Termite Season: Swarming in Spring

a swarm of white termites over wood

As the temperatures rise in St. Louis, Missouri, homeowners need to be aware of a pest that can severely damage their homes: termites. Termites can be active all year round. But spring is when they begin to swarm, looking for new places to create colonies. It would help to identify why termites swarm and which ones would in St. Louis, MO. 

The Subterranean Termite

Preferring to live in underground colonies, these social insects love to munch on cellulose-based materials like wood. These swarming termites construct mud tubes to move between their nests and food sources, protecting them from predators and dehydration. 

Subterranean termites have a highly organized caste system with workers, soldiers, and winged termites. They are a significant threat to the structural integrity of buildings and homes. As such, regular termite inspections by a professional exterminator are necessary to identify problems before they become severe. 

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Termites swarm to create new colonies. When a colony becomes too big, termites with wings, or alates, will leave to start a new colony. Swarming often takes place in the spring during warm, humid conditions. This is the perfect time for termites to mate and start new colonies.

Which Termites Would Swarm?

Not all termites will swarm. Only mature colonies will send out termites with wings to mate and start new colonies. The two most common types of swarming termites are subterranean and drywood termites.

Subterranean termites live in the soil. They build mud tubes to access above-ground food sources, such as your home’s foundation or wooden structures. These termites typically swarm during the day, usually in the spring. Drywood termites, on the other hand, do not require contact with soil and live within the wood they infest. These termites swarm at night, usually in the late summer or fall.

Signs of a Termite Swarm

The most apparent sign of a termite swarm is seeing winged termites around your home. You may notice these termites on windowsills or around light fixtures. You may also see discarded wings around your home, as the termites will shed their wings after mating.

Other signs of a termite infestation include:

  • Hollow-sounding wood.
  • Mud tubes around the foundation of your home.
  • Cracked or distorted paint on wooden surfaces.
  • Tight-fitting doors or windows.
  • Soft or crumbling wood.

Call a qualified exterminator if you see any of these signs. Your property may sustain severe damage from termites, and the longer you wait, the more serious the damage can become.

Preventing Termites

Preventing termites from entering your home is crucial. You can keep termites out of your house by taking the following steps:

  • Keep firewood away from the base of your house.
  • Fix any leaky pipes or faucets.
  • Ensure your gutters are functioning correctly and clean.
  • Remove sources of standing water near your home.
  • Seal cracks or holes in your home’s foundation.
  • Trim any bushes or trees that are in contact with your home.

Regular termite inspections by a professional exterminator are essential to catch any potential termite problems before they become too severe.

Call a Professional Exterminator

You must contact a qualified exterminator as soon as you suspect you have a termite problem. They can identify your termite type and create a plan to eliminate the infestation. Blue Chip Pest Services is a professional exterminator in St. Louis specializing in termite control. Click here to contact us and schedule an inspection.

Insulation to Treat Your Pests

a close up of a pair of hands holding a handful of TAP insulation

Insulation to Treat Your Pests

Treating pests in St. Louis can be a constant battle. Keeping track of everything you need to do and maintain in order to deter bugs and rodents from your property can be overwhelming – and even more frustrating when you consider that you can do everything right and still wind up with an infestation. 

You know that you can trust the team at Blue Chip Pest Services to treat any infestation that may strike your St. Louis home. But wouldn’t you rather not have to call for treatment in the first place? There are “treated” insulation options that claim to act as a replacement for traditional pesticides, but what exactly does that mean? Does pest-treated insulation really work?

What is Treated Insulation?

If you’ve been looking into insulation, you may already be familiar with insulation treated with EPA-registered pesticides. They say this additional chemical component works to kill and deter a variety of pests and “protect” the home. But does it really? 

The harsh reality of treated insulation is that, while they function as passable insulators, they can only protect the insulation itself from pest damage. If you want to keep infestations from affecting your home and the people that need it, you’ll need something far more comprehensive. 

What is TAP Insulation?®

TAP, or Thermal Acoustic Pest Control Insulation, is a loose-fill, blown-in insulation made up of primarily recycled cellulose. Unlike treated insulation, TAP is not infused with any sort of inorganic solution. Instead, the individual pieces of cellulose are coated with Borate. Many pests, when they come into contact with this mineral, ingest it and cannot pass it, resulting in an eventual death from malnutrition or dehydration. 

This pest-killing insulation kills many of the major insect pests in St. Louis, from creatures as small as Formosan termites to those as large as roaches and slugs. With TAP, you can effectively kill infestations before they even have a chance to form, all without you having to lift a finger.

Benefits of TAP Insulation

Killing pests is only one benefit of installing TAP Pest Control Insulation. When installed correctly, TAP can last and remain effective almost indefinitely. As long as you monitor the moisture in your household, you’ll never need to worry about replacing your insulation. And even speaking outside the scope of pest control, TAP still acts as a quality insulator. It has a taller R-value than fiberglass, and it’s mold and heat resistant. It can even dampen sound flow, leaving your home energy-efficient and far more comfortable.  

Only those with the right training and certification can install TAP Insulation, which gives it a higher bar of quality compared to competitors. And if you’re a homeowner in St. Louis looking for TAP Pest Control Insulation, the best provider in the area is the team at Blue Chip Pest Services. 

Blue Chip Pest Services For Pest Control Insulation

Since we first opened our doors in 1971, we’ve been working to build a team that values thorough and ongoing training. We work to be the most qualified in the area at the things we do best – not only TAP Insulation, but all manner of pest control for homes and businesses across St. Louis. We can make moves to drastically improve the quality of life for you and anyone with whom you share a home. You don’t have to choose between pest protection and quality insulation. Let Blue Chip Pest Services install TAP insulation today and leave you with tangible peace of mind. Contact us today to get started.

Pests that Swarm in Spring

Ant on a rainy twig - common springtime pest in St Louis

Warm, sunny days – especially after rainfall – will bring out swarms of insects from their winter nests. From ants and termites to wasps and bees, there’s a whole host of pests that swarm in spring. The last thing you want is to discover these unwanted guests in your home or yard. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can protect your property from infestations. The experts at Blue Chip Pest Services explain everything you need to know to keep your space pest-free all season long.

Common Spring Insects in St. Louis

As the weather warms up, insects have two main tasks on their mind: eating and breeding. While most pests stay outside, they may seek shelter indoors if your home has enough food and hiding places. Keeping an eye out for the common springtime insects will help you avoid a major infestation down the road. Here are the most common spring insects to be on the lookout for:

WASPS are stinging insects that come in a variety of colors, though they are usually yellowish, red, or brown. Their most defining feature is a narrow waist and angular body. Some species will build nests in sheltered areas along your home or yard, which can pose a safety risk to anybody nearby.

BEES may be stinging insects, but they are generally much less aggressive than wasps. These bugs are crucial pollinators that primarily focus on making honey. You can identify them by their black and yellow striped bodies. Bees tend to nest in piles of wood or other yard debris, but they can be a hazard if they settle down close to a human-populated area.

ANTS are one of the most common springtime pests in St. Louis. Whether they’re swarming in your parking lot or crawling on your kitchen counter, these tricky insects can be difficult to get rid of once they establish a colony. Many homeowners encounter odorous house ants once the weather warms up, which typically measure between ⅛ to 3/16 of an inch and emit an unpleasant “rotten coconut” scent when crushed. 

TERMITES are notorious for causing extensive damage to wooden structures. Though they look incredibly similar to ants, these pests pose a much bigger risk to your home and are capable of causing thousands of dollars in damage. Most termites are brown or black in color and measure between ⅛ and 1 inch in size. If you notice any signs of termites, you should contact a professional right away.

How to Keep Pests Out of Your Home

Below are just a few tips to discourage pests from taking up residence in your space. 

  • Clean up after outdoor BBQ and other cooking. Food scraps can attract a wide range of pests to your property; bees and wasps in particular are attracted to sweets and protein-based foods. 
  • Patch cracks or crevices in walls and repair any broken panels or siding.  Maintaining your property will keep pests from nesting in your walls. Keeping your yard neat and tidy can also deter potential infestations.
  • Repair leaky faucets, pipes, or other sources of water. Termites are notorious for invading damp or damaged wood, and many other types of pests search for water to survive. Repairing moisture issues can help protect your property.
  • Keep leaves, wood, and piles of debris away from your home. Organic debris creates the perfect environment for pests to thrive, which could lead these unwanted guests right into your home. Maintaining a clean and tidy space is one of the most effective ways to prevent a variety of infestations.
  • Sore food in airtight containers. Nothing’s worse than leaving a treat out on the counter, just to discover it’s overrun with ants a day or two later. Properly storing your food will make it more difficult for pests to thrive in your space.
  • Store pet food inside and clean pet bowls regularly. Ants and other pests are attracted to sweets as well as protein-based foods, which makes your pet bowl the perfect fuel for an infestation.

Spring Pest Control Services

If you are tired of dealing with swarms of pests in or around your home, the experienced exterminators at Blue Chip Pest Services are here to help. Our licensed technicians have been serving the St. Louis area since 1971, so we are familiar with local pest behavior. We know how to create reliable solutions that protect your property in the long run. Whether you’re currently dealing with an infestation or you want to ensure your property is protected from common springtime pests, we’ve got you covered! Just give us a call today to get your free quote.

Termite vs Flying Ant

Termite vs flying ant in St Louis MO - Blue Chip Pest Services

Certain types of ants have wings that enable them to fly. Seeing a flying ant in your home could be bad news, as these species only tend to fly during mating season. But how do you know you’re seeing flying ants and not termites? Termites pose a significantly worse threat than flying ants, making it important to tell the difference between termites and flying ants—more specifically, between termite swarmers and flying ant swarmers. To better know what type of wood-destroying pest you may be dealing with in your St. Louis MO home or business, the experts at Blue Chip Pest Services are here to share their unique knowledge of these pests.

Termites vs Flying Ants: Appearance

Telling apart termites from carpenter ants can be tricky. In the swarmer stage, they both appear very similar save for a few key differences:

  1. Carpenter ant swarmers: These are black in color, with some species having slightly red coloring. Carpenter ants measure 1/2″–5/8″ with antenna bent at a 45-degree angle. Their wings are translucent with a reddish-brown hue, laying over the posterior of the ant. Carpenter ant swarmers are bigger than termite swarmers.
  2. Termite swarmers: Usually, termite swarmers are black to brown in color and measure 3/8″ long including the wings. Their wings are translucent to slightly milky or smoky in color. Their wings may overlap, and are typically as long as or slightly longer than the body; this is the best way to differentiate them from carpenter ants.


Are Termites or Flying Ants Dangerous?

While they both have wood destroying capabilities, termites are typically more dangerous than carpenter ants. The main behavioral differences between these two include:

  1. Termites make their way into a structure around basement windows, doorways, under siding, porches, or any structure in contact with the soil.
  2. Established termite colonies can range from 60,000 to over a million workers and can consume nearly 5 grams of wood per day.
  3. Carpenter ants establish nests in wood that is already in decay, and later expand into normal wood, insulation, or wall voids.
  4. Excavated termite galleries appear to have been sanded. Carpenter ants do not create the extensive damage termites do.

Inspections For Termites vs Flying Ants

The season of the year can also play a role in helping to identify your winged pest. Termite swarmers typically come out in the spring after our first few warm days. Flying ants are year-round. If you see one in your house in the summer, chances are high that it’s simply because one entered through an open door. It doesn’t necessarily signify a problem. Seeing one in the winter could lead to more of a concern because that could mean they’re nesting in your home. Either way, it’s important to always contact your local ant and termite control experts. At Blue Chip Pest Services, we will inspect your property to determine which pest you are dealing with and help to get rid of the problem.

Can Non-Wood Homes Get Termite Infestations?

Can Non-Wood Homes Get Termite Infestations? - Blue Chip Pest Services in St. Louis MO

There is a common misconception that termites only infest wood. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Termites are after the cellulose contained within not just wood, but other materials as well. This puts even brick homes at risk of a termite infestation—while it may be more difficult to get inside a non-wood home, they can infest a variety of items inside or outside your property. With Termite Awareness Week 2021 wrapping up, the experts at Blue Chip Pest Services are here to share all you need to know about what may attract termites to your St. Louis home.

Do Termites Infest Brick Homes?

Yes, even a home built out of brick is susceptible to termite infestations. This is because there could be other risk factors at play. Wood stored near your home, moisture issues, wooden decks, and more could all put you at risk for a termite problem. The best way to know if you are protected against termites is to work with a professional termite exterminator. A thorough home inspection will pinpoint anything in or around your property that could put you at risk for termites in the future.

Termite Infestation Risks Around Your Home

Termites are opportunistic and, with the right conditions, can become active in a number of different environments. The three things they are most drawn to include:

  1. Moisture problems. Subterranean termites in particular are attracted to moisture, especially in soil. Standing water or excess moisture will invite termites to take up residence in your home. Always fix leaks, broken sprinkler systems, downspouts, and clogged gutters to ensure your are protected from moisture problems.
  2. Cracked foundations. Termites will take advantage of structural vulnerabilities, no matter whether your home is wooden or brick. A crack in the structure of your property allows for termites to easily build mud tubes upon it. Frequently inspect your home for cracks and make repairs as needed. Look for other issues that could contribute not just to termite problems, but all sorts of pest problems!
  3. Wood in contact with the soil. Even homes that aren’t made of wood can have siding, decks, porches, fences, posts, and more that contain wood. Any wood that comes into contact with your home’s exterior is at risk for termites. For this reason, avoid storing firewood on the ground near your property. Remove decaying logs or stumps, and avoid mulch. Trim back trees to avoid branches coming into contact with your home.

Keeping Termites Away From Non-Wood Homes in St. Louis

No matter what type of home you own, it’s best to team up with your local termite exterminators for year-round protection. A termite control expert such as Blue Chip can thoroughly inspect your property and pinpoint anything that may be worrisome for termite problems. Contact us today to get started!