I think I remember reading somewhere that spring is termite swarm season. What should I be looking for to find out if they are swarming near my house? Would I be able to see signs of termites myself?
For the most prevalent species, springtime is "swarm" season. This is when flying termites emerge from the colony to mate and start new colonies. The early spring may have moved the schedule ahead of normal. Seeing swarming termites means that there is a healthy colony nearby. Swarming termites in the woods or a yard does not mean that your home is infested, although that is a possibility. The first thing to do is to recognize a flying termite from a flying ant. Termites have blunt bodies, four wings of same length, and straight antennae. Ants have "pinched waists" with four wings of two different lengths, and elbowed antennae. Termites swarming in a home might mean an infestation in the structure. Usually, swarms are the most common indication of a nearby colony but you can look for shelter tubes, or mud straw sized "tubes" on foundations as well as damaged wood. Termites are sensitive to light and dry air so you won't see non-flying termites walking across a floor. Your best bet is to have a professional inspection if you think you might have termites. Note that there are other species of termites which might swarm later in the year.