These types of flying termites are similar to flying ants and are seen during the fall and spring seasons, usually mistaken for other flying insects. The female reproductive termites have wings and are also identified as termite alates known to reproduce in warm temperatures to create a colony, loosing their wings once they mate. Flying termites are attracted to light and can enter into homes through visible cracks and holes.
How to Identify Flying Termites
The distinguishable differences of the flying termites to winged ants are their wings and antennae structure. These termites have 4 wings of the same size with a straight antenna while the flying ants have arched antennae and 1 large pair and another smaller pair underneath that. Flying termites have a broader waist compared to ants who have narrower waists and look like thick grains of brown rice from a distance.
The flying termites are social insects that are highly organized and cooperative in searching for food sources to be able to build their colonies. They belong to the Isopetra group where bees and wasps, cockroaches and mantids also belong to. They also have the ability to hide and be unseen making it hard for us to find them, therefore causing havoc by destroying our homes when we go about our day working, cleaning, eating and even sleeping.
The flying termites are fed with the best food that their nest can offer especially as they are loaded with fat stores to help them last a few months till the first batch of eggs are hatched into termite workers whose role is to look for food and construct fungus combs as well as care for the eggs and larvae.
What do Flying Termites Do
The main role of these flying termites is to start new colonies and become the next reproductive for the new colony. As colonies produce new reproductive, they will then join other colonies of the same species in flight. Small and young colonies do not produce alates as they lack resources to nurture these. The future kings and queens of the flying termites look different from the other workers and soldiers as they are larger than other castes that it may seem as if they are new species. While the queen can survive up to 40 years while workers can survive up to 2 years. Their soldiers are aggressive in defending their colonies from other insects that they can produce and spit out a sticky substance that paralyzes their enemies when provoked.
Flying termites, by colony can swarm once or several times in a year after rain or after dry weather during dusk. In certain rural areas, the swarms of flying termites gather around light and are large. These termites however are suitable prey for ants, birds, lizards and other predators that prefer these pests. As they are poor fliers, they can fly up to 100 meters or 3020 ft from their original colony and in flight can be attacked and eaten by predators, mainly birds.
What to do About Flying Termites
Should you find a swarm of flying termites near your home, it may just mean that a part of your home or a surrounding area may be infested by the flying termites. It is a fact however, that these flying termites are natural agents that help to recycle decaying and rotten wood back to nature, thus causing harm to wood parts of the home and furniture as they can also attack these. They are quick in traveling by tree roots, pipes, footings and foundations, making their own pathway if there aren’t any for them. However, it is also a fact that these flying termites are attracted to light, so having swarms near your home may not literally mean that there is an infestation already. Only when there have been repeated swarms and wings of termites are seen near homes then can infestation be found.
Needless to say, these termites and all other species of termites have to be exterminated from your home and in surrounding areas. This is a very important part of a home pest control method. Although you may be able to eradicate these pests yourself, you still will miss some and fail to kill the queen who can lay over 2000 eggs a day being able to multiply quickly, so it is best that the services of a professional be taken as they can provide a regular schedule of treatments to prevent these pests from damaging your homes since termites are small and go underground.
Preventing Flying Termites
You can prevent them from damaging your homes by removing water sources from your home surroundings keeping your home dry and cleaning your home and surroundings from trash like rotting leaves. You can also opt to place a barrier between wood and the ground by pouring concrete or masonry blocks. Attics can be screened off so insects cannot enter through them and if these flying termites are seen flying near, you can use fumigants in the attic but bear in mind that this is a sign that a colony may already have moved in and needs to be removed. Spraying the exterior foundation of your home can and will kill some wandering termites but it will not penetrate into the ground where the majority of them are. This is why professional exterminators are called to eradicate the pests efficiently. Only when the entire colony has been exterminated, more and more swarmers will be seen and these flying termites will be found.
You can control flying termites by finding the colony to destroy it completely as killing the swarmers or the workers alone are not enough to destroy them all. The termite queen should be killed for a complete extermination. The usage of household fumigants can kill winged termites but cannot eradicate the colony or queen, this is why professionals must be called in to inspect where the colony really is. Once they determine where the colony is they can give you the best options on how they would be exterminating based on the house structure, foundation and surroundings.