Termite swarmers cannot wait for the spring to come! Once the temperatures hit the low 70s, they take advantage of the warmth and dampness of springtime rain. In a previous blog, Don’t Dismiss Termites, we spoke of the dangers to your home or business structures from termites. Termites can be hidden for years, and the damage and associated costs to eliminate them can be astronomical.
What are termite swarmers?
Termite swarmers are winged termites whose sole purpose is to reproduce and breed to create new colonies. The swarm comprises the strongest and most sexually mature male and female winged termites. The swarming season plays a critical part in the life cycle of termites.
Most homeowners have not seen any termites before witnessing the swarm. Our technicians are often sent to a home because the homeowner called about flying carpenter ants when they are swarming termites upon inspection.
Five things to know about termite swarmers
- Termite swarmers typically occur in the daytime! It is like a bit of a warning flag that tells you that you have termites since the swarmers came from a nearby underground nest. If most of the insects are found outdoors, then the nest is likely somewhere in your yard, possibly near an old tree stump or landscape timbers. If you find most of the swarmers indoors, you likely have an infestation under/in your home or business. (NC STATE EXTENSION)
- There are more than 2,000 known termite species in the world, with at least 50 species occurring in the U.S. Termites are typically classified into three groups based on the location of the colony – subterranean, drywood, and damp wood. A colony is made up of workers, soldiers, and swarmers. Workers maintain the colony, construct, or repair the nest, and forage for food for the colony. Soldiers are sterile, and their main role is to protect the colony. Neither workers nor soldiers have wings. (pestworld.org)
- Swarms (and the shed wings left behind) are often one of the only outwardly visible signs of the existence of termites. Because of this, many people are under the misconception that termites are only a problem in the spring. However, some termite species – including subterranean termites – can remain active (though out of sight) year-round, especially in warmer climates. In these cases, termites can be at work, eating away at wood 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. (pestworld.org)
- Except for conehead termites, most termite species cannot crawl on the open ground like ants and other pests. Instead, they build mud tubes to travel between their colony and food sources. These mud tubes are another sign homeowners can use to identify the presence of termites near their homes. Homeowners should also be on the lookout for cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. (pestworld.org)
- Termite swarmers are a nuisance, mainly when swarms occur indoors. However, they do not cause structural damage; that’s done by the worker termites in a colony. Although killing swarmers eliminates the nuisance problem at hand, it does not provide any protection from further termite activity that may already be causing severe damage. Protecting your home or business from termites starts with a thorough inspection and treatment plan. (NC STATE EXTENSION)
How do I know if it is swarming termites and not swarming carpenter ants?
Termite swarmers have wings that are the same size. Carpenter ant swarmers do not. Termite swarmers shed their wings before mating and then move to the new colony. We have seen piles of discarded wings on windowsills and outside homes, indicating the presence of these termites.
These wings are the ah-ha moment that you should heed regarding termite infestation. If you are not sure if they are swarming termites or swarming carpenter ants, call us for a quick inspection and evaluation.
Termite swarmers are a warning sign of termite infestation
If you are unsure if you have termite swarmers or carpenter ant swarmers, call us immediately. Treatment for termites requires more than a spray and the placing of baits. Knowledge and understanding of termites, their habitat, and their life cycle are critical to treating and ultimately removing termites from the structure.
Please do not take a chance. It is common for customers to think the bugs they see on the ground in or around the garage and foundation are maggots. Call us or contact us for a free home inspection. We will get the situation under control and have your home or business structure safe, healthy, and termite-free.
Resources: Pestworld.org, NC STATE EXTENSION