Termite swarms

damage by termites to wooden cabinets attached to masonry wall.
Termite damage to wooden cabinets attached to an exterior wall. Termites used the expansion joint to reach the wood.

We are at the time of year where termite swarms will start showing up outdoors and possibly indoors.  Swarms outdoors are likely to occur not far from trees and stumps where the termite colony is feeding on dead roots and in the stumps.  For the most part, these swarms can be ignored but they’re a reminder to keep up with building maintenance issues that may create conditions suitable for termites.

If termites swarm indoors, they can be simply vacuumed up and discarded outdoors.  There is no need to spray them with a pesticide (and swarming termites are not an emergency and will not change the fact that you have a termite infestation.  It’s a good idea to check inside along walls (particularly along expansion joints for signs or termite tubes that may indicate an actual problem.  Inspections can be complicated because of floor and wall coverings including built-in cabinets which may hide termite activity.

Drilling slabs to inject insecticide into the soil beneath the building.
Drilling slabs to inject insecticide into the soil beneath the building adjacent to the expansion joint.

Treatments can be expensive because it may require drilling a slab in order to treat termites that are coming up through an expansion joint.  Treating the building exterior may help, but it does not guarantee that you’re controlling the problem.  Another option (although potentially more expensive) is the the use of a termite baiting system installed along the building’s exterior and possibly using “aboveground stations” inside to attack the termite colony more quickly.  Regardless with both of these choices,  termites are not going to cause significant damage in a few weeks (or a month or more).  So, treatment can easily be delayed to weekend or even until a school holidays for when the school is closed (or at this point, even the end of the school year would not be unreasonable) .

We have some relevant information mostly targeting residential settings but does provide valuable information about termites in general.