As you would know, termites can cause detrimental damage to most homes, and termite swarms are your first signs of it. When swarmers go out of their nests inside a building, they’ll try to go through the cracks and crevices in the walls, reaching open air. They typically swarm after their nests reach a specific size, and weather conditions become optimal for them.
With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about termite swarms.
Why Termites Swarm
Termites swarm after their nests reach a specific capacity and ready to expand. For many of these winged insects, this happens once a year and goes on for several years. Thousands of them get produced to expand their territories within a specified time limit. Termite swarmers include males and females, breeding for minutes to hours, with the number generated varying on their nest size and termite subgroup. When the conditions are ideal, many of them launch into the air and pair off. After they find their partner and mated, they shed their wings and find a new place to start a new nest.
If you live in the United States, be more proactive in identifying these swarms since the climates in the country are the best for these winged insects.
Do Swarming Termites Mean Infestation?
Seeing winged termites are often the first signs of an infestation since many of their subspecies are attracted to light and are usually found near windows, doors, and light fixtures. Just like flying ants, seeing these winged pests within your property means you have an infestation or termite problem. If you’re a victim of these winged insects, turn off all exterior lighting. You have to avoid attracting them toward your house, indicating there’s a colony nearby. If you need help, you can always call for professional pest control services to help you identify if you’re dealing with termites or ants.
Are Swarming Termites Bad?
Swarming is a natural part of a termite’s life cycle, and they don’t do any general harm to a home since they don’t have any biting or chewing mouthparts. After all, their goal is to start new colonies in your home, which their fellow colony members cause damage over time. At best, just like ants, termites can be a nuisance, especially when they get inside your home. Although killing swarmers eliminates the problem at hand, it doesn’t protect a structure from any further termite activity that may be already causing severe damages to the building.
Termites cause severe damage over time, so it only makes sense if you start being proactive early on and prevent them from invading your house in the first place. You can do this by availing of inspection services from professionals and apply the many necessary treatments later on.
When Do Termite Swarms
The timing of termite warms vary by the subgroup of the species, with subterranean termites often swarming in the spring during daylight. In contrast, drywood termites do the opposite and wait until late summer or early fall to start. However, regardless of their species, most wait until at least a day following a rain shower as they prefer damp soil. This type of environment aids in their nest-building process, and their survival rates are usually higher when there’s more humidity. Additionally, termites don’t require to be outside to swarm as they can sometimes miscalculate their launching points and swarm indoors.
When it comes to drywood termite swarms, they’re significantly smaller than subterranean termite swarms, consisting of less than 100 swarmers. Because of their limited size, you may not see this warning sign. However, you may see their wings near window sills after they start. Generally, drywood termites swarm during summer and fall. Meanwhile, dampwood termite swarms are more common during the summer, and though they’re larger, they don’t directly damage a home often.
Do Termites Die After They Swarm?
If you find termite swarms around your home after applying treatments and other solutions, you’ll notice these winged insects flying in your house. When this happens, it usually means that the process was effective and they should die shortly after. Regardless of the termites’ species, whether they’re drywood or subterranean termites, they all die after 30 to 40 minutes. They’ll all usually fly toward light sources, collecting besides window sills and sliding glass doors.
Signs of Swarming Termites Infestation
Observing termites swarm inside and outside the home should encourage homeowners to look for additional signs of a termite infestation. These wood-destroying insects work inside wood or underground, making them difficult to spot. However, in some instances, they may also leave noticeable signs indicating termite activity or that they’ve been inhabiting a space for some time, like wings and droppings.
That said, some of the common signs of a termite infestation include the following:
- Discarded Wings – After a successful termite swarm, these winged insects will shed their wings after taking flight and expanding their colony.
- Droppings – Flying termites may also leave small piles of fecal matter in their territories. This behavior is commonly observed in drywood termites.
- Mud Tubes – Subterranean termites build mud tubes consisting of wood and soil, tunneling their way into homes and commercial buildings, designed to protect them while giving them access.
- Damages to Wooden Objects – Internal wood damage caused by alates often gets left untreated until it progresses to a dangerous level. Keeping an eye on things and structures made from wood can help detect early detection.
The Damage of Of Termite Swarms
Termite swarmers are mainly seasonal nuisances, indicating the rest of their colonies, including those who eat wood year-round, have settled in a building’s structure. Most termite colony members remain hidden, continually eating wood and other cellulose-rich materials they find to sustain their colony. This feeding behavior leads to severe damage to wooden structural components and other cellulosic furnishings within homes and commercial buildings—leading to billions of dollars in termite damage in the United States alone.
So, although termites swarm is relatively safe, the rest of their colonies can cause more than just an inconvenience. These termites cause significant disruption in homes and businesses, leading to structural and financial damage.
Termite Swarm Season
Since you know why and how termite swarms work, have you ever wondered what happens during termite swarm season and when it starts? Once a termite colony reaches its maximum capacity, its termites need to find an additional location to expand and build new termite colonies. The flying termites or alates, usually once a year, launch into the air near the surface of their nest to find new spots. Then, the flying termites pair up, consisting of males and females, shed their wings, mate, and settle into a nest to reproduce, creating a new colony. That’s why you’ll see scattered termite wings in odd spots in your home.
It’s worth noting that many people mistake termite swarms for a swarm of flying ants. That’s because flying ants and termites look very similar. Luckily, you can easily distinguish the two as flying ants don’t shed their wings, unlike flying termites that shed their wings after mating and creating a new colony in the process. So, if you notice the insect swarm shedding their wings, they’re likely a termite swarm. When it comes to the timing of these events, termites swarm in a specific geographical area usually launch off at the same time every year. The first launch of the year for a termite colony is typically the largest, and the years after that experience smaller launches.
The exact start of the termites’ swarm season depends on the place. For instance, in Florida, subterranean termites start anywhere between February and April, with the species going for daylight hours. Meanwhile, drywood termites favor summer and early fall for their swarming. Generally, most termites across different species and cross-species have a specific preference in weather—starting their termite swarm season from here. Other termites prefer damp soil conditions and cooler weather, making their nest-building more seamless.
Although the goal of termite swarms is to build nests to another location to create new colonies, flying termites can sometimes swarm one place indoors to another, expanding their presence in different homes. That’s why even if you don’t see clusters of swarmers outdoors, this doesn’t mean you’re safe from termites swarm season. Luckily, these flying termites won’t damage your home’s structure since they can’t bite or chew—but they do create one colony after the other, nesting termites that can and often wreak havoc in many homes in the United States.
What to Do If You Have Swarming Termites?
The first response any customer has to a termite swarm is using aerosol sprays, which can make termites stick to things, making the process of cleaning up after challenging—or worse, stain and damage building structure materials. However, the biggest problem with these kinds of treatments is that people misinterpret that when the warmers are dead, their homes or other structures are now termite-free. Professional pest control companies don’t recommend a customer to use sprays when dealing with alates.
Pest management companies and experts avoid using this method as it only solves the problem, and it’s best to address the issue while taking the necessary steps from termite swarmers from going back to customers’ homes every again. For instance, besides using liquid treatments and baiting stations, it pays to know that these swarmers are attracted to “strong” light like exterior windows. That’s why you’ll often see scattered wings in these areas.
That’s because alates congregate around windows. However, this doesn’t mean the infestation mainly happens in the area. Often small pinholes inside the drywall on different rooms around various parts of the home are likely where termite colonies are entering, making these locations a great starting point for tracing back to their primary entry point. That’s why besides finding the direct termite infestation sources, you need to also focus on the swarmers’ location. There are several ways to deal with termite swarmers, but treatments are the quickest and most efficient, and you can call a professional to do it for you—or do it yourself.
Regardless of what you do, the best way to remove swarmers is using a vacuum cleaner since most of them will die when applying treatments around the house. Termite swarming begins in warmer climates. They often trickle out from small holes over several hours or days, so it’s necessary to vacuum several times over the next days after applying solutions to homes.
Treatment and Prevention Against Termite Swarmers
If you already have termite colonies invading your home, there are several options for you to eliminate them fast. That’s why it’s best to use the following treatments to ensure you don’t contribute to the $5 billion costs of dealing with termite damage and swarms every year.
- Baiting Stations – A termite baiting station works best by attracting termites to a bait source a couple of feet away from your exterior wall. So, if you look at the bait and see it has some damage on it or has been destroyed, there’s a high chance of a termite infestation.
- Liquid Treatments – These techniques are used around the affected property or site of termite infestation to eliminate these pests that have already made their way into your home. All you need to do is directly apply them to the termite colonies or the swarmers themselves, instantly making your household termite-free.
After treating them, it’s best to take advantage of your found knowledge and call in your local pest control and have them inspect your home regularly to uncover any potential issues faster than usual. Besides that, below are some prevention methods that are easy enough to do.
- Make sure to keep wood and other wooden products away from your homes.
- Immediately remove any termite-infested plants you may have inside your property.
- Conduct inspections often to check for any damages on the foundation or structure of the house, leaky roofs, or indoor and outdoor water lines—and fix them immediately. You can call professional services for this for better results and a shorter time.
Dealing with a termite swarm and termite colonies can be stressful, but you luckily don’t need to deal with them alone. So, whether you live in the United States or Europe, make sure to contact your local pest or termite control company today to take care of colonies and swarmers before they become a real issue and avail in inspection services and treatments.
What to Do After a Termite Treatment
If you find termites swarming inside your home after performing the necessary processes, that doesn’t mean the treatment was unsuccessful since it’ll gradually show the results. If swarming termites emerge from odd areas around your home, don’t panic since they’ll die after a short time. When they do, clean them up immediately and save some in a bag to let your local termite control specialists inspect later. Plus, even if they fly around the household after treatment, the termites won’t eat wood, bite, or sing.
Swarmers aren’t great at hiding either as they’re not capable of building mud tubes connecting a termite colony or causing structural damage to the wooden structures. Instead, they go flying around, being a nuisance. However, seeing swarming termites can signify how well the treatment plan worked since they’re likely leaving their colonies due to the adverse conditions, including lack of water and high termite mortality. But keep in mind that swarmers may use existing mud tubes that worker termites abandon after leaving the colony and moving through the treated soil.
Since these termites can move through soil fast, they absorb less of the termite treatment solutions than worker termites that move slower. Because of this, they can sometimes survive and live going through treated soil to swarm—but they eventually die after they leave, naturally or because of the solution. In short, if you see swarming termites throughout your house after receiving a thorough termiticide application, it is normal, and you don’t need to worry.
The best part is that because of the biology of these wood-destroying insects—they continue to swarm in the same areas for 3 to 4 weeks after applying the solution, leading more termites to their demise. However, there’s one exception to this: if a structural issue in the home exists, it gives termites a way to avoid contacting the treated soil. For instance, subterranean termite colonies can survive above the surface even without soil contact if sufficient water sources are available within the area, ranging from leaking roofs to dripping faucets.
Since termite swarms usually indicate one or two nests are flourishing near your property, it’s best to inspect throughout your home thoroughly to see if a termite swarm is close to your house. If you think you have termite activity and have tried home termite treatments for it, pair it up with professional services from termite control specialists for more thorough inspection services and faster treatment. So, call your local pest control today to assess any damage from a termite infestation or find new colonies around your home—and most of these companies take their roles seriously and provide the utmost care for each customer.