Termite wings are a telltale sign that there is a mature termite colony nearby. Also known as alates, the reproductive members of the colony grow wings and leave their nest to find mates and start new colonies.
These winged swarmers can look like flying ants to the untrained eye, but they have thinner waists and straight antennae. Spotting them is a sign that you need to take preventative measures to protect your home from termite damage.
Termite Swarming Season
As many homeowners know, termites can be one of the most destructive pests that a home or business owner faces. Each year, the Formosan subterranean termite alone is responsible for causing millions of dollars in damage to homes and other structures throughout the state. Unfortunately, many termite infestations go unnoticed and the damage they cause is often extensive by the time it’s discovered.
In order to keep their populations under control, termite colonies must periodically produce swarmers. These swarmers leave the existing colony to find mates and establish new colonies. This is why seeing termites with wings is often a sign that you live close to a mature and active termite nest.
When it comes to termites with wings, swarming season occurs as the weather begins to warm up in spring or summer and usually after a rain event. During this time, you may notice swarms of winged termites flying around in your yard or entering homes.
During the swarming process, young adult male and female termites with wings leave their current colonies in large groups to search for mates. To attract a mate, the female termites release pheromones, much like perfume. Once a pair has found each other, they break off their wings, symbolizing that they’re a mated couple, and then select a nest location where they can start a new colony together.
Once they settle down, the swarmers will lose their wings and begin building a new nest to house their eggs and future offspring. If you see discarded wings around windows and doors, you can be certain that a termite swarm has moved nearby.
Seeing a swarm of winged termites in your home can be alarming, especially since they’re not very apt fliers. However, even if you spot them inside your home, don’t panic. Unlike drywood and subterranean termite swarms, the Formosan subterranean’s swarms will generally only infest homes that abut their original colonies.
If you do happen to see swarmers in your home, correct any moisture issues right away to prevent them from getting into walls and other areas of your home. This includes fixing any leaks, drainage concerns and excess condensation in the attic.
Termite wings molt and fall off as the insects grow, so finding discarded wings around your home is an indicator of a possible infestation. These wings are shed when swarmers take flight, and they can be found piled up in or around windows and doors. Observing discarded wings around your property can help you identify a potential termite problem, but it’s important to also look for signs of actual termite activity like mud tubes and rotting wood.
All termite species have a distinct caste system, where different types of termites perform specific functions for the colony. The lowest caste, known as workers, are sexually immature and perform basic tasks such as digging and destroying wood. Next in the caste hierarchy are soldiers, which have a hard exterior and well-developed mandibles for defense. Finally, the swarming alates, or reproductives, are winged male and female members of the colony that leave to search for a suitable place to start new colonies. Upon finding a good nesting site, the male and female alates lose their wings, and they become known as proper King and Queen of a new termite colony.
Swarming is an important process in the life of a termite, as it signifies that a fertilized egg has been laid. Once the male and female swarm, they fly out of their colony to find a mate, after which they drop their wings. The swarming period usually takes place in warm weather, and it’s a key indication that the colony is mature and ready to reproduce.
The appearance of swarming termites is similar to that of ants, but it’s easy to tell them apart based on their antennae and wings. Termites have straight antennae and two sets of wings that are of equal length, while ants have bent antennae and narrow waists.
While swarming termites do not bite, they will readily die if they get into your home, especially if it’s too cold or hot. If you notice termite swarmers inside your house, collect some of their wings and show them to a pest control professional or extension specialist to have them identified.
When you see flying termites, it is a sign of a mature colony. These termites have reached the point of their life cycle where they must reproduce and start new colonies. They do this by releasing winged reproductives called alates. Swarmers are the termites that you see when they are in flight, and it is from these that new colonies are born.
These swarmers are not the termites that consume and destroy wood, as this is done by workers and nymphs. The only thing that swarmers do is search for a mate and start a new colony. Once a male and female pair up, the female sheds her wings and they begin their new colony.
Warm temperatures, increased moisture levels and the right time of year usually trigger swarming activity in termites. Rain is also a trigger because it can help increase the amount of water in the soil, which is the ideal environment for these termites to breed and grow.
When the weather is just right, swarms of winged termites will emerge from the ground or tree stumps near your home and fly into the air. They will land on surfaces like your home’s exterior and inside walls and foundation. After the swarmers land, they will shed their wings and search for a place to begin their new colony.
The wings of a swarming termite are elongated with a pointed tip and a thicker, harder front edge that helps them to cling to surfaces as they fly through the air. They have a ribbed texture and raised veins running down the length of the wing. Termites use these wings to navigate through the air and glide from surface to surface, as they search for a suitable spot to begin their new colony.
After a swarm of swarmers finds a good landing spot, they will shed their wings and begin laying eggs to build their new colony. Those eggs will eventually develop into workers and nymphs that will consume and tunnel through wood to create a colony of their own.
Swarms of swarmers are often seen after a spring rain, but they can occur at other times of the year as well. Regardless of when you see them, it is a good idea to contact an experienced termite control professional for more information about the condition of your home’s wood and what you should do next.
Termite damage can wreak havoc on your home’s structure and make it unsafe for your family. If you’re experiencing termite damage, it’s important to act quickly and seek professional help. A termite expert will be able to provide effective termite treatment and give you advice on how to protect your house from further damage.
Winged termites are the reproductive caste of a termite colony, known as “alates.” They’re responsible for mating and creating new colonies. During the swarming process, they acquire wings and fly out of their nest to seek mates. When they find a suitable spot, they’ll break off their wings and burrow into the ground to start a new colony.
As you can imagine, a lot of termites die during this nuptial flight. Those that do survive will be the queen and king of the newly formed colony.
Aside from the obvious, there are a few other signs that you may have a termite infestation on your hands. One is the presence of piles of discarded termite wings, as mentioned earlier. Another is the sighting of a termite swarm in your home.
Swarms are usually provoked by heavy rainfall or warm, humid weather. They’re also common during spring and summer. If you see termites with wings around your home, it’s an indicator that a mature termite colony is nearby.
Termite infestations are often a silent invader, making them hard to detect until the damage is severe. Regular inspections are a crucial element of protecting your property from these destructive pests.
Termites with wings can cause extensive damage to your home, and it’s critical to take immediate action if you see any of the signs discussed above. By identifying the problem early, you can prevent further structural damage and save yourself from expensive repairs. If you’re looking for reliable termite control services, contact Safeguard Pest Control today. We have the expertise and experience to tackle any termite problem you’re facing. For your convenience, we offer free termite inspections in the Phoenix area. Our team will work with you to develop the best strategy for a successful outcome.