Why Do Flying Termites Suddenly Appear

One minute, termites are below ground, digging tunnels and burrowing through wood. The next minute, they have…wings?

That’s right: termites can fly! Keep reading to learn what termite “swarming” is, why flying termites suddenly appear in the spring, and what to do about an infestation.

Termites 101

For most of the year, termites are small (less than an inch long), whitish to pale yellow in color, and wingless.

This tiny pest spends the vast majority of its life underground: termites are social insects that live together in large colonies. Termites build tunnels (also called “mud tubes”) branching out from the colony to protect themselves from the sun. Using these tunnels, the termites search for food to bring back to the colony. The food they go in search for is cellulose: the main component of wood. (That’s why this pest is so destructive to homes. A termite infestation can hollow a home from the inside out!)

In every termite colony, the termites are divided into groups: the workers, soldiers, and swarmers. The workers build the colony itself, search for food, and take care of the young. The soldiers protect the colony.

Termite swarmers are the colony’s reproductive members. It’s the termite swarmers that are the flying termites.

Why Do Flying Termites Suddenly Appear?

Termite swarming only happens after a colony reaches capacity. When established colonies become big enough to branch off, termite swarmers exit the colony to mate and create a new colony.

Unlike worker or soldier termites, termite swarmers have dark brown bodies and whitish, translucent wings longer than their body.

Termite swarmers can number in the hundreds or thousands. These flying termites—called alates—can travel up to several miles away from the original colony on a good wind (though they typically travel several hundred yards). Once the males and females pair off, they drop to the ground, shed their wings, mate, and find a place to establish the new colony underground.

Newer, smaller colonies won’t release termite swarmers for several years, until the colony grows big enough. However, larger colonies may release termite swarmers every year.

The swarming of termites generally happens during daytime in early spring. In our neck of the woods, termite swarming season is March through June. Most often, termite swarmers emerge when the temperatures hit around 80 degrees.

Why Termite Swarmers Are a Bad Sign

Seeing swarmers near or in your home is a bad sign. Why?

As we mentioned above, termite swarmers don’t typically travel too far from the original colony (a few miles, at best). That means if you see swarmers around your home, you’re almost guaranteed to have a large termite colony very near your house.

For many homeowners, seeing a termite swarm is often the first sign their home has a termite infestation.
Often, swarmers are found near window sills and in open areas. (They’re attracted to light.) You might see the insects themselves, or you might see just their discarded wings.

What If You See Flying Termites?

If you see evidence of termite swarming near your home, it’s possible your home has a termite infestation!

For that reason, we recommend having your home inspected for termites by a professional. (Termites aren’t a pest where you can DIY the extermination.) A pest control expert can inspect your home and yard for the presence of termites.

If there is a colony near you or an infestation already in your home, the pros at ScherZinger Pest Control can create a personalized plan to eliminate the termites around your home. Plus, we can create a liquid barrier to prevent any future termites—or other pests—from coming in.

Call ScherZinger Pest Control Today

If you suspect your home has a termite problem, we’re here to help.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, 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 through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.