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Due to a prolonged cold spell and massive amounts of snow, this last winter season was brutal for residents of the northeast US. Luckily, it looks as though the spring season may finally be arriving, as warmer temperatures are bringing residents outdoors for the first time in months. Unfortunately, the warmer weather in Massachusetts is also seeing the emergence of the most dreaded arthropod pests that exist in the state.

It does not take long for termites and ticks to become problematic once the spring season arrives, as termites are already beginning to infest homes throughout Massachusetts, and ticks in the northeast are ready for blood. Not surprisingly, pest control professionals in Massachusetts are receiving numerous calls from confused residents who do not expect to see termites and ticks before the snow fully thaws. However, experts say that there are several reasons as to why termites and ticks become problematic as early as February or March within Massachusetts.

While termites do not get along well in snowy landscapes, the wood-eating insects love the damp soil that results from melting snow. Eastern subterranean termites can survive the winter in Massachusetts by nesting within soil that is heated by nearby homes and buildings, or these termites can access deep areas of soil where they are unaffected by the harsh external climate. Once spring arrives, water from melting snow leaks past the frostline in soil where it reaches termites. This melting snow summons moisture-loving termites to the ground surface, where they waste no time infesting homes.

During a snow-melt, termites gravitate toward high-temperature areas of a home, such as sunrooms, as high temperatures interact with melting snow to create high moisture environments. It is also not uncommon for residents to find termites swarming within their homes during an early spring snowmelt. Ticks do not emerge as rapidly as termites following the winter season in Massachusetts. However, once snow disappears, residents can assume that ticks are abundant in bushes and trees within suburban and rural areas of all over the state.

Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm in March?