Eastern subterranean termite infestations can be eradicated with modern pest control strategies, but their annual swarms cannot be prevented, as these native insects are firmly established in Massachusetts and most other US states, and they always will be. These termites swarm every year in the state during the months of April and May, and they can emerge anywhere, so residents could possibly find themselves in the thick of a swarm at any moment for the next month or so, even if they are indoors.

Termite swarms are notable for appearing suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere during the morning or afternoon hours after a bout of rainfall. Although termite swarmers (alates) are bad flyers that don’t cover much ground before dying shortly after taking-off from their former nests, the sheer size of these swarms can be alarming. Termite swarms can emerge inside houses, businesses, boats and even several stories above the ground within high-rise buildings. It is not uncommon for termite swarms to emerge in urban and suburban areas where vegetation is lacking, and the patrons that were eating at a Cracker Barrel in Tewksbury not long ago know this very well. One moment the customers were happily enjoying their meal, and the next moment they found themselves in the middle of a termite swarm that must have contained thousands of alates. Needless to say, not everyone stayed to finish their meal.

About three weeks ago, the Tewksbury Health Director, Lou-Ann Clement, was contacted by a patron at a Cracker Barrel restaurant who claimed that a termite swarm had just emerged within the building. Clement then called the restaurant where the manager confirmed the customer’s claim. The manager was quick to provide Clement with proof that she had already contacted a pest control professional about the unusual insect pest-related occurrence.

While termites are well known to be highly damaging insect pests to structural wood, they are rarely considered a public health threat. But Clement claimed that swarms can pose a threat to the health of some people in this particular situation, as the customers were eating before they were inundated with winged termites that had emerged from the ground. The health department said that they would be monitoring the termite extermination process at the restaurant.

Have you ever found dead termite swarms within an indoor location?