As spring approaches and flowers begin to bloom, another springtime visitor prepares for its annual return. We are talking, of course, about termite swarmers; the flying, new-colony-seeking, springtide version of the fearsome wood-boring insects.

Fear not! These bands of airborne termites aren’t death from above—at least not on Terminix’s watch. In this month’s blog, we’ve got the low down on these high-flying pests and everything you need to know when it comes to control & prevention.

The Perfect Swarm

A warm, sunny day following a heavy rain is the ideal time for termite colonies to send forth their swarmers. Hundreds of alate, or winged, adults will all leave an established colony, all at the same time, each a potential king or queen of a new colony. 

Swarming termites can look scary or intimidating. It’s important to remember, though, that winged-form termites aren’t capable of causing structural damage. Their purpose is solely to start a new colony.

It Might Be Termites…

Alate termites typically shed their wings after one brief, fluttering flight (funnily enough, they aren’t very good at flying!). Many don’t survive the journey. Be on the lookout for discarded wings, droppings and bodies during this nuptial period, but bear in mind, small amounts of any of these signs is more likely a result of pests coming in from the outside.

Swarms of flying termites are most commonly seen outside, in yards and around wood debris. Swarmers in your yard are usually an indication of one or more nearby mature colonies. At this point, they pose no immediate threat to the integrity of your home.

On the other hand, if you see a full-on swarm of flying insects inside, you’ve almost certainly got a mature colony somewhere close to your home. A termite inspection from Terminix is in order, post haste.

…But It Could Be Ants

There’s a chance the winged insects you’re seeing this spring aren’t even termites. Alate ants look remarkably similar to winged termites to the untrained eye, have similar life cycles, and swarm at the same time of year. Of course, unlike termites, ants have no appetite for wood and are much less dangerous to the structure of your home.

Because they look so similar, it can be difficult for a homeowner to tell potentially harmful pests from more benign ones. A trained, experienced expert (like the pros at Terminix!) can help you identify any pests you might find in your home.  

What to Do About Termites

If you see swarmers, don’t panic

The expert technicians at Terminix are here to help. Our pest management professionals can identify termites, locate colonies, and provide speedy treatment to rid your home and yard of these wood-hungry insects. 

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