Pest Control/Termites

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Question
While standing outside today I noticed two winged insects kind of floating in the air. One landed on my shoulder and I got a close look at it. It is, without a doubt, a termite swarmer. The body appeared very small and black with grayish wings that were much longer than its body. I am familiar with termite swarms living in South Carolina, but I'm used to seeing large numbers. This was in the early afternoon, so I'm thinking it is a subterranean termite swarmer.

Since there were only two, how naive am I being to assume they were carried on the wind from a tree or other structure? I've walked the entire perimeter of the house. There are no visible mud tubes. I've tapped the door frames and window sills with a screwdriver and none of the wood appears to be compromised.

I'm not looking to be negligent, but I also don't want to spend money unnecessarily. Ideally, Id like to have a termite inspection and get a pest control contract within the next few years, but I have some more pressing financial matters to attend to first.  How much of an issue are a few flying termites outside and how much damage could be done if there were issues that weren't realized for a couple more years?

Thanks so much for any information.

Answer
Sherri,

Finding a few winged termites, or even many, is no reason for concern. Most will have come from a natural infestation. The best way to detect an infestation in a home is by annual inspections that you can do yourself or hire someone to do for you (see http://www.livingwithbugs.com/inspect.html). There's no reason to have regular pest control applications on a "calendar" bases, treat only when a problem is detected. Also, here are some articles about termites and termite control that might be useful: http://www.livingwithbugs.com/termite.html. Post a follow up if you have questions.

Jack DeAngelis

Pest Control

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.

Experience

I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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