Springtime marks the peak of flying termite season in the Southeast. Swarmers — termites that can fly — are sent out by the thousands in search of new colonies.
Whether you’ve come here looking for answers to your termite questions or just now wondering “wait, do termites fly? Should I be worried?”, you’re in the right place.
Swarming is a natural occurrence that happens once a subterranean termite colony grows to a “mature” size. When they do, termites fly out in great numbers, each one a potential king or queen of a new termite colony.
Springtime is when most termite colonies begin to swarm, most often on warm, sunny days following a rainstorm. To the untrained eye, the clouds of flying termites look remarkably like hundreds of dandelion seeds blowing in the wind.
Seeing these massive flying termite swarms can be quite terrifying to some people, but in reality the swarmers do not cause any structural damage.
If a winged termite flies in your house, don’t panic! Keep reading to discover what you need to know about protecting your home and family from flying termites.
Why Do Flying Termites Enter Homes?
In the Southeast, it isn’t uncommon to see flying termites in homes during the spring. But why are they swarming in the first place? Swarmer termites are all potential kings and queens of new colonies. When a subterranean termite colony gets to a certain size (usually around 3 to 5 years), they start producing the alates (termites with wings), or swarmers.
These flying termites are larger than the worker termites, darker in color, and have compound eyes to allow them to see during the nuptial flight. Worker termites are the small, white, blind termites that actually do all the damage. Typically, a colony can produce several hundred swarmer termites that just hang out until the conditions are right for them to all leave the colony at once.
Worried about flying termites in your house? Request a free inspection today.
Can Termites Fly Around the House?
Yes, but there is a limit to how far and how well winged termites can fly. All things considered, they aren’t particularly good at it.
To start, winged termites can fly only for a few days – after they leave the colony, they flutter around a bit, then land and break off their termite wings soon afterwards, since they don’t plan on flying anymore. The now de-winged swarmer termites then begin searching for a suitable place to start a new colony. Males will follow females in tandem until she finds a place (usually in wet soil next to a wood source) to dig out a chamber and begin mating.
Even though several hundred swarmers are produced, only a very small percentage survive long enough to produce new colonies. Most get eaten by birds, lizards, and other small animals and many die when they land on parking lots, roads, building roofs, and other surfaces that get hot.
Winged Termites vs. Flying Ants
Ants and termites have similar life cycles as they are both social insects that live in colonies. Ant colonies will also produce swarmers (winged ants) at certain times and swarming may take place the same time termites are swarming.
To most people, flying ant and flying termite swarmers may look the same. However, there are ways to distinguish the two types of insects and well-trained pest professionals are able to do so quite easily.
How to Remove Winged Termites
What should you do if you find a flying termite in your house? Try to determine where it came from.
If you happen to find a handful of swarmers or even just a few discarded termite wings present inside your home, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a termite infestation. You most likely have one to several termite colonies living in your yard.
When conditions are right, more than one colony may swarm at the same time. It is not uncommon for a few individuals from these swarms to end up crawling into your home.
Again, these will not do any damage and will most likely die fairly quickly, but it’s always a good idea to contact Terminix to perform an inspection just to make sure.
On the other hand, if the swarm is coming from inside your home, you should call in the professional termite control from Terminix ASAP. Because unfortunately, your home is currently infested with termites.
Luckily, Terminix is here to help.
Hire Terminix Termite Treatment
All over the Southeast, people Trust Terminix when it comes to termites and other pests. We’ve been providing professional termite control and treatment in the Southeast for 75 years now.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your home. Arrange for a free inspection today, meet with a local expert technician, and discover the power of the strongest guarantee in the industry.