Termite Swarms


When you see a termite swarm and the insects have wings, are the "coming" or "going?"
We have a house we are working on. It's been "treated" in the past. I picked up an installed some "bait" posts (with "pop up" alerts) in the soil. I have also sprayed. The spray stuff was from the same company that sold the "bait" kit.
The insects are all dead, dead, dead. But they seem to have originated or come into the front door. (There were wings and dead "flyers" at the door way and in the basement below the door way. This is where in the past some significant damage has been done (I had to replace a good section of the door frame because of insect damage.)
Are these critters coming from a nest inside the house? It's brick. How can I find the "nest?" There are signs that at one time a "professional" made holes in the brick mortar to inject some "stuff" but this had to be about 20 years ago. About 5 years ago, when the doorway damage was done we paid about $450 for a "professional" treatment.
I want to know what's going on. Since the house is vacant and being worked on, I am free to do a little more "invasive" than would be the case with an occupied building. I want to know what's going on for myself.
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...are the[y] "coming" or "going?"
Yes. :) Depends on your frame of reference. They're leaving a nest and looking for a spot to form a new one. That new spot may be somewhere else within your home as well as going farther afield. Or, they may have issued invitations to the neighbors... :(
Given the description you go on to give of having previous infestation, I'd say it's certain you still have infestation(s) and should investigate thoroughly. Unfortunately, if it is brick veneer, there's no way to get a visual inspection of much without removing interior walls, etc.
You need to investigate thoroughly all around the exterior for signs of tunnels and interior spaces, particularly any place that has had any sign of dampness or water. Behind finished basement walls is a great place to find them hidden as they may discover cracks between poured floors and basement walls and come up there from underground totally behind surface layers leaving no visible signs until they adults emerge in the spring swarm.
I'd recommend a professional come investigate with you and re-invest in the whole house treatment. The pita thing is they've removed chlordane and other long-lived baits from the market so retreatment now has to be a much more frequent thing. Despite the expense, I went w/ a treatment company w/ the warranty while in E TN simply to have the eventuality covered. It did, in fact, pay off when, despite the treatments, the above scenario of hidden incursion happened and had to redo the entire basement family room.
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The basement had been "finished." A previous owner had installed some cheap hardboard that wasn't rated for below grade use. That's all gone. I have taken out all the 2x2 "sleepers" from most of the below grade section and am coverering the walls with white "leak stop" paint. I had already put one coat and was in the middle of the second coat when the swarm came.
Is there a good chance a nest is within the hollow wall?
With all the basement uncovered and the house empty I have gone a little nuts with the spraying. I got the remaining "sleepers" and got the "sill plate" that sits on the foundation. I also "treated" the perimeter with special attention to below the front entrance. (This was IAW the label instructions - don't get the EPA upset.)

I guess I will stick a toe into that water and request a "free" termite check. It will be interesting to hear what they say when they see the "baits."

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John Gilmer wrote:

It probably is not in the wall but the termites are just gaining entry into the wall. This site has a diagram of basement entry points. http://www.utoronto.ca/forest/termite/tips8.htm

Depending on what type of spray was used can determine if it can be effective at all for anything other than a temporary barrier.

I usually don't have anything to say about the baits when I come across them unless asked, just wonder sometimes how much money may of been wasted on them.
Lar
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John Gilmer wrote:

This time of year from Texas to New York the subterranean termites are swarming. The actual nest is under ground and the workers come up to eat on the structure then return back into the the ground. This time of year, can also happen in the Fall if conditions are right the colony starts producing the "swarmers". They are the males and females that fly off to start new colonies. They show up were the the workers have been feeding. They die easily so finding dead ones piling up is common. The age of the nest they came from is at least 4-5 years old. How effective a treatment is can depend on what was used. It's possible the termites have just worked around the treated area of a few years ago. That is the down side of "spot treating", a year after the spot was treated termites may show up somewhere else on the house or just a few inches outside of the treated zone. After paying for a few spot treats, the cost of treating the whole house originally can be the cheaper solution.
Lar
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