Termites show up on N.O. radar, time to take action

Termites swarms on radar

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It's not unheard of, but it is unusual: Swarms of termites showing up on weather radar Sunday night, keeping exterminators busy on Monday.

It's not news that this is termite swarming season, what's different is this: "It's more of the green and blue that we see that we think might be rain, but they're termites," said FOX 8 meteorologist Shelby Latino.

Big green clouds moving across the National Weather Service radar on both shore of Lake Pontchartrain around 6 p.m. Sunday night were not rainstorms.  Rather, they are swarms of termites.

"That was the first time I ever saw anything like that, even going to school for entomology," said Joe Martin with Terminix.

Vipir radar picked up similar swarms, with one swarm moving through Mid-City, where thousands were discovered in one business, along the windows, in the light fixtures, even on work desks.

"It's the young kings and queens leaving the colony, and this time of year, you will see high numbers," Martin said.

The good news is those kings and queens aren't the ones that eat up the wood in your house. But they do travel out to establish new nests near a moisture source, which can often lead to damage.

"That moisture source could be in the ground, in your attic, if you have an icemaker that's leaking," Martin said.

A huge swarm was also seen moving from Slidell toward Picayune - something that might have been unheard of a few years ago.

You might think that termites showing up on radar would present an opportunity for aerial spraying, but our expert says it's not that simple.

"As far as mass control, the termites won't live that long. They will mostly die off," Martin said.

Martin calls last night's invasion, and opportunity to check out your house. Call an expert, keep woody debris from touching the exterior of your home and check your attics.

"If you have a big swarm, look for a shelter tube on your slab, or the termites coming out of the tree," said Martin .

Weather radar will be watching, too.

Terminix said they've been extremely busy this Memorial Day, fielding calls from people concerned about the termite swarms.

Click here for termite damage prevention tips provided by the City of New Orleans.

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