These pesky insects invade and destroy SC homes in the spring. Here’s how to keep them out

Formosan Subterranean Termites, commonly referred to as “super termites” or my their scientific name Coptotermes formosanus

Spring is in the air.

So are termites.

Warmer springtime weather creates ideal conditions for termites in South Carolina. While termites can invade homes at any point in the year, spring is the time when the tiny critters prefer spreading out to start new colonies. And once they get a foothold in homes, they can do serious damage to the wood inside.

What’s worse is South Carolina has more than one type of termite to guard against. However, there are steps homeowners can take to deter these unwanted visitors.

“The warmer, wet weather in the springtime creates the perfect environment for termite activity, making this the perfect time to remind homeowners about the increased risk to their properties,” Terminix technical director Kevin Hathorne said in a recent press release. “With many new residents relocating to the South, it’s important to understand the risks associated with termites.”

SC termite swarming

During the spring, termites will take to the air to make new colonies in a practice called swarming. According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, when termites fly outdoors, there can be thousands at a time, some of which might come into your home incidentally.

Island Pest Control in Hilton Head notes that swarming periods can be a good time to find out if you have a termite problem.

“Even if you don’t catch them while they’re swarming, you might still find evidence that they are around,” Island Pest Control states. “Winged termites shed their wings not long after taking flight. You might find piles of these wings on the ground outside doors and windows. If these bugs are inside, you might find these wings near window sills or near doors.”

Types of termites in SC

According to Island Pest Control, South Carolina has three types of springtime termites that appear each year: subterranean termites, drywood termites and formosan termites.

Subterranean termites

These termites can cause significant destruction to South Carolina homes. They make their nests in underground or above ground areas that offer plenty of moisture and shelter. Some of their colonies can have millions of members, making them capable of eating large amounts of wood.

Drywood termites

These termites feed on sources of drywood instead of moist wood that other termite species eat. They will feed on structural walls, attic joists and other areas of drywood in homes.

Formosan termites

Formosan termites are an invasive species that increased their foothold in South Carolina in recent years. These termites can form colonies in the millions, which, combined with large appetites, means they can cause serious damage over a short period.

How to keep termites out of SC homes

Here are some tips for what homeowners can do to keep termites from setting up shop on their property this spring.

  • Ensure your gutters and downspouts are not clogged or damaged, directing water away from the foundation.

  • Repair any leaky plumbing.

  • Never point sprinklers toward your foundation.

  • Keep leaks out of your roof.

  • Re-grade your soil so that water flows away from your house, preventing water from pooling next to your foundation. Or, install a drainage system like a French drain.

  • Repair and replace damaged siding and flashing.

  • Keep any scrap lumber, firewood or other wooden products as far from your house as possible.

  • Keep any nearby bushes and trees trimmed.

  • Do not use excessive mulch or pine straw around your home’s foundation.

  • Make sure your crawl space has adequate ventilation and a moisture barrier.