Did the Termite see his shadow on Groundhog Day?

The annual events of Groundhog day were on display last week. Depending on the particular Groundhog you “Follow” we may or may not have another 6 weeks of this cold and nasty Atlanta winter. I don’t personally believe in the tradition, but, like most traditions we carry on with them anyway.

That said, I’ve often been asked how the delayed spring and protracted cold effects the annual mating cycles of the subterranean termite. In our industry we call this the “Swarm Season”.

Let me try and answer that question with a commonly used phrase provided to me by an early mentor of mine, Dr. Brian Forschler, Principal Investigator for the Household and Structural Entomology research program with the University of Georgia. He was fond of saying, “That Depends”.

The point is…when it comes to termites there are many factors that can contribute to their annual mating cycles . Factors such as cold temps can indeed play a role in the severity of swarm season.

However, there are many other conditions such as precipitation or drought in the preceding year, food resource availability, and age structure of the termite colony  are all  major contributors. Consider the excessive amount of rain we’ve had in Metro Atlanta this year.

Termites require moisture in the soil to survive and thrive. Think we’ve had enough moisture this year? I’ll bet this environmental condition impacts the severity of the approaching termite swarm season much more than the cold weather.

I’ve been in the Pest Control industry here in Atlanta my entire professional life. That’s more years than most, but not as many as some (for those who are curious, call me and I’ll tell you the whole story).

During this time I’ve learned one thing. NEVER try to predict a termite swarm season. I am constantly surprised by what these hard working insects can do; in spite of the best guesses of men. So, are we headed for a severe termite swarm season or a mild one? I suppose I’d say, “That Depends”…I’ll bet Dr. Forschler would agree.

Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any thoughts or questions about Atlanta Termite Control or Atlanta Pest Control, please give me a call. I’d love to discuss it with you.