Swarm Bulletin Termite Swarm Season in the Lowcountry

It is swarm season in the Lowcountry. This week Formosan Termite Swarmers came out with a vengeance. Are you prepared? Subterranean termite swarms occur every spring as a natural part of the termite life cycle.

Eastern Subterranean Termites swarm in late March through early May and the Formosan Subterranean Termites swarm in late May through June. Locals consider termite swarms part of the “charm” of living in the Lowcountry, but many residents not originally from our area are not familiar with this event. Many people mistake the “hovering clouds of termite swarmers” for other flying insects or as ants after they drop their wings.

Termites Swarm Bulletin Termite Swarm Season in the Lowcountry

The Formosan Subterranean Termites originally brought over on ships from China established themselves in Charleston in the mid 1950s. Now after 50 years the Formosan is the dominant subterranean termite in the Lowcountry and is the most common swarmer found in homes. Mature Formosan Termite Colonies produce swarmers that fly out of colonies by the thousands. One colony can produce 70,000+ swarmers in any given evening flying toward lights in and around homes with many crawling inside after dropping their wings.

Termite swarmers have no biting or chewing mouthparts and do not cause any damage to your home. Their goal is to start a new colony around your home, which may eventually infest your home and cause damage. If you find swarmers in your home, do not panic. However, you should collect some of the swarmers in a bag or jar and immediately call a licensed and trained expert with experience in handling Formosan infestations to inspect the swarmers you collected, to inspect your property and also to verify the source of the swarmers. The source is one of the following: 1) Significant termite activity close to your home, including tree infestations. Formosan termites have been identified as infesting at least 17 different tree species; or 2) An infestation in your home.

Historically, greater than 95% of the termite swarmers we find inside homes originate from outside of the home and not from an infestation in the home. However, this should not make you feel secure or take swarmers lightly. Every swarm sighting must be investigated! It is not “if” but “when” you will have an infestation in the Lowcountry. In fact, you could have a hidden infestation in your home doing damage for several years before it is discovered.

Formosan termites have the ability to cause thousands of dollars in damage in just a few months and Homeowners’ Insurance does not cover termite damage. This is not a risk a homeowner can afford to take.  It is possible the Formosan termite is causing as much as 75 to 100 million dollars in damage to structures in the Lowcountry each year.  On average this is more than storms and fires combined. Keep your home protected by a reputable termite company that has experience with and covers Formosan Termites. Stay aware this Formosan swarm season. Please check us out at PalmettoExterminators.net, on Facebook, on YouTube, and on our Blog for more information on this subject and all things bugs.

Bert Snyder, Graduate Entomologist

Bert the Bug Man”

Palmetto Exterminators, Inc.



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