Clumsy Swarms

The termites from the colony in the remnant of the sycamore stump out back swarmed today. Yuck. They are clumsy flyers and only make it a few yards before falling to the ground. Their wings fall off at that point – serves ’em right, little pests.

The swarmers, or aletes, are the winged reproductives in a termite colony; it’s their job to go out and create new colonies. The critters have underground nests, usually away from structures, and journey to wood structures just to load up on yummy wood pulp to take back to the nest. Seeing swarmers does not mean your home is infested.

I learned about termites when we were in the process of buying our home. The inspection showed there was a minor termite infestation under the back door. Leave it to a termite to find the one tiny bit of wood in our brick house — the thin wood strip between the masonry block from the foundation and the brick wall above. The seller had to pay for an exterminator to come and treat our house. Actually, we are probably due for another treatment, or at least an inspection, since all that was back in 1999.

Back to the swarmers. Our small fishpond sits near the stump, and this afternoon its surface was littered with the bodies of their fallen comrades. I haven’t bought a fishnet yet, so didn’t have a way to skim them all off the surface. They’re likely to have the pond water really fouled. Yuck again. The tiny feeder goldfish we put in the pond are in no way up to the task presented.

For more than you ever thought you’d want to know about termites, check out the University of Toronto’s link here and Ohio State University’s great Ohioline page.

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