It is well known that subterranean termites require high-moisture conditions within their soil habitat in order to survive, so it may not come as a surprise to learn that rainfall stimulates foraging activity among workers. This means that worker termites travel more rapidly over longer distances in response to water saturation in soil. This response to rainfall is the norm among subterranean termites during most of the year throughout the humid southeast. In fact, a study on Formosan subterranean termites in the southeast showed that workers consume wood just as rapidly during January as they do during the spring and summer, and this may be partly due to the stimulus provided by the occasional melting of snow and ice during the month in the region.
It is also well known that seasonal termite swarms generally emerge from mature colonies following bouts of rain during the spring and summer seasons, and rainfall during the colder months continues to contribute to termite colony growth during the fall, which may explain why winter swarms sometimes occur in Georgia. Homeowners should also know that the abundance of loose tree branches that fall into yards following heavy storms provide termites with an incentive to invade properties.
Lumber scraps pile up on properties while homes are being constructed, and these scraps, as well as dead roots from uprooted trees, are very rarely removed before concrete is poured and earth is redistributed around foundations. Unfortunately, this means that termite-food sources are particularly plentiful in residential areas. Over time, repeated rainwater saturation causes these wood scraps to become water-logged, rotten or infested with fungus, making these wood scraps ideal for termite consumption. There exists good evidence supporting the hypothesis that rotting wood sources emit odors that attract termites. Lastly, the softening and erosion of soil caused by rainwater saturation allows foundations and surrounding concrete slabs to sink into the earth, resulting in structural cracks that provide termites with entry points into homes.
Do you have at least one termite inspection conducted on your property per year?