestation outside, there’s a colony on your property or somewhere nearby.  A termite swarm inside your structure means there is an active termite infestation. 
  • Wings – Piles of wings along window sills, porches or outside are an indication of termite activity inside or nearby.
  • Damaged wood- See above for more information about termite damage.

How do you get rid of termites?

For best results, partner with a pest control company that specializes in termite control.  At A-1 Pest Control, we provide comprehensive solutions including termite baiting and liquid termite treatments.  When you contact us for help, we’ll inspect your structure and property thoroughly and recommend a treatment option based on our findings.  Visit our termite control page to learn more about our services or contact us today to schedule your free termite inspection!

How do you prevent a termite infestation?

The best way to help prevent a termite infestation is correct conditions that attract termites to your home or business.  Here are a few ways you can prevent termite activity:

  • Limit soil to wood contact around the exterior of the structure
  • Make sure gutters are working properly to direct water away from the structure
  • Reduce moisture levels inside
  • Fix leaking pipes and fixtures
  • Replace wood that has been damaged by water
  • Clear away leaves, sticks, fallen trees, and other debris.

Helpful Termite Articles

What Termite Damage Looks Like In North Carolina Homes

Why Nothing Beats Sentricon For Termite Defense

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A-1 Pest Control Blog

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    [content] => <p>Due to their size, ants are often overlooked as nothing more than a common nuisance. But have you ever wondered how ants work? How do these colonies function together? How do they communicate? And why do they seem to be basically everywhere? In this article, we answer all those questions and more!</p>
<h3>How Ants Communicate</h3>
<p><img alt="Two ants communicating via antennae " height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/CSIRO_ScienceImage_3225_Meat_ant_Iridomyrmex_purpureus_Formicidae.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>One of the aspects of ants that is most discussed is their ability to communicate. How do these insects work together with such coordination? Do they speak in tiny voices that we just can&rsquo;t hear? Well, no, not exactly. Ants can &ldquo;talk&rdquo; to one another using chemical pheromones that are picked up by other ants in their colony to communicate messages related to getting food or even coordinating attacks. They also sometimes use touch and even vibrations to communicate, but for the most part ant language is all done through specific chemicals. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>How Ants Build Colonies &nbsp;</h3>
<p><img alt="Ants building their colony in an old piece of wood " height="413" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/insect-56815_640.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>Ants seem capable of settling down basically anywhere; just a casual walk down the street and there&rsquo;s a decent chance you&rsquo;ll see a little mound of soil in the cracks of a sidewalk that signals &ldquo;Ant colony here!&rdquo;. This speaks to their diverse colony building skills. Some will build mounds of soil, some will burrow underground, and some will even live in rotting wood or just hang out under a rock. Ants decide on where and how they&rsquo;ll build their colonies based on what can provide the best environment for their larvae to grow, and once they&rsquo;ve settled, they build complexly constructed colonies. These colonies consist of a complex series of tunnels and chambers where they can safely store food, eggs, and even their young. Some ant colonies even have ventilation systems to circulate fresh air! This time-lapse video does a good job illustrating what the construction of an ant colony looks like, from start to finish: &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cME_aMVUEVU" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p>
<h3>Ants Have Jobs</h3>
<p><img alt="Line of ants carrying vegetation back to their colony " height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/88778965_1c730a5c49_c.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>No, it&rsquo;s not exactly your regular 9-5, but every ant in a colony has an essential role to play in perpetuating the existence of their colony. The Queen naturally spends most of her life laying eggs, but labor aside from the queen is largely determined by age. For example, younger worker ants spend most of their time indoors, taking care of the queen and her offspring, while older worker ants will venture out to gather food and defend the colony against potential threats. Interestingly, ants actually have some choice when it comes to the jobs they do: <a href="https://askabiologist.asu.edu/explore/secrets-superorganism">according to Arizona State University</a>, workers, &ldquo;decide which tasks to perform based on personal preferences, interactions with nestmates, and cues from the environment.&rdquo;</p>
<h3>Ants Work Together &nbsp;</h3>
<p><img alt="Ants working together to build a crossable ant bridge" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-AntBridge_Crossing_04.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>Naturally, any species that exists on such a communal level is going to be one that engages in a lot of teamwork, and ants are no exception. Ants are capable of processing information to solve problems as a group; in other words, they weigh options together and make decisions together, like the best place to build their colony. Ants also work as a group when defending their homes, teaming up and attacking any creature (including even mammals!) that they consider a threat. Ants will also work together to farm, collecting vegetation that they use to grow fungus gardens. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Of course, there is a darker side to these collaborative efforts: ants will also work together to wage wars against other ant colonies that are intruding on the territory that they have established as their own. Here&rsquo;s an example of what those wars can look like: &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X5YaihAtnC4" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><br>&nbsp;<br>Can&rsquo;t get enough of ants? Check out our <a href="/pest-library/profile/ants">ant Pest ID page</a> to learn all the different types of ants that are common in North Carolina.&nbsp;</p>
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Ants, Explained

Due to their size, ants are often overlooked as nothing more than a common nuisance. But have you ever wondered how ants work? How do these colonies function together? How do they communicate? And why…

Read More

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    [content] => <p>Late winter in North Carolina is a great time, with the warming weather giving us an opportunity to spend more time outdoors catching some rays. It also marks something significantly less great: the beginning of termite swarming season. So, what does termite swarming season mean for you?</p>
<h3>When Do Termites Swarm?</h3>
<p>We&rsquo;ve established that termite swarming season begins around late winter, but there are more specific conditions within that initial time frame that can trigger termite swarming. For starters, let&rsquo;s <a href="https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/termites-biology-and-control">elaborate on that timeline</a> a little bit more: termite swarming season starts in late winter, but lasts all the way through around September or October. So basically, we&rsquo;re talking about a swarming season that lasts anywhere from 5-6 months. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>More specifically, termites swarm almost always during the day, and tend to be more active after rainfall on especially warm days. Indoor swarming is usually an indication that you already have a termite infestation; if you&rsquo;re experiencing an indoor termite swarm in your house, contact a <a href="/termite-control">professional termite control company</a> immediately.</p>
<h3>Identifying Termite Swarmers &nbsp;</h3>
<p>Termite swarmers (AKA flying termites) are themselves a specific type of termite that is produced by the colony with the specific purpose of reproduction. These termites swarm to find partners and start their own termite colony. They look like this: &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><img alt="Termite swarmer close up" height="356" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/640px-Flying_Termite.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;<br>And here&rsquo;s an example of what a termite swarm looks like: &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hka7Ei2rIlM" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>If you&rsquo;re encountering termite swarmers either in your home or out in your yard, there&rsquo;s a significant chance that you have a termite colony living in your yard, or possibly even inside of your home -- both causes for concern. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>Does a Swarm of Termites Spell Danger?</h3>
<p><img alt="Flying termites perched on blades of grass" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/36999242586_26dde4b5dc_c-1.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>While termite swarmers themselves are not the wood-eating members of the termite colony, they can act as a great warning indicator for us humans of a dangerous termite presence. Considering the serious damage capability of a colony of termites to both structures and outdoor wood, witnessing a swarm of flying termites inside or around your home is cause for concern. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>If I kill the insect swarmers is the problem solved? &nbsp;</h3>
<p><img alt="Large pile of termite wings" height="413" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/Termite-feathers-35867-pixahive-768x576.jpg" width="550"></p>
<p>Unfortunately, even though the flying termites are the visual indication of the problem, simply killing termite swarmers that you see is not the solution to a termite problem. Termite workers are the ones that cause the real damage, chewing through wood and causing damage, and these workers act almost invisibly inside of structures themselves. Termite infestations can go on for months and years without being identified because of the secretive nature of these termite workers, allowing colonies to grow and cause even more long-term damage. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>What To Do if you See Swarming Termites</h3>
<p>Taking on a termite presence is not a battle that you want to fight alone. A-1 Pest Control provides <a href="/termite-control">termite solutions</a> that can eliminate an existing termite problem, as well as protective and preventive Sentricon and Termidor services that help reinforce your home for any future termite threat. Just <a href="/contact-us#schedule">reach out to us</a> and we&rsquo;ll answer any questions that you may have and get you on the path to a termite-free home!&nbsp;</p>
    [postTitle] => It’s Termite Swarming Season! Here’s What You Need to Know 
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Late winter in North Carolina is a great time, with the warming weather giving us an opportunity to spend more time outdoors catching some rays. It also marks something significantly less great: the…

Read More

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    [content] => <p><a href="/pest-library/profile/termites">Termites</a> are one of the absolute worst pest infestations that you can deal with, especially if you don&rsquo;t get it taken care of in a timely manner. The potential for a serious termite problem can cause a lot of stress and anxiety, which is why it makes a lot of sense that it&rsquo;s extremely common for people to be a bit on edge when they think they have termites. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>While it&rsquo;s good to be on the lookout, this fear of termites can cause a lot of people to misidentify a bug as a termite. But don&rsquo;t panic! We&rsquo;re going to point to some of the common identification mistakes that people make, and show you how to tell the difference between an actual termite and a bug that just sort of looks like a termite. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>&nbsp;<br>Termite Vs. Carpenter Ants &nbsp;</h3>
<p>&nbsp;<br>It&rsquo;s pretty simple to mix up termites and <a href="/pest-library/profile/carpenter-ants">carpenter ants</a>: they&rsquo;re both small, winged insects, and they both cause wood damage. The important distinction between the two behaviorally is that termites can cause a whole lot more damage than a carpenter ant can. To tell the difference between the two, let&rsquo;s first take a look at each of them. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Here we have a termite: &nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Winged termite" height="303" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/Winged_Termite__Alate_Macrotermes_mossambicus___11691023983-min.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>And here we have a carpenter ant: &nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Winged carpenter ant " height="430" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/18754341506_9536640a1a_b.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br><strong>What are the main differences between the two? </strong>&nbsp;</p>
<ul>
<li>Termites are broad-waisted, while carpenter ants are narrow-waisted.</li>
<li>Termites have straight antennae, while carpenter ants have bowed antennae. &nbsp;</li>
<li>Termites have 2 sets of equal-sized wings, while carpenter ants have one set of large wings and one set of small wings. &nbsp;</li>
<li>Termites are typically only visible in a swarm, while carpenter ants are a bit larger and usually more visible. &nbsp;</li>
</ul>
<h3>&nbsp;<br>Termites vs. Citronella Ants&nbsp;</h3>
<p>&nbsp;<br>Citronella <a href="/pest-library/profile/ants">ants</a> and termites are a very similar color, a sort of reddish-brown. Let&rsquo;s instead focus on the differences, this time without wings. Here&rsquo;s a photo of a group of termites: &nbsp;</p>
<p><img alt="Group of termites, one of them winged" height="367" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/35303727436_c4757e4f12_b.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>Here&rsquo;s a group of citronella ants: &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;<br>&nbsp; <img alt="Group of citronella ants" height="366" src="https://bcms-files.s3.amazonaws.com/Rv4pXBZmdK-1114/images/Citronella_Ants_-_Lasius_umbratus_Green_Ridge_State_Forest_Flintstone_Maryland.jpg" width="550"><br>&nbsp;<br>They look pretty similar, right? The main differences to note come down to those distinct shapes we talked about earlier: &nbsp;</p>
<ul>
<li>Citronella ants have narrower waists than termites. &nbsp;</li>
<li>Citronella ants also have distinctly larger abdomens than termites do.</li>
<li>Note again those antennae: the termites have straight antennae, while citronella ants have those slightly bent antennae.&nbsp;</li>
</ul>
<p>&nbsp;<br>These are two of the most common examples of termite misidentification! Keep in mind that if you are worried you have a termite problem, try to get a good look at the insect you&rsquo;re looking at, and try to note body shape or antennae characteristics to make a determination. Also remember that you will usually only see a termite in a swarm and that a solitary termite crawling around is relatively rare. &nbsp;</p>
<h3>&nbsp;<br>Having termite or ant problems?&nbsp;&nbsp;</h3>
<p>&nbsp;<br>A-1 Pest Control can help! If you&rsquo;re in need of <a href="/termite-control">termite control</a> or <a href="/home-pest-control">ant control</a> of any kind, we have the expertise to properly treat the problem -- or even prevent it from ever happening. Just <a href="/contact-us#schedule">get in touch with us for a free estimate</a>.&nbsp;</p>
    [postTitle] => Bugs That Get Mistaken for Termites
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Termites are one of the absolute worst pest infestations that you can deal with, especially if you don’t get it taken care of in a timely manner. The potential for a serious termite problem can…

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