NEW ORLEANS -- With summer, the season of swarming termites returns and that, of course, means mating.
The termite activity is prompting phones to ring off the hook by customers calling-in the pros for help. One local expert confirmed one of the pesky termite families are causing more fumigation tents to go up.
"Its New Orleans, it’s the South,” said UNO Biologist Dr. Jerry Howard. “We're going to share this space with them, whether we want to or not. They're not going away and hopefully we're not going away.”
Year after year these tiny insects take flight into the night sky, the termite aerial mating dance striking fear in the minds of homeowners. This year the termites showed up a little early and Howard thinks he knows why.
“Although it’s been slightly cool for this time of year, we had a big rain event over the weekend as anyone who was at Jazz Fest knows, and the termites seem to sync their flights to big rain events,” said Dr. Howard.
The City of New Orleans confirms the first termite swarm of the season reared its ugly head on Monday night with the City historically seeing three big swarms every year.
The region is home to three types of termites. Native subterranean termites live in the dirt and are super destructive. Formosan subterranean termites imported here from Asia in lumber a long time ago and live in homes, and dry wood termites live in small colonies doing damage over a longer period of time if left undetected.
"Over the last 15-20 years since I've been in the industry the dry wood termite population has really exploded,” Darrin Blystad with Housecall Pest Control said.
Blystad added his company is having to put up more fumigation tents to kill dry wood termites. He said right now homeowners have to treat their homes every 10-15 years for the pests but he predicts that number will eventually drop to every 5 to 7 years as the dry wood termite grows.
“The population is naturally growing and we're building houses where the termites live, so this keeps on growing and growing,” added Blystad.
A happy population of termites clearly letting us know, tis the season to swarm.
There are ways to protect your home. The pros recommend checking your foundation periodically, making sure there's clearance between wood and the ground, and having a contract with a licensed pest control operator.