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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Termites With Wings

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Termite wings are a sure sign that there is a termite infestation nearby. They are discarded by swarmers (also known as alates) during their nuptial flight, in which they leave their established colonies to find mates and start new ones.

Swarmers look similar to flying ants and can be difficult to distinguish without further examination. Luckily, there are several key characteristics that can help you tell them apart.


Termites are a serious pest that can cause significant damage to your home. It’s important to be able to recognize them in order to seek professional help as soon as you notice them. In addition to identifying their color, you should also pay attention to the shape of their antennas and wings. These features can distinguish them from other similar insects, such as carpenter ants.

Unlike ant wings, which are straight and slightly curved, flying termite wings are completely straight. They also measure about twice as long as the insect’s body. Termite wings also have more of a milky color to them than ant wings, which are clear. Additionally, ant antennae have a slight elbow curve to them while flyer termite antennas are straight. Lastly, termite abdomens have wide thoraxes while ant abdomens are much thinner.

When it comes to color, the wing colors of swarmer termites can vary from pale cream to almost black. The front pair of wings is a translucent milky color, while the back pair is a darker shade. Swarmer termite wings are typically mounted close together on the insect’s thorax.

In addition to color, swarmer termite wings can be identified by their venation patterns. These veins create a lacy appearance on the wings and can be helpful in distinguishing them from other insects, such as ants. The venation pattern of swarmer termite wings is often parallel, with numerous cross-veins that form cells that are rectangular or square-shaped. In contrast, ant wings are more likely to have a zig-zag pattern.

Swarmer termites, or alates, are the reproductive caste members of a termite colony. They leave the nest to search for a new home and start new colonies. When swarmers see their target location, they shed their wings and take flight. In the process, they release pheromones that attract other termites to the area.

In order to identify swarmers, you can look for piles of discarded wings around your home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these discarded wings may be the result of a different kind of infestation. For example, swarms of winged ants are often mistaken for swarmers of termites, and they can cause the same kind of damage.

Venation patterns

The venation patterns on termite wings can be a distinguishing characteristic, especially when spotting a swarm. The wing is flattened and is divided into dorsal and ventral laminae that are connected along certain lines and provide a series of veins or nerves to nourish the wing. Typically, the wing veins are parallel and form a pattern of cells arranged in a zig-zag fashion.

The wings of most termites are a light beige or golden color and are translucent, making them easy to see. Their antennae are usually straight and long, unlike ants which have short, curved antennae. Termites are also more segmented than ants. They have a long body that is a uniform width from head to abdomen, while ants have a well-defined waist.

Termites are attracted to bright lights, which may explain why they are often seen in large numbers swarming around indoor lighting fixtures. They are also attracted to water, which explains why swarms sometimes leave droppings (known as frass) near water-drain pipes in homes and businesses.

Swarming is a process by which mature termites with wings leave their established colonies to seek mates and establish new colonies elsewhere. This is usually triggered by overcrowding or lack of sufficient food in the current colony. The swarmers shed their wings after finding a suitable nest site and mate, and the male termite will break off his wings to signal to the female that they have mated.

Flying termites are known as alates and belong to the reproductive caste of the termite species. They are the only members of a termite colony that have wings and can fly short distances at certain times of year.

It is important to note that the wings of swarmers are different from those of workers and soldiers. Alates have a prominent front vein, simplified pattern of cells, and rounded tips on their wings. The wings of subterranean, dampwood, and drywood termites have a similar appearance. However, the wings of Formosan termites have more veins and a more complex pattern of cell formations than other types of termite alates.


When people think of termites, they often picture a colony of wingless workers and soldiers tunneling through wood or underground. However, a certain subset of termites, known as winged termites or alates, have wings during the reproductive stage and are responsible for creating new termite colonies. Winged termites are also referred to as swarmers. The presence of swarmers in or around a home can be an indication that an existing termite colony is close by. When swarmers reach the end of their life span in a colony, they shed their wings and become sterile workers and soldiers.

The body of a winged termite is long and slender. It has two pairs of wings that are the same length and extend backward from its abdomen. At rest, the wings are translucent and look almost milky in color. These wings are usually a pale tan color but can also be dark brown, black, or white. Wing color is influenced by the species of termite, its environment, and diet.

Termite wings are thin, membranous, and delicate with a translucent appearance. They are also covered in a network of veins that give the wings a lacy texture. Unlike the wings of ants, which are typically two different sizes and have more veins, termite wings are nearly identical in size and shape. The front pair of wings is longer than the rear pair.

Wing venation patterns are another key feature to recognize when spotting a termite swarm. While ants’ wings have straight veins that are more clearly defined, termite wings are more complicated and have a pattern of cross-veins that create a zigzag design.

In addition to identifying the swarmers’ wings, homeowners should be on the lookout for other signs of an infestation. For example, if swarmers are found near a light fixture or on the windowsill, it is likely that there is an active termite nest nearby. Additionally, discarded wings can be seen on the ground or in cracks and crevices throughout the house.

While the swarmers are very poor fliers, they are still an important indicator of termite activity in the area. Since the swarmers are trying to pair up and start new colonies, they will spend time in areas with the most favorable conditions for laying eggs. As such, swarmers are most commonly seen during or after rainstorms.


While termites may not look like much at first glance, there are several things that you can keep an eye out for to identify these pests. For starters, their wings are the most distinctive feature. They are elongated, with a pointed tip at one end and a thicker, harder front edge at the other. They are also translucent in appearance, with raised veins that resemble a stained glass window.

The wings are typically around the same length, which distinguishes them from flying ants, which have two wings that are longer than the other two. They are also thicker and harder than ant wings, making them more durable and providing support during flight. Lastly, their antennae are straight and short, unlike the more curved antennae of ants.

As mentioned earlier, only a certain caste of termites has wings, which is why it’s important to know what to look for when it comes to spotting them. Winged termites are known as “alates,” and they swarm in groups during a specific time of year as they search for mates. Once they find a match, they will pair off and establish a new colony together.

Flying termites are poor fliers, which is why it’s uncommon to see them traveling far from their original nest. In fact, it’s more likely that you’ll spot them in areas of your home where they can take advantage of the warm air and light coming from windows or other light sources.

Because of the size and shape of their wings, termite swarmers are often mistaken for flying ants. However, the two insects are not alike in other ways, including their body shapes and antennae. Ants have a distinct waist, while termites are usually uniformly shaped from head to abdomen. Termites’ four wings are all the same length, while ants have two top wings that are twice as long as their bottom wings.

Seeing termite swarmers is always a bad sign, but it’s especially concerning when you see large numbers of them in the same area. This is because they can indicate that an existing termite infestation has already reached the stage where the swarmers are able to leave their colonies in search of mates.

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