GULF COAST, Miss. (WLOX) - It can be a shocking site this time of year to see termites by the thousands swarming. Although they’re not native to South Mississippi, professionals told WLOX the Formosan termites are now expanding their territory further north and growing in numbers on the Coast.
Mississippi State entomology specialist Dr. Blake Layton is on the Coast this week studying the pesky unwanted guests.
“In the past, I have walked through a big swarm, and they are a nuisance just crawling in your clothes and in your hair,” said Layton.
The peak of the Formosan termite swarming season is happening a little later than normal. Redd Pest Solutions operations manager Ken Davis said people usually expect them around Mother’s Day, but cooler nights in recent weeks kept them at bay until now when the temperatures have started to warm up.
“The swarmers are just sitting there waiting for those environmental triggers to go off: the temperature, heat and humidity to say ‘hey it’s time to mate’,” Davis said.
Although no one wants to see bugs in their house, they could serve as a call to take action before a bigger problem comes up.
“If you’re lucky enough to have them swarm, that seems like a strange way to term it to have a luck swarm, but the swarmers are a warning sign that you have an issue,” said Davis.
During peak activity Layton said it's normal to see a few termites inside, but a lot of them means trouble.
“If you see large numbers of Formosan termites in your house, yes that means your house is invested with termites and needs to be professionally treated,” said Layton.
Regardless if you see the termites or not Layton recommends making sure your home has an updated termite treatment.
With the warm, humid weather conditions expected over the next few days, the experts don’t think we’ve seen the last of the swarmers.
“I would fully anticipate that we have a full week coming. I would be surprised if we didn’t have them every night this week and beyond,” Davis said.
Over the next few days the pest control professionals say it's a good idea to turn off your lights and make sure your doors and windows are closed after sunset to prevent the termites from flying in.
Mississippi State University is partnering with Redd Pest Solutions to create a termite technician training facility. Dr. Layton is working with Redd Pest Solutions to develop training techniques for the program.