Why You Should Be Wary of Flying Termites

Why You Should Be Wary of Flying Termites

Flying termites are less than half an inch in length with 4 wings, a straight but short antennae, and a thick-waisted body. They don’t live for very long once they start flying and will only stay aloft for about an hour. Then their wings fall off and they fall to the ground and be eaten by other bugs.

But just because flying termites die in less than 24 hours does not mean you should not be worried about having them in your home. That’s because by the time you actually see them, they’d have already built a nest in your home. Termites fly to spread out and make new nests.

Another important point to understand is that if the flying termite finds a new mate, they can live for more than 10 years. They create new colonies and thrive by eating wood. Termites have a well-defined life cycle and purpose. Once the eggs hatch and turn into larvae, they eventually molt into nymphs and then become either:

  • Soldiers: Have large heads and scary-looking jaws. Their job is to protect the colony. Soldier termites can live for 1-2 years.
  • Workers: They dig tunnels to grow the colony. Worker termites can live for 1-2 years.
  • Alates: They fly to mate and reproduce. Once they’ve found a mate, they will start their search for a new place where they can build a colony. Alates die within 24 hours of flying but a queen can live for decades.

Flying Termites vs. Flying Ants

Flying termites have thick waists, a straight antennae and 4 long wings.  Due to their small size, they often get mistaken for flying ants. But while they may have similarities, you can tell the difference because a flying ant has the following characteristics:

  • Their antennae is hinged/bent.
  • Waistline is much slimmer than that of a termite.
  • They have 2 large wings and 2 small wings while a termite has 4 wings of the same size.

Why and When Termites Fly

When a colony reaches full capacity (about 3-4 years), the alates will leave and start their journey to find their mates. They generally come out during summer or spring, but some species may swarm much later than this, around November. We’ve noticed that termites fly after a rain when the atmosphere is calm and still. They will usually head to a light source as well.

Signs of a Termite Infestation

Termites can cause major damage to your property’s structure which is why it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible. But how do you know if there’s a termite infestation in your home? Here are the tell-tale signs:

  • Odd structural issues: Some parts of your property may break or sag, door jambs may be broken, wooden floor may buckle, etc.
  • Mud splatters: Termites don’t like airflow so if you notice small holes being patched up with mud, it could be their doing.
  • Mud tubes: You may notice mud tubes outside or inside ceilings and walls, near plumbing, etc.
  • Dead termites: If you see bodies of dead flying termites or their wings, it could indicate an active termite issue.

Preventing Flying Termites

Termite-related damage run up to billions of dollars annually. Don’t underestimate the damage these tiny critters can cause. If you suspect you may have a termite infestation, it’s best to contact Alterra pest control service as soon as possible.

Category: Featured