Redwood City, CA

Experts Say: New pest plagues California

Jano le Roux

After being tormented by the pandemic, wildfires, and political tweetstorms, California has yet a new pest to take care of. The Bay Area’s first rain of the season comes as a welcome respite after a summer of wildfires and drought. However, termites are a less-than-pleasant side effect of the precipitation for those who are insect-phobic.

Dr. Andrew Sutherland, San Francisco Bay Area Urban integrated pest management advisor says:

"Millions and millions. Each mature colony you can have hundreds and up to 1,000 swarmers. At the site I was at today in Richmond we counted probably 40 different colonies that were emerging."

Residents in Redwood City have reported flying termite sightings after the fall rains, according to the Redwood City Pulse. A number of Bay Area people have reported sightings of the flying insects on Reddit in recent days, ranging from Oakland to Belmont to Novato and even San Francisco.

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Photo by CDC on Unsplash

According to Urban Integrated Pest Management Advisor Andrew Sutherland of the Redwood City Pulse, the rains have prompted a termite boom. This kind of event occurs just once or twice a year, with fall being the most popular season in the Bay Area.

But, before you freak out, remember that these termites are just hunting for love. They emerge from under the Earth during these periodic “nuptial swarms,” to find a spouse from another colony.

Termites aren’t just looking for a one-night stand on Tinder; they happily mate for life.

If termites still make you feel uneasy, remember that they are beneficial to the ecosystem, since they provide food for other animals and assist in soil turnover. And you probably don’t have to be concerned about them destroying your home. The majority of contemporary dwellings were built to resist termite infestation.

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