In the springtime, termites develop wings and swarm out of their nest in order to reproduce and form new colonies.
They do so in large groups, or swarms, that look like clouds of flying termites. These swarms usually occur on warm, sunny days following a rainstorm.
Only a few types of termites have wings, and they only fly for a short period of time before they shed them. They’re called alates or swarmers and are the only termites with reproductive functions.
Termites are insects that feed on wooden building components, causing significant damage to your home’s structure. They can also be extremely dangerous to your health.
Fortunately, there are some ways to help protect yourself from these destructive pests. For one, you can use a zapper to repel them.
Another way you can protect yourself from alates is by keeping your property dry and clean. This will help keep them away from your home and prevent them from invading.
You can find out if there is a termite colony nearby by checking for piles of shed wings in your yard or near your home. If you see them, this is a sign that they are leaving their nest to reproduce.
The exact time swarmers leave their colonies varies by species, but typically occurs during spring and summer. Subterranean termites swarm in the spring, while drywood termites take flight in late summer or early fall.
Most swarmers fly on days after big rains. During warmer weather, you can often see them in your yard or on the ground outside of your house.
While they do not live very long, alates are a sign that you have an infestation and should be investigated.
They are also known as flying termites, and they can be identified by their translucent burnt orange wings with a smoky membrane. These wings measure about twice the length of the termite’s body when they are unfolded in flight.
As alates are the reproductive caste of termite societies, their primary purpose is to expand the colony. They mate with male and female alates from other colonies and start new ones in their stead.
This process takes up to four years for a colony to produce the alates needed to create a new one. During this time, the termite’s body and wings grow until they are mature enough to leave their colony.
When the swarmers emerge from their nests, they release mating pheromones to attract their mates. Once they find their mate, the alates break off their wings and search for a place to begin a new termite colony.
Winged termites (also known as alates or swarmers) are reproductive termites that leave their nest to start new colonies. During the spring termite season, when temperatures hit 70 degrees, male and female swarmers emerge from their nests in large groups. They flutter around a bit, then land and break off their wings.
They mate and then land in the soil to build a new colony. This process can take up to four years depending on the type of termite species in the area.
Swarmers are mainly attracted to light and can often be found swarming around windows, lights, and street lamps. Once they land in a place to begin their colony, they will de-wing and burrow into the soil where they can build a termite nest.
While termites prefer wood, they will also eat any material that has cellulose in it. They can swarm in places that are moist, like flower beds or ornamentals that require frequent watering. Wet crawl spaces and basements will attract swarmers to the area.
A swarming termite infestation can be extremely difficult to contain and will likely spread to other parts of your home. However, you can try to limit the damage and protect your home by removing sources of moisture.
The most important thing to do is to call a professional termite exterminator immediately. It is better to have a swarming termite infestation treated early on than to let it go unchecked.
Another important thing to know is that swarming termites do not bite. You can collect swarmers for your exterminator to identify, but do not spray them with chemicals.
Besides being a nuisance, swarming termites can also cause extensive structural damage to your home. They may enter your home through a gap in the foundation, pipe chases, or a construction hole.
Swarming termites can also be drawn to areas that are flooded or damp from condensation. Broken downspouts, plumbing leaks, or weeping pipes can all lead to saturating the soil and wood.
Swarming termites are attracted to water and light, which makes them very easy to find. If you see a swarming termite, immediately look for where they came from and mark it with tape.
Mud Dauber Nests
Mud dauber nests are made from mud rather than wood fibres and can be found in many different locations, including garages, porches, and eaves. Mud daubers do not form colonies like termites and yellow jackets, but they are pests that can cause damage to your property.
Mud wasps are solitary wasps, meaning that they only have one nest per female. They build their nests out of mud, which is molded into place by the female’s mandibles.
The nests of mud wasps are light brown in color and can take less than an hour to build. A mud dauber’s nests are typically pipe-shaped, but they can also be globular or oval.
Each cell of a mud dauber’s nest is filled with paralyzed spiders that the adult female caught, deposited an egg on, and sealed with mud. The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the spiders until they grow into adults.
They eat mostly spiders, but some species of mud wasps are also known to eat other insects. The venom in the stingers of mud wasps is used to immobilize prey, making them an effective predator of spiders and other small insects.
Their venom isn’t toxic to humans, but they can still sting when touched or caught by other insects. Because of this, mud wasps are generally not a threat to humans unless they are roughly stung or attacked.
These wasps are often spotted near areas where there is a lot of dirt and a lot of spider activity. In this way, mud daubers can help control the number of spiders in an area.
Sceliphron caementarium (Drury) is a common and widespread solitary sphecid wasp that builds characteristic mud nests for their offspring. In each cell, the adult female mud dauber lays a single egg, and she provisions the nest with up to twenty-five paralyzed spiders, which she seals inside.
Sceliphron caementarium has a thread-waisted body with a long slender segment between its thorax and abdomen. Its wings are clear or dark. It is a solitary wasp that lives in the southern United States and Mexico. It is easily distinguished from other North American mud dauber wasps.
Signs of Termite Infestation
Termites are not typically visible until they have established a colony, so it’s important to keep your eye out for signs of infestation. Having a pest control professional inspect your home is the best way to find out if you have a termite problem early on.
One of the earliest and most obvious signs of termite infestation is dead wings. These discarded wings are generally 1/4 to 1/2-inch in length and are pale in color. These are commonly found on window sills and other entry points around a house.
Another way to spot a termite infestation is by looking for mud tubes near your foundation. Mud tubes are created by subterranean termites as a form of protection from the weather and provide moisture for their tunnels.
If you see a termite-caused mud tube, call your local pest control company right away. This will give your termite infestation a name and get it treated before it becomes too serious.
Signs of termite infestation include wood damage, sagging or discolored walls and drywall, a thumping sound when you tap on wood, and blistering or erupting pieces of wood. Drywood termites eat the cellulose in wood, and they can damage it in various ways.
You might also notice that doors and windows become stiffer or warped if termites have tunnelled through them to access your home’s interior. This is because damp wood is more attractive to termites.
Similarly, you may see a change in your paint if it looks uneven or bubbling. This is a common sign of moisture and can be caused by termites or other forms of mold.
Finally, you might notice that your door and window frames become harder to open when it rains or when it’s hot outside. This is because termites are eating and tunneling through your wood to get in and out of your home, so they produce moisture that changes the shape of your doors and windows.
The key to protecting your home from termites is to avoid their food sources and keep your property free of decaying trees or other wood. You can do this by eliminating moisture-rich environments, keeping firewood and mulch out of your yard, and removing any construction debris, such as discarded lumber or stumps.