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Drywood Termite Swarmers

Why and When They Occur

Drywood termites swarm as a means to produce a new termite colony in another location, thus expanding the termite population. As alates (swarmers) take flight, mate and lose their wings, the mated queen will find a hole or gap to enter. This becomes the location of a new termite nest where she lays eggs.

Drywood termite alates may originate from an existing colony that is inside the structure or one that is outside somewhere else. Some typical entry points that alates choose are gaps in siding, crawl spaces, under eaves, around windows and doorframes and under wood roofing shingles.

Drywood termite swarmers frequently shed their wings quickly after swarming begins, so most dead swarmer bodies do not have attached wings. This is a good indicator of a drywood termite swarm since subterranean termite swarmers loose their wings more slowly. Therefore, dead subterranean swarmers will have swarmers that are both winged and unwinged.

Drywood termites swarm at various times of the year throughout their distribution areas. For example, Incistermes snyderi (southeastern drywood termite) typically emerge in the spring with swarms usually occurring at night. Incistermes minor (western drywood termite) swarm in California during the summer and fall months, and in Florida at most any time of the year. Also, swarms of this species normally show up during the daytime. Therefore, it is very important to obtain a correct identification by a trained and experienced pest management professional when dealing with drywood termites.

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