Termites with wings can be an alarming sight. They can indicate a termite infestation that’s affecting your home.
During the spring, these pests swarm out of their nests to find a new location for their colonies.
They’re known as winged alates, and they’re a part of the reproductive cycle of termite colonies. They mate with other termites from other colonies, and then return to their underground nests.
Termites, like ants, are very social creatures that thrive in a colony. They share resources, build tunnels and establish nests where they can live and reproduce. When a colony becomes mature enough to produce alates, or winged termites, the young termites leave their parent colonies in swarms.
During swarm season, which runs from February to May in the Southeast, thousands of termites launch out in search of new homes. They do this with two goals in mind: reproduction and establishing a new colony.
They fly to find a location where they can start a new colony near food sources, which are often in a cellulose-rich environment such as your home. Termites also prefer moist soil that helps them to build their new nests.
Swarms are usually spread out over a few days, with the largest release happening on the first day and smaller launches occurring on subsequent days. The weather must be suitable for termites to swarm, so they wait for a day following a rain shower when the weather is overcast and winds are under 6 mph.
Once they’re out of the colony, the termites flutter around a bit before they land and break off their wings. They then mate and look for a new place to begin the nest-building process.
After they find a new location, the females will dig out a chamber and begin laying eggs. The young termites that hatch will become kings and queens of the next season’s colony.
Unlike ants, termites have two sets of wings. The front set of wings is larger than the back set.
These wings are white and veiny, with a see-through appearance. They also have two straight antennae with a slight curve.
When the swarmers are ready to mate, they fly out of their colony and begin searching for a mate. They are most successful in swarming outdoors, but they can also swarm indoors when the conditions are right.
If you’re a homeowner and suspect you have termites, contact a professional pest control expert as soon as possible. You can get a free termite inspection and take steps to prevent future infestations.
Termite nests are typically built below ground level and made up of three different castes. These are workers, soldiers and alates (also known as swarmers or flying termites).
Worker termites build the colony, construct the nest, groom other members of the colony and feed them food. They also collect wood for the nest and carry out a variety of other tasks, including construction and repair. Soldier termites are sterile and guard the colony, while alates, or swarmers, travel to find a new home and start a colony with their mates.
These termites are usually pale in color and soft-bodied with hardened mandibles and mouthparts that are adapted for chewing. They are also the largest termite caste and carry out a great deal of work inside the nest.
A termite nest is a hollow cylinder that contains mud tubes and other features designed to protect termites from the sun. The mud tube network helps keep the colony cool in the summer and warm in winter. The mud tubes are also used to provide a protected passage between the nest and a primary food or water source.
Many types of termites, particularly subterranean termites, require moisture to survive. This means they are most often found in homes or other buildings where there is a constant supply of water, such as leaking pipes and roofs.
Some termite species also have developed a special tolerance for high concentrations of carbon dioxide, which helps them digest cellulose. They also have a complex system of ventilation pores in the nest to help move oxygen and remove carbon dioxide.
During the spring or summer, when termites are in swarming mode, they can sometimes fly from one nest to another, which is why wing piles are so common around windows and doors. These winged termites are also attracted to light sources, and they may swarm in large numbers in a small area.
However, because they aren’t very good fliers, they don’t tend to stay long in the air. They also won’t survive long without landing, so they don’t cause much damage by swarming.
Termites are responsible for some of the most significant damage to wood structures in North America. These pests have the ability to eat through the wood that supports your home, and they can also damage the wood beneath it.
They do this by chewing through the wood to create tunnels and galleries. These tunnels are often hard to see, and they can weaken the structure of the wooden object in question.
The resulting wood is hollow and brittle. The wood may also appear wavy or warped, and it will often be discolored by moisture or mold.
While termites are most common in damp, northern climates, they can also infest homes in other parts of the country. These termites, known as subterranean termites, prefer to reside underground in soft soils.
When they find a suitable food source, such as wood, termites will establish their nests in that location. The colonies can grow to be large, and their primary purpose is to eat wood.
A termite colony can live for many years, so the damage it causes can be significant and expensive to repair. If the infestation is not treated early, the damage can lead to structural collapse of your home.
The key to avoiding termite damage is being proactive and reducing excess moisture in and around your property. This includes fixing leaky pipes, air conditioners, and other water sources in and around your home. It also means keeping your gutters and bushes trimmed with 12 inches between them so that rainwater is diverted away from your home’s foundation.
If you’re not sure if your property has termite activity, it’s best to hire a professional for a pest inspection. These professionals can find signs of termite activity and recommend treatments that will protect your home against termites in the future.
Termite damage is usually the first sign that your home needs professional help. The damage caused by termites is typically a symptom of a more serious issue, such as mold or woodworm.
To prevent termite infestations, you should regularly inspect your property for wood, such as support beams in your basement, foundation, walls, and window sills. You should also look for termite galleries and mud tubes.
If termites swarm into your home, you should know what to do about them. It’s best to act quickly before the termites can start eating your wood and causing significant damage to your home’s structure. You can use a termite treatment that’s safe and effective for you, your family, and your pets.
Termite treatment methods can include liquid barriers, baits, or fumigation. Some options are less environmentally-friendly than others and typically take longer to see results.
Liquid Barriers: These treatments create a barrier around the foundation of your home by digging a trench and applying a liquid termiticide to it. The poison is absorbed by the termites as they travel through your foundation. The professionals who do this work also treat the soil immediately adjacent to your house’s foundation and exterior walls.
Baits: This type of termite treatment is similar to a barrier, but baits are designed to trick flying termites into consuming the pesticides and bringing them back to their colonies for consumption. These baits can be protein or sugar-flavored and are intended to kill termites slowly, destroying the colony and eliminating the infestation in your home.
Essential Oil Termite Control: This type of treatment is another option that’s less toxic and more environmentally-friendly than other options. It’s made from organic essential oils and can be a great alternative to chemical-based termite control products.
Flying Termites: If you notice winged termites around your home, it’s a sign that the termites are trying to swarm into your property and start new colonies. They’re attracted to light, so they’re more likely to swarm in your home during humid evenings or in other areas that have plenty of indoor lighting.
The best way to prevent termites is by making sure your home’s structure is properly sealed. This includes repairing any openings or cracks in your foundation, roof or walls that could allow moisture to enter. Sealing gaps in old doors and windows is also a good way to prevent termites from getting inside.
Lastly, avoid storing food outside in open containers. This is a common mistake that can attract termites to your home, as well as other pests like ants. Try to keep all your food in sealed, airtight containers instead.