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Pest Expert: One insect causing problems earlier than normal - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Pest Expert: One insect causing problems earlier than normal

The winter storms are still impacting the Lowcountry and it's in the form of bugs. Pest control experts say the cold snap is causing a certain critter to come out earlier, and stronger than normal. This could mean big headaches for homeowners.

"All the critters are coming out for spring," said Bert Snyder, Entomologist for Palmetto Exterminators.

Not just any critters, swarmers. These are the insects that start new termite colonies. Some can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day.

"The swarm of ants are getting bigger because of the cold weather, it's stacking up the swarmers and they're swarming all at one time," said Snyder.

Snyder says normally, they shed their excess skeleton at staggered times, but because of the cold snap, many did it all around the same time. Now, they've all got their adult wings at the same time, creating a larger swarm than normal for this early in spring. This could also lead to more termite damage, earlier the peak pest season, according to Snyder.

Snyder says if you see swarmers, which look like ants with wings, in and around your house, you need to have your house looked at.

"Usually when you have a swarmers inside your house, there's been termites in your wall already doing damage," said Snyder.

Snyder says there are measures you can take now to keep the swarmers from planting colonies in your home.

"One of the things that we need to have homeowners looking at is caulking, painting and fixing moisture problems in and around their house," said Snyder.

He also advises that you clean your gutters and get all the leaf litter out, as well as raking back the old mulch away from the house. These are common places where these insects start nesting, according to Snyder.

Snyder says when checking for termites in your home, another place to look is actually outside. He says 50 percent of the cases they go to, the problem actually originates in a tree that is completely infested and next to the home.

Overall, the biggest mistakes he sees homeowners makes not paying attention to the condition of their home. It's an oversight that could cost you a lot of money,

"Formosan termites are damaging more houses than anything else, including storms and fires combined, somewhere between $50 to $75 million a year in damage - and that's just in the Lowcountry," said Snyder.

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