It’s that time of year when many insects species enter their adult stage. For flying insects, and especially for those that fly only during their adult state, this is an especially mobile time.
Bees are quite visible when they swarm. And in case it should come up, please know that local beekeepers are happy to retrieve swarms from trees, fenceposts, front porches and the like. Call our office for a list of local beekeepers, and avoid destroying an important and productive form of livestock.
Another swarming insect that becomes visible in the month of May is the termite. You might remark on a songbird feeding frenzy going on in your neighborhood, while swallows and swifts swoop around catching insects. You might get this sinking feeling and hope that the termites aren’t coming up from nests at your house. Worse yet, swarming termites turn up indoors, in great numbers, and your problem is confirmed.
Sometimes I feel like “don’t panic” should be my middle name. I am often giving this advice because a science-based approach to insect control or tree care often points you to measures taken during another time of the year. In the case of termites indoors, all you can do is vacuum up the bodies and price out a treatment plan.
As with most other insects, the adult flying stage isn’t the optimal time for control measures. Among other considerations, the creatures are too mobile right now. You will want to get them where they live, which is in their nests, in the ground. The good news is that they work slowly.
Those who would control termites in a structure have generally two choices. They can treat the soil in the foundation area of the structure, which is done by an applicator certified for that work, or they can have bait stations installed. Each has its pros and cons.
- Pesticide applied to soil
- Contractor may need to enter structure
- Must be performed by a Certified Applicator
- Slower control
- Pesticide contained
- All work is outdoors
- Certified applicator or DIY products
There are also best practices for pre-treatment of the ground around a structure to be built. For this, and more on the pros and cons of available treatments, go online at extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/E-4.pdf
Finding pest control contractor
It always is reasonable to check credentials and insurance. Pest control contractors making termite applications will have Applicator Certification in Category 7b: Termite Control, with the Indiana Office of the State Chemist (OISC).
According to the OISC website, “This category includes individuals using or supervising the use of pesticides for the management of termites and other wood destroying organisms. Certification in this category also qualifies individuals to inspect structures for the purpose of determining the presence or absence of evidence of termites or other wood destroying organisms.”
You can ask to see this credential, or look it up online.
Using the website of the National Pest Management Association, npmapestworld.org, you can search for qualified operators by ZIP code, or by city and state.
You may have other ways of getting referrals and ratings; there are many.
It’s wise to avoid those who knock on your door, claiming to see evidence of an infestation, or those that try to rush you into a decision. And because Purdue University doesn’t endorse contractors, you can ignore any such claim.
Always get at least two quotes in writing: you will save at least the difference between the two quotes.
For more on how to find a reputable company, go online at extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/E-2/E-2.pdf
Although it’s great to see chimney swifts on a feeding frenzy in the month of May, here’s hoping they’re not feeding on your termites.