Beware: Termites Swarm After Rains in Northern California

SOS Pest Control & Termite

Termites Begin Swarming After Rainfall

SOS Pest Control & TermiteDid you know that termites start to swarm on a warm day after a rainfall? This is when termite colonies produce winged male and females in order to relocate and reproduce. After mating in flight, winged termites land and shed their wings, lay their eggs and form new colonies. Termites are not very good fliers, so generally they rely on wind to help then travel.

Because of this, termite swarms don’t last very long, and are often found close to their original nest. That means if you see a fumigation tent on a house in your neighborhood, you need to get a termite inspection done on your house ASAP!

Call SOS Pest Control today for a free, no-obligation estimate
on inspections and/or professional treatments: (408) 866-6609

SOS Pest Control & Termite

Flying termites swarming.
Photo by Ganesh Subramaniam – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, Link


  • There are 50 different species of termites in North America (compared to only 10 in Europe). While Asia has 435, Africa – by far – has the most species with over 1,000 different types of termites…yikes!
  • The queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world, with some queens living up to 50 years.

See Facts below.

Termites cause severe economic loss to homeowners in Northern California, particularly in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Fresno and Monterey

How To Spot Termites

Each year termites cause significant damage to in Northern California that end up costing homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to treat infestations and repair termite damage. Spotting termites for homeowners can be very difficult and costly if they’re not discovered early. Termites move in underground nests and eat wood that are inside the walls. But there are ways to detect their presence.

Here are some tips that can help you spot termites in your home:

  • Look for damaged wood – If possible, cut away a piece of wood in an area you suspect termites have infested. There are two types of termite damage to look for:
    • Subterranean termites eat soft wood and munch along the grain which produces a honeycomb-like pattern in the wood. It’s very important to stop these types of termites as soon as they are discovered as they cause considerable damage to homes, decks, fences and even utility poles. These types of termite colonies can be in the millions of termites.
    • Dry wood termites excavate bigger sections of wood by munching along and against the grain. While these types of termite colonies are typically only in the thousands (and that takes years to get that large), you still want to eradicate them soon after discovering them in your home.
  • Listen for clues – Tap sections of wood with a large screwdriver handle. If you hear hollow sounds, the wood may have already been damaged by a wood-boring termite. You can also hold a stethoscope or similar device against walls in your home. You may not be able to hear termites, but carpenter ants make soft scurrying sounds while they move about their chambers.
  • Call an expert! – If you suspect termites have infested your home, but can’t be sure, call an expert (like us!) to inspect your home thoroughly for evidence of termites. That act alone could save you thousands of dollars in potential construction repair and more, possibly causing you and your family to be displaced while repairs and/or services are performed to eradicate the termites and make your home whole again.

Call SOS Pest Control today for a free, no-obligation estimate: (408) 866-6609

Pest Facts: Termites

Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea. They were once classified in a separate order from cockroaches, but recent phylogenetic studies indicate that they evolved from close ancestors of cockroaches during the Jurassic or Triassic. However, the first termites possibly emerged during the Permian or even the Carboniferous. About 3,106 species are currently described, with a few hundred more left to be described. Although these insects are often called white ants, they are not ants.

Like ants and some bees and wasps from the separate order Hymenoptera, they divide labour among castes consisting of sterile male and female “workers” and “soldiers”. All colonies have fertile males called “kings” and one or more fertile females called “queens”. These pests mostly feed on dead plant material and cellulose, generally in the form of wood, leaf litter, soil, or animal dung. They are major detritivores, particularly in the subtropical and tropical regions, and their recycling of wood and plant matter is of considerable ecological importance.

They are among the most successful groups of insects on Earth, colonising most landmasses except for Antarctica. Their colonies range in size from a few hundred individuals to enormous societies with several million individuals. The queens have the longest lifespan of any insect in the world, with some queens living up to 50 years. Unlike ants, which undergo a complete metamorphosis, each individual termite goes through an incomplete metamorphosis that proceeds through egg, nymph, and adult stages. Colonies are described as superorganisms because the termites form part of a self-regulating entity: the colony itself.

They are consumed by a wide variety of predators. One species alone, Hodotermes mossambicus, was found in the stomach contents of 65 birds and 19 mammals. Arthropods and reptiles such as bees, centipedes, cockroaches, crickets, dragonflies, frogs, lizards, scorpions, spiders, and toads consume these insects, while two spiders in the family Ammoxenidae are specialist termite predators. Other predators include aardvarks, aardwolves, anteaters, bats, bears, bilbies, many birds, echidnas, foxes, galagos, numbats, mice and pangolins. The aardwolf is an insectivorous mammal that primarily feeds on termites; it locates its food by sound and also by detecting the scent secreted by the soldiers; a single aardwolf is capable of consuming thousands of termites in a single night by using its long, sticky tongue. Sloth bears break open mounds to consume the nestmates, while chimpanzees have developed tools to “fish” them from their nest. Wear pattern analysis of bone tools used by the early hominin Paranthropus robustus suggests that they used these tools to dig into termite mounds.

Among all predators, ants are their greatest enemy.

Source: Wikipedia

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