NEW ORLEANS — The swarms have started. Termites are making themselves known for their annual stay. The most recent termite swarm in New Orleans was Sunday night.
"When we see the swarming we all go 'oh, here they come,' it's an invasion," said Kristine Anderson who moved to the French Quarter seven years ago.
"We found pockets of termites here and there," she said.
This time of year, she and Entomologist Joe Martin with Terminix recommend keeping an eye out.
"We have one of the worst termite problems in the world," Martin said about New Orleans.
According to Martin, this year the swarms are coming slightly earlier than their typical Mother's Day appearance.
"If you see hundreds and hundreds in the house, there may be a problem," Martin said.
Hundreds or thousands inside your home could mean you have a colony in your walls. Swarmers are reproductive termites looking to migrate from the current colony they are in and start a new one. If you see 30 or so termites in your home, they're likely swarmers from outside -- just make sure you aren't offering a water source for them to start a new colony.
"Gutters, leaking ice maker, leaking roof," are a few things that could attract the termites to make colonies.
If you are experiencing swarmers within your home, other than a fly swatter, J&J Exterminating recommends staying away from using any bug spray or any pesticide. The best bet is to let a qualified termite inspector come out and look at the situation and make a recommendation on what is discovered upon inspection.
Martin recommends getting a liquid barrier treatment at least every 10 years and checking your homes now -- while you can.
"Take a walk around your home. See if you see a shelter tube, are termites coming from a tree stub next to your yard," Martin said.
In the French Quarter, homes are especially susceptible to problems with termites. It's where the Formosan termites came in during World War II, so there's a heavy population there. Plus, shared walls help the termites spread from one house to the other.
"Smuggled themselves onto a ship," Anderson laughed.
That's why she has professionals check her home regularly.
"They come and spray and then I'm worry free for a little while," Anderson said.
Termite season typically lasts about a month, so plan on seeing a few more swarms over the next couple weeks. Martin expects termite season to end by early June.