Termites cost home and business owners a few billion dollars a year. Termite swarmers are clusters of male and female flying termites who leave their colony to form a new colony. They can be confused with flying ants or other flying bugs, but swarming termites are bad news wherever they appear. If termites appear in your home, there may be a colony in the walls or under the floor. Wings on window sills may also indicate a problem. Damaged wood is another indicator to look for.

These insects can slowly do serious damage to any wooden structure. Termite infestations often call for aggressive pest control measures.

If you find evidence of termite activity, call us to evaluate the situation.

The Termite Life Cycle

To understand termites, you need to know a few things about their life cycle. Swarmers represent the most important part of that cycle for homeowners.

The adult females lay eggs in their new nest. Nymphs emerge from those eggs and shed their skin, or molt, several times as they grow. At the end of this growth cycle, they become soldiers, workers, or reproductive termites (called “reproductives”), male and female termites who can breed. While they are flying termites, these reproductive members of the colony are not very good fliers.

As temperatures rise, these winged termites head out to form new colonies. Most of these swarmers get eaten by other insects or by birds or lizards before the termites create their colonies. But some male and female pairs survive. When a male locates a female in the swarm, and they set up a new colony, becoming the new king and queen once they find a suitable nest location. Termite control is a big challenge because nests can spawn many new territories in a few years.

Where do termite swarmers come from?

They usually nest underground. If a termite swarm appears in your yard or a wall, it is a safe bet you have a termite colony out there. If not in your yard, then nearby in a neighbor’s yard. The colony might be underground or under a fallen log or in an old tree stump. Other termite colonies may be found in attic timbers, trees, or in the framing and under the floors of buildings.

When you see insects or signs of a termite problem, like termite wings, call a licensed exterminator.

When am I likely to see termite swarmers?

The answer to this question depends mostly on your geographic location, but the arrival of warmer weather is key. Termite season begins in the spring when most insect activity picks up. Termite colonies produce swarmers starting in the south first, including in Florida. As the weather up north gets warmer, the termites begin to emerge. Swarms can continue to appear into the summer as large groups set out to create their nests. While swarming is seasonal, the insects tend to remain active all year. You may see swarmers night or day. In fact, reproductives are attracted to light.

Does it mean I have a termite infestation?

The first sign of termite activity might swarmers gathering on a window sill or a wall. They aren’t good fliers, so the group may not move far from their original nest. Sometimes, you find mud tubes that worker termites have built. These little tunnels are likely to be grey, like mud, and about the diameter of a pencil. You are much less likely to see the wingless workers who built the tunnel. Visible damage to wood may not show up for some time. But damaged one is one key indicator of a problem.

If you encounter a termite swarm indoors, it often indicates trouble. Termites can and will migrate through any opening they find. A window left open without a screen, a garage door left open for a couple of hours, even a fireplace chimney might admit a swarm of termites from outside.

Swarmers Indicate Big Trouble

Don’t ignore termite swarmers inside your home or business. They are a good sign of a termite infestation. Call us to inspect your property and deal with any termite nests we find. Don’t ignore termite swarmers outside your home. They are likely going to set up a colony in your foundation or your walls.

How do I identify termites?

Termites are sometimes classified as dry wood or subterranean. Most likely, you see dry wood termites in or on your house. Their subterranean cousins live in tunnels they dig in the ground. These termites tend to swarm during the day. Drywood termite swarmers tend to appear during the day.

Termites aren’t the only flying insects that swarm or form colonies. Many people see flying ants and think they are termites. Some ant species produce winged adults that can look somewhat like termites. You can bring the live specimens or just the wings to your local Extension Office (link here), where an expert can properly identify them.

You also use these characteristics of termites to distinguish them from ants:

  • Two pairs of wings that are similar in size.
  • A broad waste.
  • Straight antennae

Flying ants have narrow waists and curved antennae that almost form a “U” when viewed from above.

What happens to termite swarms in the house?

The inside of your house or business is not a suitable environment for termites. They will probably die if they are stuck inside. You may find discarded wings on a window sill or the floor near a window. This could mean termites were there. Or, it could be flying ants.

Killing them won’t help. The real problem is the worker termites who chew up wood in your home’s walls and floors. Termite swarmers could be your only obvious warning of termite damage to come.

While swarmers might not be dangerous to the house, the termites indicate a problem that requires professional termite control. Simply put, they indicate a lingering termite infestation.

Subterranean Termites and Other Varieties

Of the 2000 or so termite species globally, eastern subterranean termites are the most destructive to homes in the southeastern states. All species produce winged termites that set up new nests. If you find discarded wings on the floor or a window sill, it could be a new termite colony in your house.

Formosan termites are another species you might encounter. This invasive species is active in the south and Hawaii as of 2020. Formosan termites swarm at night, while subterranean termites tend to emerge during the day.

Termite Treatment

If you see termite swarmers, call us. We’ll inspect your property for signs like damaged wood and, if necessary, treat the infestation before expensive treatment and repair work becomes necessary.

With our many years in the pest control industry, you can count on us to knock out that termite infestation. Don’t forget to ask about termite protection! And ask us about financing your termite services too.