Termites are swarming and folks are buzzing. Here’s what you can do.

BATON ROUGE — They are back and on the prowl.  People all over are experiencing their annual unwelcome visitors. No, we aren’t talking about your in-laws. We’re talking about formosan termite swarms. Termite swarming is a form of reproduction for insects. Each year around this time, millions of termites come out of the moist soil looking to build new colonies. 

Last year, one Slidell man decided he’d had enough. He went to social media to share his creative way to get rid of the nuisance.  Kenny Bellau tells UWK he first tried a bug zapper but it didn’t solve the problem. He went back to the drawing board and found a new remedy, a blowtorch. It was successful.

“It was just a tongue in cheek, funny attempt at eradicating termites. With each blast of the blowtorch, I probably knocked down about a couple of 100. That’s how thick the swarm was.” Bellau buzzed.

While his method worked temporarily, it wasn’t a long-term solution. Bellau says he doesn’t recommend this course of action. The creative video earned him the nickname ‘Termite Terminator’. One of the people who viewed his post was the local fire department.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t do it unless you’re near a healthy water source or a very wet environment. I got a visit from the fire department. So I wouldn’t suggest it.” he added.

In search of better methods, UWK spoke with Kevin Dinkel, owner of Advantage Pest Control for more than 17 years, about the winged nuisance. 

“You really want to call a professional pest control operator, because we have access to products that are restricted. The termites can be very destructive, so you really don’t want to take the chance and leave your house protected.”

Dinkel said the termites are looking for moisture and organic cellulose material, like wood, to build a new colony. He said they don’t always set up colonies but most do so prevention is critical. 

“They come in through bathroom vents, windows that have a little crack or void and around the perimeter. It’s hard to keep them out,” Dinkel said.

Formosan termites, that originated in the New Orleans area, are attracted to light so he suggests keeping your lights off outside and inside as much as possible. Dinkel says the season should last around 4-6 weeks. If you see a swarm, you can bet that a colony is nearby.

“If you have foliage going up against the house or vines going up the house, all of that can hide the termite activity. Also the moisture sets up good activity for a termite colony. Any type of siding where moisture can get behind it is susceptible for termite activity.” Dinkel added.

The LSU AgCenter added several tips on what you can do to make it through the swarm season.

  • Remove all wood, cardboard, and other cellulose-containing materials from around or under your home.
  • Keep mulch 8 to 12 inches from the foundation or perimeter of your home.
  • Fix dripping faucets outdoor and repair leaks in the roof or pipes.
  • Slope the landscape so water will drain away from the house.
  • Use only licensed and certified pest management professionals for termite treatments.

Download the Unfiltered with Kiran app from the Apple App Store and Google Play to stay updated on the latest news across the Capital area. 

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