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Are those termite swarmers that you see?

Are those termite swarmers that you see?

Were those termite swarmers I just witnessed?

Each year as Winter turns to Spring, a natural phenomenon – termite swarm season – occurs within the Eastern Subterranean Termite population. This natural occurrence begins around the end of March through mid-April depending upon weather conditions.

In order to start new colonies, existing colonies begin to release swarming termites.  The vast majority of these termite swarmers are normally seen on a warm sunny day that immediately follows a rainy day.

termite swarmers

What are termite swarmers?

Termite 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 swarming termites.

Depending upon the size of the colony that the swarming termites are release from, the number of swarmers can range from a hundred to thousands of insects being distributed.  The reason for such high number is survival.  A large portion of a termite swarm 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 feature that distinguishes termites from ants are the wings.  Ants have two separate pairs 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 flying ant

What are the signs that I might have termites or termite swarmers?

There are several key indicators that will tell you that termites have visited your home.  The first of which is termite swarmers. When swarmers are release 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 dozens, or even hundreds, of wings in a window, then you have been visited by termite swarmers.

termites in window

Another key feature to look for in identifying termites is 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 in foundation

What to do if a sign of swarming termites is found?

If you see any signs of termite activity, 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 or termite protection please call one of our 8 locations to assist you.