Are those termite swarmers you see?

Was that termite swarmers I just witnessed?

Maybe, if it’s termite swarming season. Each year as Winter turns to Spring, a natural phenomenon occurs with Eastern Subterranean Termites: termite swarm season.  This natural occurrence begins around the end of March to Mid-April depending upon weather conditions.  In order to start new colonies, existing termite colonies begin to release swarmers.  The vast majority of these swarmers are normally seen on a warm sunny day that immediately follows a rainy day.


What are termite swarmers?

Swarmers, or alates, are the reproductive portion of a termite colony.  These insects will become the future kings and queens of a new termite colony. A mature colony, roughly two years or older, will produce swarmers.  Depending upon the size of the colony that the swarmers are release from, the number of swarming termites can range from hundreds to even thousands of insects being distributed.  The reason for such high number is survival.  A large portion of the swarmers will not make landfall in an appropriate location for creating a new colony.

What is the difference between a termite swarmer and a flying ant?

Both ants and termites produce swarmers that bud from one colony to begin another colony.  Because of this feature, it is easy to confuse the two.  There are several subtle differences that distinguish a termite swarmer from an ant swarmer.  The first is body segments.  The ant swarmer is composed of a head, thorax, and abdomen.  The termite swarmer does not feature a segmented body.  The second distinct feature is the antenna.  On ants the antenna is forked.  A distinct 90 degree bend in the antenna is noticeable. On the termite, the antenna leaves the head of the termite and does not fork.  The third and final feature that distinguishes termites from ants are the wings.  Ants have two separate pair of wings that are two different sizes.  Termites have four wings that are the same size.  When termites fold their wings back, all four wings appear to be one opaque wing.

termite swarmers vs ant swarmer

What are the signs that I might have termite and/or termites swarming in the house?

There are several key indicators that will tell you that termites have visited your home.  The first of which are termite swarmers.  When swarmers are released from the colony they fly towards light.  If it is sunny out and the swarmers are inside a structure, often the termites will head towards a window.  If you come home to dozen, or even hundreds, of wings in a window, then you have been visited by termite swarmers.  Another key feature to look for in identifying termites are mud tubes.  Mud tubes, also called tunnels, are covered structures termites create to move from the ground to the structure.  These tubes indicate that termites are present and need to exterminated.

Termite shelter tubes on a garage foundation walltermite-swarmers


What to do if signs of activity are found?

If you see any signs of termite activity and especially if you see termite swarmers in the house, please call the company that currently has your home under contract.  If you do not have termite control on your house, contact us today for a free inspection.  An inspection and quote are free.  We look forward to serving you, and protecting your health and property.  If you have any questions regarding termite control please call one of our 8 locations to assist you.

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