Warm Weather? Swarm Weather! Ants Emerging this Spring

It happens every year but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing. When the moist ground warms to a certain temperature, ants become active. They exit their nests looking to mate and start new colonies. Many species will take to the air (at least for a short time) to accomplish this goal. Warm weather means swarm weather!

ants 1Many homeowners fist learn they have an ant problem in the spring when winged ants, called alates, leave the nest. Alates are reproductively mature adults without mates, basically potential queens and kings. They fly into the air in order to find a mate then the pair will look for a good spot to start a new colony. Depending on the species, this might mean a mass exodus from the primary nest.

Some species of ants will migrate out in huge numbers. Swarms typically occur outdoors, as nature intended. Sometimes, however, they can occur indoors as well. This is, understandably, very upsetting for the homeowner! It can also be dangerous for the home. If the swarm in question is carpenter ants, an indoor swarm may signal a serious infestation of the home’s structural wood.

Homeowners have reported leaving a normal home and returning to what they see as plague conditions. Dead and dying alates by the hundreds will blacken the floors by exterior doors and collect on the window screens. Live ants will be circling the air indoors. A swarm can form suddenly and seemingly without warning since the ants have like been burrowing deep inside the ground or their wooden homes for most of the winter.

Usually, the determining factors in the start of any ant activity are humidity and temperature. They like to start their new families when it’s warm and just damp enough to make the ground easy to tunnel through. That’s why spring is the season when most swarms occur. This kind of predictable seasonal behavior is part of what makes having a year-round pest control plan such a wise move. Potential problems are often found before they become a nightmare.

While this kind of home invasion is by no means pleasant, it may actually be a blessing in disguise. These insects keep a pretty low profile for most of the year. The springtime swarm may be the only chance you get to discover and eliminate a potentially damaging infestation. It’s the perfect time to start implementing an integrated pest management plan since you can see what kind of pest you have so clearly during a swarm.

Identifying your pest is the first and perhaps most important step if you witness a swarm, inside or out. Carpenter ants are notorious swarmers but then again, so are termites! Both can cause serious damage to your home’s wood but their methods are very different and so is the treatment. A pest control professional can identify the insect and give you options for appropriate action based on the type of pest, its location and the level of infestation in your home or yard. (Even if the swarm is outside, that doesn’t mean the next colony won’t be built inside so call a pro if you see this behavior.)

Spring is nearly here and the warm-weather pest problems will soon arrive. Get ahead of the bugs with regular appointments with a pest control specialist and a year-round plan for prevention and treatment with minimal pesticides. Your home and business will be healthier, happier and hopefully swarm-free!



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