You might have seen a termite swarm flying around your property, and you want to know how to identify it. It’s important to note that there are certain types of termites, called alates, that do have wings – but only the reproductive members do.
During the termite’s breeding season, these alates fly out of the colony in large numbers to seek mates. Once they find a suitable mate, they land and start to build a new colony.
Termites are eusocial insects and they have an advanced caste system that helps keep them functioning as a cohesive group. Each colony has a set of castes that are specialized to perform their duties within the colony.
Depending on the species of termite, the castes can include a king (a male reproductive) and queen; soldiers; workers; and secondary and tertiary reproductives. Soldiers are the most important members of a termite colony and they help defend the homestead against attack from other termites or predators. They also use their sense of smell to locate enemies.
Reproductives are the founders of a termite colony and are responsible for laying eggs that become the young, or larvae. The reproductives can live 10 to 15 years or more in a well-established colony and can produce thousands of eggs daily.
These winged females swarm during late summer and early fall to mate with male termites. The mated pairs then swarm back to the ground to establish a new colony.
The nymphs of termites develop from eggs in the soil or in the nest, which is built of a mixture of chewed wood and earth cemented together. They can molt continuously or transform into nymphs with wing pads that are later developed into reproductives.
Workers are the most numerous of all castes in a termite colony, representing 90 to 98 percent of the colony members. They forage for food, build tunnels and care for the young in the nest.
In addition, workers are the most effective in keeping a colony going and may have a lifespan of one to two years.
While a majority of termites are workers, they may develop into soldiers or reproductives during the course of their life. These are juveniles in arrested states of development and can change their role as the colony needs more of each type.
They have soft bodies and no eyes. They are primarily responsible for defending the colony and tending the larvae.
Termite workers have high levels of four genes that produce enzymes for breaking down cellulose, the substance in plant cells. These enzymes metabolize the cellulose into a sugar that is digestible by termites’ digestive system.
Termite nests are some of the most amazing structures in nature. These incredibly complex mounds are built from the simplest materials and include ventilation systems, specialized chambers to store food and fungal gardens, and a queen’s womb that can hold thousands of eggs.
They are forever evolving and never stop learning new things about how they can use the simplest materials to create incredible structures. They build their nests underground in a place that remains cool and damp, which helps to keep them healthy.
These structures are often made up of a mixture of soil, termite saliva and dung. They are incredibly porous, with a network of tiny holes that let fresh air into the nest, while keeping warm air out.
As well as being a home for their colonies, termite nests also provide shelter and warmth for several other types of insects. These other creatures may include beetles, flies and caterpillars.
Some termite nests are completely underground and others are partially above ground. These are called cryptic or arboreal nests and tend to be used by the more advanced termite species.
Other termites build discrete and concentrated subterranean nests containing galleries or pockets of soil and a network of tunnels to food sources. Alternatively, some termites may create an entire subterranean foraging territory that encompasses many kilometers from the nearest nest and which they connect by mud tubes.
Regardless of their nest type, termites can be found throughout the world. They are the most common insect pest in the United States and are responsible for billions of dollars worth of damage each year.
They can be found in homes across the country and are a major concern for homeowners. Their swarms and nests are also a warning sign that your property is at risk of serious structural damage.
To get rid of them, contact a local pest control company. They can inspect your property and determine whether or not you have termites in your house. If you do, they will help you find a treatment plan that works for your needs.
Termites are one of the most destructive pests to infest your home or business. They eat wood building components and cause significant structural damage to your property.
During the spring and summer, termite colonies mature and begin producing alate nymphs that develop into swarmers with wings. These swarmers take flight when weather conditions are right, and they find new homes where they can reproduce and establish a new colony.
Swarmers are the reproductive members of a termite colony and they have one job: to fly out of the nest, find a mate and start a new colony. The female swarmer releases a “mating pheromone” to entice male termites to her. The pair selects a suitable nest site, mates, and becomes the king and queen of their new colony.
When a swarming termite colony is ready, it will release large numbers of winged termites at the same time. Some of the swarmers die as they leave, but a small percentage actually find a new nest to mate and begin the process of creating a colony.
The termite swarming process occurs over several days, with one big launch followed by smaller releases. Some swarmers are successful in establishing new colonies while others fail to find a new nest site and eventually die of dehydration or starvation.
If you see a swarm of termites, it is a good idea to call a professional. This will ensure that you do not kill the swarmers and the mating process can continue.
It is also a good idea to cover all possible entry points and seal them. This is important since termites love to enter through cracks and holes in your home or other structures.
Termites are primarily attracted to light, so it is a good idea to turn off some of the lights in your home. You may even want to change your curtains to block out indoor light if you are experiencing a termite problem.
If you discover a swarm of termites near your home or commercial property, it is best to do a thorough inspection. Termite swarmers can be easily confused with flying ants, so it is a good idea to get a professional termite inspection.
Termite treatments are used to eliminate termites and prevent them from returning. They can be liquid or soil treatments that are applied to the outside of the house or inside the home in areas where termites are found.
A soil treatment involves digging a trench around the exterior perimeter of the house and then applying a termiticide that is designed to repel termites. This can be done by hand, but it is more cost-effective to hire a professional.
Another type of termite treatment is a barrier treatment. This is done by placing a chemical termiticide or a mixture of chemicals within the perimeter of the house and around the foundation. It can be applied in a liquid form or by using a foam.
Both methods work very well and are effective in killing termites. However, the foam method is a bit more complicated and requires a more detailed approach.
In the case of a liquid or powder-based treatment, the product is mixed with water and then sprayed directly on the termites. This is then absorbed into their exoskeleton and passed throughout the colony, leading to their demise.
These products are also effective in controlling other pests and diseases like cockroaches, silverfish, fleas, bedbugs, ants, flies, and earwigs. They can be used indoors or outdoors and are safe to children, pets, and wildlife.
If you suspect your house has a termite infestation, call a pest control company to inspect it. They can identify the species and provide a termite plan to help prevent future infestations.
You can also make your own bait to use with termites. Diatomaceous earth is one option, and it works by penetrating their exoskeleton and dehydrating them.
Other options include putting beneficial nematodes into the soil near termite colonies. These microscopic worms are natural parasites that burrow into the termites and release a bacterium that kills them.
Alternatively, you can use orange oil or neem oil. These oils are known to slow down termite egg-laying and kill them over time.
In addition, you can keep termites away by keeping your home clean and minimizing sources of moisture that are conducive to their growth. For example, be sure to clean your gutters and pipes regularly and get rid of old doors and windows that may be leaking. You can also seal your attic and basement spaces with caulking or weather stripping.