If you’re like most homeowners, your first instinct when you spot a swarm of small insects flying or crawling around your home might be to think that it’s a termite infestation. But it’s important to understand that not all termites have wings.
One of the most common types of termites to affect American homes and other structures are subterranean termites. These pests tunnel through wood, destroying its cellulose and eventually weakening it to the point of needing repairs or replacement.
Termite swarming can be one of the most interesting and memorable sights in your home. These winged termites are not dangerous to humans and do not bite or sting, but they can be very disconcerting.
During certain environmental conditions, winged termites will take flight and search for a mate. When they find a suitable mate, the termites will then search for a nesting site and lay eggs to create new colonies.
These swarming termites can be seen from afar but can also be found crawling around on your foundation or the inside of your house. These swarming termites are looking for new nesting sites and food sources.
Swarming termites will gather in locations with low-wind and diffuse light. If you see a swarm of termites, it is best to call in a pest control expert as they will be able to determine what type of termites are swarming on your property.
The first thing you should do is inspect your property for any warning signs that could indicate a termite infestation. This could include mud tubes on your foundation, hollow wood or damaged trees. You may also find a pile of tiny wings that have fallen to the ground.
A close examination of these termites can reveal that they have four wings (two front and back pairs), straight antennae and a broad waist. This is different from flying ants who have a more pinched waistline and three body segments.
Another key difference between termites and flying ants is that termites have wings that are equal in length. Termites will usually stack their wings on top of each other when they are not flying and you will often find discarded wings from a termite swarm in your yard.
Finally, termites have a broader waistline and 2 body segments that are straight while flying ants have 3 distinct body segments that narrow at the waist.
While it is possible to confuse a termite swarm with a carpenter ant swarm, it is important to know the difference before calling in a pest control company. The key difference between these insects is that termites have four wings that are of equal size and are easily broken. Flying ants, on the other hand, have wings that are not of equal length and they are more flexible in their wing shape.
Pile of Tiny Wings
If you live in a place where termites are common, chances are you’ve seen a pile of tiny wings. Often these are the female termites that have just left a colony in search of new homes.
These insects are called swarmers and can be seen in the spring or summer, usually after a rain. This is when they leave their colonies in search of a mate and a nest site.
As they search, they carry the larvae they’ve just hatched with them. These larvae will evolve into workers, soldiers and, if they’re lucky, reproductives that can reach a length of about one inch.
Once they reach the reproductive stage, they become king and queen termites, which are the largest termites in the colony. These termites can grow to a length of two inches or more, depending on the species.
During this time, the colony can grow very large. Sometimes, the number of termites in a colony can exceed a million.
It is important to know that termites can be found virtually anywhere they want, including in your home. If you spot a swarm, it’s best to get a professional inspection to determine what pest is causing the problem and whether or not it needs treatment.
Another way you can tell if you have termites in your home is to look for fecal pellets that drywood termites leave behind after eating wood. These pellets are made of six concave surfaces on the sides, making them distinguishable from fecal pellets left by other pests like beetles.
In addition to these signs, you can also look for mud tubes that termites build using soil and dirt. These tunnels can be seen lining the foundation of your house, especially on your back patio or front porch.
When you notice these mud tubes, be sure to scrape away any mud that’s in them and inspect the rest of your house closely for evidence of a termite infestation.
Termites are incredibly difficult to detect because they hide so well and can enter your home through hidden cracks. You can usually only see these signs of an infestation when the population has grown enough to cause visible damage or produce swarmers.
Termites are silent destroyers, tunneling into wood and consuming its cellulose–the organic compound that gives it strength and shape. They cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage in the United States every year, and can cause significant structural problems in buildings.
These insects are also a source of concern to homeowners, especially when they begin to swarm around the house in large numbers. However, swarming is a normal and natural process that’s part of the life cycle of a termite colony.
The first stage in a termite’s life cycle is the nymphal stage, which starts when larvae hatch from eggs. These nymphs spend a few days in the center of a termite colony before developing into soldiers, workers or reproductives. The three types of caste members each have a unique physical makeup that allows them to do their assigned duties within the colony.
Termite colonies are highly organized. Each colony has a king and queen, who lay eggs that form the foundation of a new colony. The king and queen control the emergence of soldiers, workers and reproductives, and produce pheromones that regulate life in the colony.
In mature colonies, a queen and king may lay thousands of eggs each day. This leads to a constant cycle of reproduction, as nymphs grow into workers and eventually into soldiers. Whenever one of these reproductives dies, the pheromones disappear, and a new queen or king is chosen by the colony to become the primary reproductive.
While the mechanism behind how termites differentiate into a soldier, a worker or a reproductive is not completely understood, there are some clues. The king and queen control the number of nymphs that develop into soldiers, workers and reproductives by releasing pheromones into the colony.
When a nymph molts into a soldier, it develops a large head with a mandible for defending the colony. This body type makes it hard for it to feed on its own, so the worker termites are assigned to do this task.
A worker termite has a much smaller head than the soldier, but it has a larger body and has large legs and an enlarged abdomen for food gathering. In addition, workers can reproduce, but they only do so when a female termite is present in the colony.
When termite colonies are mature enough, a group of reproductive stage termites develop wings and leave the colony to seek mates and form new nests. Often, they do this by flying or swarming.
When they are swarming, the alates release a pheromone to attract male termites from other colonies to their location. As the swarm spreads, the alates mate and then land and shed their wings. The swarming termites are then sent to start new colonies in other hospitable locations.
Swarming termites are most common during Spring and Summer when the weather is warm and humidity levels rise. This is when termites are looking to increase their numbers quickly.
During this time, it is not uncommon for termites to swarm outdoors and then crawl into homes to seek out food. If you see a swarm, call a pest control professional right away to schedule a termite inspection.
Flying termites can be a big nuisance and are easy to miss if you are not looking for them. They can appear similar to ants and may even be mistaken for them in some cases. However, there are some major differences to be on the lookout for.
They are long and elongated creatures with straight antennae and four wings that are longer than their bodies. They can be light brown or dark brown in colour and have many veins on their wings.
In general, flying termites are a nuisance and cause damage to your property. You should never let them take over your home and should be proactive about preventing the problem before it starts.
The best way to prevent an infestation is to keep the ground around your home free from mulch, plants or anything else that could be attractive to termites. If you do have a problem, consider contacting a termite control company to come in and spray the area to get rid of the issue for good.
Another important step to take is to keep moisture levels at bay by sealing off any gaps in your home’s foundation or exterior wall. Keeping these areas dry also keeps termites from finding their way inside. In addition, you should regularly check the wood that makes up your roof and basement for signs of swarming.