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With the warmer weather fast approaching, and the bliss of spring rains, some insects, much as we do, become more active. And while we might have had a reprieve from the pests while they were slumbering, spring marks the time when they become active again.
The sudden appearance of swarming ants or termites in flight is not a good sign – it is, in fact, one of the first signs of indoor infestation. For homeowners, this means that you can spot if insects such as termites, ants or flies that have been hibernating in or around your home this winter. As with humans, these pests seek shelter, warmth and food to survive during their dormant time in the winter.
As the first rains start to fall and the climate starts to get warmer, the “alates” (winged termites and ants), goes on the nuptial flight. Ants and termites swarm to mate, then the males die, having fulfilled their life’s purpose. The queens drop their wings to seek a nesting site. So if you see something like looks like an ant with wings, it’s likely that it is getting ready to add to its population!
Scary as swarms of these winged critters might seem, they only have one thing in mind, to find a mate. Bearing all this in mind, if preventative measures weren’t taken before summer, it’s easy to spot if any or all of these critters decided to hibernate in your home.
Insects that become active during spring
Subterranean Termites lives in the soil beneath your home or in cracks in your walls or roof. They mainly live off a diet of the cellulose they extract from dry timber, and can move through cracks and joints in asphalt, concrete, lead and plaster to find their food source.
Apart from the structural damage that termites can cause, without preventive measures, the colonies can thrive for years in the same place. And then just expand each spring to new parts of your home.
The warmer months then makes it perfect to spot for infestation, as termites become more active. Watch out for signs of infestation in the form of mud type deposits on outside walls or in or around skirtings, cupboards, wooden door frames, wooden floor boards or window frames, finding visible holes in wooden skirting boards or thinning wooden skirting boards.
After the nuptial flight, Black Ants start new colonies or satellite colonies. Although they rarely nest inside homes, they forage into homes for food, and will thus start a colony close to food source.
The first signs would be large black ants in your home. Ants also leave a trail for workers to follow, which gets washed away after rains. This causes ants to create new paths, which is easy to spot – just follow the trail of ants.
The house fly overwinters in either the larval or pupal stage in protected locations in or around your home. Warm summer conditions are generally optimum for the development of the house fly, and it can complete its life cycle in as little as seven to ten days. These pests need moist and warm conditions for their larvae to thrive, making spring the perfect time for them to breed.
Once the housefly reaches adult stage, it starts to mate again and can produce up to 20 generation in optimal conditions. Apart from being a nuisance, but they can also carry disease.
The more commonly used control measures for house flies are sanitation, use of traps, and insecticides, but in some instances integrated fly control has been implemented.