As termite season begins, New Orleans homes are barraged by uninvited guests
NEW ORLEANS - While stay-at-home orders are in place, some unwanted guests are showing up in New Orleans area homes.
According to WWL-TV, millions of six-legged, winged residents are refusing to practice social distancing, and locals are not happy with the invading rebels.
Formosan subterranean termites began swarming the New Orleans area Tuesday night; the insects were spotted in the glow of streetlights and illuminated porches all over town.
Slidell Police even posted to their Facebook page, saying the bugs are "wanted for several counts of home invasion."
And they're keeping the phones tied up at Terminix, where Joe Martin works as an Entomologist.
"New Orleans possibly has the worst Formosan termite population in the entire world," said Martin.
He said a swarming colony means the colony is five or seven years old and comprised of insects that are young kings and queens ready to start a new colony.
Their goal is to take up residence in a home.
"So we're all going to see swarming termites, that's normal. Are we going to see a few in our house? Yes, that's normal. They're going to get in very small cracks and crevices into our house. If we start seeing hundreds in your house, it's probably time to give someone a call to come take a look," said Martin.
But he, and other experts, recommend keeping porch lights on and letting the swarm do its thing. That way, residents can take a walk around the slab of their home and check for places where the termites might try to move in or already be living.
"We want to protect our houses. And when we're all home right now, this is a great opportunity to say 'hey, I'm sitting on the porch, the termites are swarming. Let me take a walk around my house. Let's try to find these termites,'" said Martin. "Things like a constant leak. Things like firewood stacked up against your house with maybe a little bit of moisture, mulch stacked up."
Experts said New Orleans residents should expect to see more swarms in the coming weeks, often after a good rain. Some believe it's because the insects prefer to mate in wet conditions.
A mature colony of Formosan termites can eat 13 ounces of wood in a day, which is fast enough to eat a house in about three months.
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