Do Termites Fly?

Do Termites Fly?

Most people are familiar with the white, grub-like termites that infest wood in homes. However, like many social insects, termites vary in appearance depending on their role in their colonies. Flying termites, which are also called swarmers or alates, are the reproductive members of their nests. They are the only termites with wings.

Why Do Flying Termites Enter Homes?

The job of winged termites is to start new nests. They emerge from buildings, trees, or soil in large numbers during the spring or summer to find mates. Male and female alates pair up, burrow into the ground, and then raise young to establish their own colonies.

Can They Fly Around the House?

Yes. Swarmers from colonies infesting homes may get trapped indoors after surfacing and fly around looking for an exit. Additionally, since termites are attracted to light, the pests may congregate near open or loosely sealed windows and doors and end up inside.

Winged Termites vs. Flying Ants

People often confuse winged termites with flying ants. To tell them apart, carefully observe any swarmers found indoors. Both species are brown or black and about 3/8 of an inch long. However, swarmer termites lack the thin, pinched waist that characterizes ant workers. Also, termite swarmer wings are all the same length, while ants have longer front wings. Your local pest professional can help identify winged termites found in the home.

Discarded wings are one sign that flying termites are inside the house. Swarmers are not strong fliers and usually only fly a few yards until they land. Upon reaching the ground, they break off their wings. People who suspect they have termites should check for clear, dark-veined wings scattered around windows, doors, and other openings around the house.

How to Remove Winged Termites

Since finding flying termites inside means that a large colony is somewhere nearby, simply removing the swarmers does not eliminate the problem. Crawl space piers, floor joists, and other support beams are often targeted by the pests, which makes termite infestations more dangerous and costly over time. If you find termite workers or their shed wings, always contact a pest control specialist to inspect your home to locate and provide control of the termite colony before serious damage occurs.


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