City Baby Attacked By Termites!

Termites swarming

I’m sure I could look this up but I figured I’d just pool your collective insight before doing any real work on my own. Yesterday these termites (I think they are termites) started showing up on one of our window sills, and the floor around it. We’ve cleaned them up but they keep coming back, there was about 50x as many last time I busted out the vacuum. We’ve determined they are actually falling from a skylight about 20 feet above it, possibly through a crack that we can’t see from down here. Now right after we moved in the landlord was finishing getting a door frame replaced because of “old termite damage” but having never lived this close to the beach (where there seems to be no shortage of weird flying bugs) my question is this – would this be a sign of some kind of problem inside the house, or just swarming bugs outside falling through a crack in the roof? Either way I plan to tell my landlord ASAP, but wanted to know from the fine and educated readers of this site if there was anything I should know ahead of time. Thanks!

11 Replies to “City Baby Attacked By Termites!”

  1. Yeah. With as many as you’re describing, falling in through a crack seems unlikely. You’ve probably got an infestation in the roof or walls.

  2. The massive wet to insanely hot weather swing in LA probably drove them into a frenzy. Happened to me in Sausalito a few years back. As you are renting, tell the landlord, sweep it all up and ignore. Probably won’t last more than a day.

  3. They are termites. Jason’s nailed it. Typically a first rain will whack them out and bring them out from their underground nests. Believe it or not these guys are harmless to your woodwerx. They all usually die in a short time. Many of them will shed their wings even. Charge up the dustbuster and suck ’em up!

    PS. A certain trio of tree frogs were hoping for a termite bloom over here, but it didn’t happen.

  4. Swarming termite nymphs will shed their wings, so a pile of wings is a bad sign. Also, active infestations will occasionally leave a small pile of the chewed wood behind – it’ll look like a nickel-sized pile of fresh ground pepper. If you look closely, you can usually find the tiny hole from which the particles came.

    Will is correct that most of these nymphs will die, but the termites will certainly devour the wood. Just ask our house. The fact that these are swarming means there’s an active infestation somewhere nearby because they can’t fly hardly at all, even with the wings.

  5. They will indeed eat your woodwork. My ex-wife and I had an infestation in our La Crescenta home and within a month they devoured impressively huge sections of the wooden closet door in the bedroom, particularly at the base. They also showed a tendency to come out at night when the lights were off, when we switched the lights on we could see them swarming. Our infestation began after a heavy rain.

    Good luck with that, Sean; we never did get a handle on it and, thankfully, our lease on the house expired before they could do further damage.

  6. When I rented an apartment in West LA in college, I came home one day to find my bed–which was under a windowsill–covered with termites that looked like this, with the wings. They seemed to be all dead already, but soon after that, our building’s owner ordered everyone out for the weekend (people in other units reported having them as well) so they could spray. It was a pain–not only having to be gone for the weekend, but either taking all of our non-sealed food with us or throwing it out, washing all of our plates when we got back, etc.

    Talk to your neighbors and find out if they’re getting them also, Sean. If it’s not just you, let the landlord know that s/he has a problem. You shouldn’t have to worry about anything besides the hassle if you have to vacate for spraying.

  7. yep, those are termites and yep, what everyone else said on the subject is accurate. when these critters came visiting my place, we blasted them with orange oil and haven’t seen them since.

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