Right on time — yet just when you least expect them — those swarming termites are back, invading the homes and businesses of metro New Orleans after dark.
Cellphone videos on social media showed the flying critters at it again — crowding street lights in a flurry of translucent wings — while those without photographic evidence went on Twitter to complain of an evening marred by their annual, unwanted arrival.
The termites are swarming tonight in New Orleans. @WWLTV pic.twitter.com/m897sQseqt
— Paul Murphy (@PMurphyWWL) May 11, 2021
Christopher Bannan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in New Orleans, said forecasters couldn’t detect any colonies on the radar, but that didn’t mean they weren’t crawling onto the walls of residents’ homes on Monday night.
“It’s that time of year,” Bannan said.
New Orleans: Where some days you need black out shades for the sun in the morning and the termites that night.Godspeed, everyone.
— Jane “NET zero is NOT zero” Patton (@soopajane) May 11, 2021
The radar was busy detecting the patch of rain moving through the area, which is expected to bring more severe weather Tuesday and Wednesday following the nasty weather that caused street flooding earlier Monday.
The season of swarming termites typically kicks off in April and can drag on through the end of June, University of Florida research entomologist Nan-Yao Su said.
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@MargaretOrr There’re here!!! UGH🙀😬😑🪰#termites #covington #NOLA pic.twitter.com/9jgSfC3T65
— margaret early (@lecorgne) May 11, 2021
One reason these pests enjoy making their annual pilgrimage to New Orleans is because the city is congested, giving a termite colony of 10 million or more insects plenty to feast on.
Termites swarming! Lights out NOLA!
— NOLA Celiac (@celiacdiary) May 11, 2021
Some tips from Su on how to take care of these nuisances from a previous article by Mark Schleifstein:
Baits are much more effective than liquid pesticides.
Research by some of Su’s students found that when insects eating bait material return to the nest, they seek out the king and queen, and die at their “feet,” forcing the two reproductive members of the colony to relocate. After the king and queen have been surrounded by dead workers several times, they also die.
Liquid pesticides that are used to soak the soil around homes kill termites directly, though some newer versions also act as slow killers, allowing termites to bring some of the poison back to the nest to be fed to others.
“If you just spray pesticide and try to chase them away from your house, they’ll just go next door, and then maybe come back to your house next year,” he said.