When is Termite Season?

What Time of Year Do Termites Appear and for How Long?

Many people think prime termite season is when termites appear in swarms. However, termites that have infested a house can cause damage at any time, regardless of the weather or presence of warning signs like swarms.

Spring is the swarming season for most subterranean termites.

Most species of subterranean termites swarm during the spring and summer months, typically on a warm day with calm winds after a rainfall. Drywood termites and one particular species of subterranean termite (R. hageni) typically swarm during the late summer or fall months, from August through November.

There are several subterranean termite species and they don't all swarm at the same time. (On the other hand, dampwood and drywood termites typically swarm in the summer.) Species generally swarm based on favorable weather conditions. Varying conditions may mean that swarms will occur at different times. For example, some species prefer more moisture than others. Separation in swarm timing may be a matter of a few weeks, or time of day.

Springtime Flowers and Termite Swarms

Swarms can be loosely linked to the blooming of certain trees. For example, one of the Eastern subterranean species typically swarms when the dogwood tree buds swell and the flowers first appear. The swarming of a closely related species was once linked to the blooming of chestnut trees, but a blight killed most of those trees, so we have to find another marker.

Picture of swarm of subterranean termites

Swarm of subterranean termites

Since most species of subterranean termites swarm in the spring and summer (and subterranean termite swarms are much bigger than drywood swarms), this time frame is when homeowners are more likely to notice signs of an infestation.

During summer, the activity inside a subterranean termite colony begins to settle down to the events of foraging and eating. Past is most of the frantic activity associated with releasing the swarmers – selecting the right days (after a rain, limited wind and optimal humidity), the best time of day, how many to “launch” at a time, and how many launches will be needed to get them all out.

Termite Activity During Summer Months

Finished are the days (and nights) of soaking springtime rain. This moisture created all sorts of problems inside the colony, especially if parts of the colony were flooded. Seasonal conditions resulted in the death of many workers, and now the workforce is smaller. But the secondary queens kick in with plenty of egg production and the number of workers increases. The weather is also more predictable. The upper layer of soil is warm and moist, and there is plenty of food to be found.

Seasonal Termite Activity During the Fall

Flight times for species vary based on favorable weather conditions, which means that not all termite reproductives swarm at the same time.

In the eastern United States, the major species typically swarm about a month apart, with Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes falvipes) going first in April, followed by dark Southern subterranean termites (R. virginicus) in May.

There is one termite species, light Southern subterranean termites (R. hageni), which prefers quite different weather conditions, opting to swarm in the fall. Swarms of this species may extend from August (cities along the eastern seaboard) to November (in the Deep South). The winged adults in this species are slightly smaller and pale brown, and often swarm during the same time of day as the spring swarmers (late morning). This species' size and color often gets it confused with ants that swarm at the same time of year.

How to Prevent Termite Infestation

Termite prevention methods typically involve a two-part process: treatment of known termite colonies and preventing termites from accessing your home. If you’re wondering how to control termites at home, following a few simple practices is a great way to start. While seeking the help of an Orkin Pro is the most effective course of action, here are a few steps you can take to help prevent termites:

  • Have a qualified expert conduct annual termite inspections

  • Work with your Orkin Pro to address conditions around your property that may attract termite activity

  • Determine which preventative termite control methods and treatments would be most effective based on your property’s construction and any signs of termite activity

  • Remove access points, such as seal gaps around water and gas lines

  • Reduce wood-to-ground contact

  • Eliminate food sources by discarding extra cellulose materials around your house and replacing with cellulose-free alternatives

  • Address moisture problems in your basement or crawlspace and reduce excess moisture around your property

Since every property is unique, it’s best to consult an Orkin Pro for the most effective termite treatment plan. Trained to help with termite prevention and management, your Orkin Pro will design a unique treatment program for your situation. Through simple, strategic measures, Orkin can provide the perfect solution to keep these destructive insects out of your home.

To learn more about how to prevent termites, contact your nearest Orkin branch.

More Information

Termites in Winter

Learn how termites find shelter in your home during the winter and what they need to survive.

When does termite season start?

Explore what factors contribute to when termites are most active in your location and what damage they can create any time of year.

How often should you redo termite treatment?

Several factors, including the type of termite treatment and environment, all have an impact on how often homeowners should retreat a structure for termites.

Do wood fences & patio covers keep termites away?

Learn more about termite feeding and whether wooden objects like fences and patio covers can attract termites.

Can a vapor barrier help prevent termites?

Installing a vapor barrier in your crawl space can help reduce moisture, but will not keep termites away.

Think you might have termites in your home? Schedule an appointment to get a free termite inspection.

Help protect your home throughout the year with seasonal pest control solutions.

Resources

Dig Deeper on Termites

Do Ants Kill Termites? | Termite Control Options

How to Naturally Get Rid of Termites | Termite Removal

Can Rain Stimulate Termite Activity? | Termite Facts

When are Termites Most Active? | Termite Control

Subterranean and Above-Ground Termite Nest Facts

Types of Termite Treatments

Can Termites Swarm After Treatment? | Termite Facts

What is a Termite Queen? | Role of Termite Queen

What is a Reproductive Termite? | Termite Colony Structure

Termite Risk and Damage | Can Termite Damage Be Fixed? Termite Control

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