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Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

NEWORLEANS-- They took over the metro area Wednesday night -- swarms of Formosan termites.

Anita Walker felt like she was under attack at her apartment complex near the lakefront.

'They were everywhere,' she said. 'Before I could even get my key in the door, they were all over my pants, my shirt, in my hair.'

Formosan swarms are nothing new here, but one expert says this was different.

'What happened last night was absolutely the worst swarm of Formosan termites I've seen since I've been in the business, which is 1958. It was huge,' said Ed Martin, an entomologist with Terminix.

Martin said it probably isn't over.

'The norm is gonna say within 72 hours, we're gonna get another swarm,' Martin said. 'As heavy as last night? That would be ridiculous. I don't think so, but there are some left. They all haven't left the nest.'

Swarming termites are young kings and queens leaving their colonies -- looking to start new ones.

While it's a bit scary and definitely nasty, Martin calls it an opportunity for property owners.

'It's the one time of year you can take advantage to see where they're coming from, because if they happen to be coming from your walls and you don't spot it, that means they're gonna keep eating your walls for another year, and they can do a lot of damage in a year. I mean a lot. They can take a whole 14 feet of wall out,' Martin said.

Simply put, the termites you see during a swarm have emerged from a colony somewhere. The important question is where?

If you see them inside your home, did they come in from outside, or were they with you all along?

A few may slip inside through doors or windows; which doesn't necessarily mean you have a problem, according to Martin.

However, if you notice them crawling in through light fixtures or from behind interior door frames, it may be time for an inspection.

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