Formosan Subterranean Termites
—AgCenter file photo

Early termite swarms not new to south Louisiana

BATON ROUGE — Many south Louisiana residents expect to see the first major termite swarm around Mother’s Day, but an LSU AgCenter expert says earlier swarms are not unusual.
Dennis Ring, AgCenter entomologist, said he has been receiving calls from homeowners concerned about seeing Formosan subterranean termites swarming.
“What you are seeing is termites in the process of forming new colonies,” Ring said. “If you see a few termites in your house, you shouldn’t worry too much.”
Termites have to have a water source. “If you’re not seeing mud tunnels, there is not much to worry about because they will die,” Ring said.
Formosan subterranean termites are believed to have entered the U.S. on ships returning after World War II.
“Pretty much every parish south of Alexandria has infestations of these termites,” Ring said. “Monroe is probably about the northernmost boundary for these pests because they are unable to survive the colder temperatures in areas north of there.”
Ring said native termites can start to swarm as early as January. Formosan termites usually show up in the spring and swarm through late summer.
“If you are seeing termites swarming at night, the best thing to do is to turn your outside lights off and the termites will leave,” Ring said.
Ring said residents who see termites swarming around their homes can avoid potential damage by having their structure treated.
“You should contact your LSU AgCenter agent to identify what type of termites you have, and then contact an exterminator to treat your structure,” Ring said.

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