There are two main seasons in Southern California for swarming termites: Spring, which brings out large numbers of subterranean termites, the species that lives in the ground with the sole purpose of eating dead or dry wood, and late Summer through Fall, when you see flying termite swarms. Flying termites, the most common of which here (especially in coastal communities) is the drywood termite, have their annual migration period from August to December when the winged pests take flight on warm days searching for any exposed wood to start new colonies. According to the LA Times, some 60% to 80% of Southland homes are infested with some species of termite.

A general recommendation is to have your home inspected once a year for termites. Signs of drywood termite activity that might not be as noticeable as swarming include:

  • Mud tubes, which the light-averse insects build to move from place to place in or around your home.
  • Sagging floors and ceilings, which could indicate termites eating away at wood.
  • Termite excrement, which looks like wood pellets or coffee grounds.
  • Discarded wings, from termites chewing off or dropping wings after they establish a new colony.

There are quite a few ways to address the situation if you find you have a termite infestation. While "tenting", tent fumigation that seals the entire house, used to be a go-to method for eliminating insect pests, this is now more of a last resort. If you have spotted the problem early enough there are many natural and DIY ways to affordably take care of termites such as cardboard traps, exposing infested areas to extreme heat or cold, using a sodium borate (borax) liquid solution or boric acid baits or buying the chemicals the professionals use and applying them yourself (this, of course, requires some research on application techniques but is far cheaper than hiring a professional). Of course, we housesellers know that sometimes the infestation is just too great and you will definitely need to consult a professional termite control company. This link and this link offer some great tips on how to deal with termites and how to prevent them from being an issue in the first place.