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Louisiana Is Being Invaded Again And There’s Nothing Anyone Can Do

It happened again: New Orleans was hit with a huge swarm of Formosan termites on Monday following a weekend of heavy rainfall and warm temperatures. Other areas, such as Baton Rouge, are due for the same type of annual insect infestation.

May is the month when Formosa termites find their mates, so swarms of insects are cropping up all over the city. Much like an ant colony, a nest of termites consists of many types of the species – each with a different purpose. “Alates” are termites responsible for reproduction. They hang out in their nest until the weather conditions are right. Then their wings develop, just in time to go out and mate.

While it seems like a party for the termites, the swarming that occurs during the mating selection process is pretty annoying to humans. The termites congregate near any light source and fill the air. Resident geckos love the termite swarms — termites make tasty snacks.

After the termites mate, they find a place to live and grow. The pesticide-resistant Formosa termites infest buildings, trees, docks, your house… any wood structure that they can gnaw into, creating massive property damage. The newly coupled termites spend the next 3-5 years holed up in their new nest. Once they reach maturity, the female lays eggs and the new alate termites wait until the following May, when they can go out and swarm to find new mates.

If you’re not already feeling crawly enough, check out this video posted on YouTube by NOLA.com. It shows swarming termites around a light fixture in New Orleans.

Have you had any experiences with termites?

Catherine Rees
Catherine is a lifelong resident of Utah. She's a writer, researcher and observer of the human condition.