Flying termites, also called termite swarmers, have wings and emerge in large numbers during spring or early summer to find mates and establish new colonies. After finding a mate, they shed their wings and become the king and queen of a new termite colony. While the flying termites themselves don’t directly damage structures, their presence signals nearby mature colonies, and the worker termites may be actively feeding on wooden elements. Prompt action, like a professional termite inspection, is essential to identify and address infestations early, preventing potential damage to buildings.
Do you have questions? Want to learn more about flying termites? Here are a few things that our termite control professionals in the Kalamazoo MI area think you should know about these termites.
Do All Termites Fly?
While not all termites possess the ability to fly, there are distinct castes within a termite colony. These include workers, soldiers, and reproducers, known as alates. Among these, alates are the sole group capable of growing wings. Notably, subterranean, dampwood, and drywood termites each feature a flying alate caste, allowing them to undertake crucial roles in the colony’s reproductive processes.
What Do Flying Termites Look Like?
Flying termites, also known as termite swarmers or alates, have distinct features that set them apart from other castes within a termite colony. Here’s what flying termites typically look like:
- Wings: The most noticeable characteristic of flying termites is their wings. They have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and extend beyond the length of their bodies. These wings are often translucent.
- Body Color: Flying termites usually have a dark-colored body, ranging from black to brown or even tan. The color may vary slightly depending on the termite species.
- Antennae: Like other termites, flying termites have straight antennae. Their antennae are typically straight and bead-like in appearance.
- Waist: Flying termites have a broad waist compared to ants, which have a more defined and narrow waist. This can help in distinguishing between flying termites and ants.
- Size: The size of flying termites can vary, but they are generally around ¼ to ½ inch in length. Size may vary depending on the termite species.
It’s important to note that the appearance of flying termites can vary among different termite species. If you are unsure about the insects you are observing, consulting with a pest control professional can help accurately identify the species and determine whether they pose a threat to your property.
How to Tell if It’s a Flying Ant or a Flying Termite
Distinguishing between flying ants and flying termites can be crucial, as they have different behaviors and potential impacts on your property. Here are some key features to help you tell them apart:
- Wings: Ants have two pairs of wings as well, but their wings are typically unequal in size. The front wings are larger than the hind wings. Termites also have two pairs of wings, but theirs are equal in size and extend beyond the length of their bodies.
- Antennae: Ants have elbowed or bent antennae, which are distinctly elbowed in the middle. Termites have straight, bead-like antennae without any bends.
- Waist: Ants have a narrow, defined waist, giving them a segmented appearance. Termites have a broad waist, lacking the clear segmentation seen in ants.
- Body Shape: Ants generally have a distinct body division between the thorax and abdomen, appearing more pinched at the “waist.” Termites have a more uniform, less segmented body without a pronounced waist.
- Color Differences: Ants can vary in color but are often darker, including black, brown, or reddish hues. Termites are typically lighter in color, ranging from white to light brown.
Should I Worry if I See Flying Termites?
The sighting of flying termites should be a cause for concern as it indicates the presence of a mature termite colony nearby. While the winged termites themselves don’t directly harm structures, their emergence signals a potential risk of infestation and structural termite damage. Termites are known for their ability to feed on wood, and if left unaddressed, they can compromise the integrity of your home. Seeking professional pest control assistance for a thorough inspection is advisable to assess the extent of the issue and implement timely measures to protect your property from the destructive impact of termites.
How to Get Rid of Flying Termites
Getting rid of flying termites involves a combination of preventive measures and professional intervention. Here are steps you can take to address flying termites:
- Consult a Professional: If you observe flying termites, it’s crucial to consult with a professional pest control service. They can conduct a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the infestation and recommend appropriate treatment.
- Identify and Remove Infested Wood: Identify and remove any infested wood or cellulose-containing materials from your property. Termites are attracted to and feed on these materials.
- Fix Moisture Issues: Address any moisture problems in and around your home. Termites are attracted to damp conditions. Fix leaks, improve ventilation, and ensure proper drainage to reduce moisture levels.
- Remove Termite Attractants: Clear away dead trees, wood debris, or stumps near your home, as these can attract termites. Keep firewood stored away from the house.
- Regular Inspections: Schedule regular termite inspections to catch potential issues early and implement preventive measures.
It’s important to note that tackling a termite infestation often requires specialized knowledge and equipment. DIY methods may not be sufficient for complete eradication. Seeking professional assistance ensures a thorough assessment and the application of effective treatments to eliminate the termite threat and protect your property from future infestations.
What Are Flying Termites Attracted to?
Flying termites, or termite swarmers, are attracted to specific environmental conditions and materials. Understanding what attracts them can help you take preventive measures. Here are factors that attract flying termites:
- Moisture: Termites are attracted to moisture, as it is essential for their survival. Damp or humid conditions around your home can attract flying termites. Fixing leaks, improving ventilation, and ensuring proper drainage can help reduce moisture levels.
- Wood and Cellulose Materials: Termites feed on wood and other cellulose-containing materials. Old or decaying wood, lumber, paper, and cardboard can attract termites. Remove and replace any damaged or infested wood to discourage termite activity.
- Warm Temperatures: Flying termites are more active during warm temperatures, especially in spring or early summer. The combination of warmth and humidity is favorable for their swarming behavior.
- Light: Termites are attracted to light, and artificial lights around your property may draw them closer to your home. However, they are also attracted to natural sunlight during their swarming flights.
- Vegetation Near the Home: Dense vegetation, especially if it comes into contact with the structure, can provide a pathway for termites to access your home. Trim back plants and ensure a clear space between vegetation and your house.
- Decaying Organic Matter: Dead trees, stumps, and wood debris in close proximity to your home can attract termites. Removing these attractants reduces the likelihood of termites establishing colonies near your property.
- Mulch: While termites don’t feed on mulch, it can provide a favorable environment for them. When using mulch in landscaping, keep it at least a few inches away from the foundation of your home.
Noticing Flying Termites Around Your Property? Call Us!
Termites can pose a significant threat to the integrity of your home, and prompt action is essential. Our pest control experts in the Kalamazoo metro area are ready to conduct a thorough inspection, identify the extent of the infestation, and implement effective termite control measures to address the issue. Protect your property from potential termite damage—contact us today for expert assistance.