Did you know that termites can fly? It’s true!
While termites are typically associated with burrowing through wood, that doesn’t mean they never escape the underground and take to the sky.
In fact, the next few months are the peak season for flying termites—and it’s important you know how to identify them! Since termites are usually out of sight, spring is one of the few times of the year that it’s more obvious your home has termites.
Let’s talk termites: how to identify them, why termites fly, and how to protect your home. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
How to Identify a Termite
In Ohio, eastern subterranean termites are one of the most common. Termites have a rectangular body shape (there’s no pinched “waist,” unlike ants) and two straight antennae. However, termites look slightly different in appearance depending on their role in the colony.
- Workers are whitish or pale yellow.
- Soldiers are whitish or pale yellow with brown jaws.
- Swarmers are dark brown or black with four long, rounded, whitish wings. The wings are all one length, which can make it look like the termite has one very long wing.
Termites can be tricky to identify. If you’re not sure the pest in your home is a termite, we’re here to help! You can read our previous post on winged ants versus termites, or feel free to contact us with your questions.
Why Do Termites Fly?
Why do some termites have wings and fly, while others don’t? Great question!
Termites are a social insect that live in colonies. Within each colony, the termites are divided into groups (the workers, soldiers, and swarmers). Each group performs a different function. The workers forage for food, take care of young, and build the colony structures. The soldiers protect the colony. Finally, the swarmers are the reproductive members of the colony.
When the colony reaches a certain size, the termites establish a new colony by sending their swarming termites out. These termites’ only purpose is to mate and establish a new colony. After mating, the swarmers shed their wings and move to create their colony underground.
The swarming of termites generally happens during early spring.
Seeing swarmers near or in your home is a very good sign of a nearby termite infestation. (That’s because swarmers aren’t good fliers. Unless they are carried by the wind, they don’t fly too far from the original colony.)
Often, swarmers inside homes can be found near window sills and in open areas. (They’re attracted to the light from the windows.) Many homeowners find out they have termites after finding swarmers or their discarded wings near window sills.
How to Protect Your Home
To protect your home from termites, it’s important to be proactive. Termites can go undetected for months or years, and the damage they cause can be very expensive (or even impossible) to fix.
First, take steps to make your home less attractive to termites. Termites are attracted to wood and also moisture. Here are a few steps we recommend:
- Avoid wood near the foundation of your home. (This includes things like mulch, tree branches, firewood, and even cardboard boxes and newspaper.)
- Remove termite food sources, like dead trees, from your yard.
- Carefully inspect any lumber you buy before using it for home improvement projects.
- Repair any drainage or plumbing issues that allow water to accumulate around your foundation. (Gutters should point away from the home, leaking pipes or air conditioning units should be fixed, and lawn sprinklers should be directed away from the foundation.)
- Reduce moisture in crawl spaces.
- Seal off cracks and crevices into the home. (This includes re-caulking, fixing broken shingles, and eliminating gaps around plumbing and other lines.)
Second, consider preventive pest control. Working with a pest control company to have your home checked on a regular basis ensures that termites (or any other pest!) invading your home will be caught and eliminated quicker. Instead of waiting to fix a big problem, prevent one from happening in the first place!
Call Us Today
Whether you want to prevent a termite problem or you think your home has termites already, ScherZinger is here for you.
Scherzinger Termite and Pest Control is a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter.