It might be said that seeing winged termites is the insect equivalent of having a black cat cross your path – in other words, a sign of bad luck.
If you see swarms around or inside your home, it should act as a warning sign for 2 potential dangers:
- you may already have an existing termite problem
- your home may be at risk of potential termite infestation.
The actual swarmers themselves do not cause damage. It is their offspring, which have the power to damage your property once they land back on solid ground and search for a suitable location to start a new colony.
Flying termites are one of the clearest signs of a termite problem, and they could mean trouble to you and your home!
Experts are always saying how difficult it is to tell if you have termites. However, when winged termites emerge from the nest to take flight, all of a sudden, you are presented with a very obvious, and not at all subtle, sign of termites.
Some ant species also swarm around the same time of year, so you might confuse the two. However, treatment from termites and ants differ enormously.
If you see winged termites indoors, the alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear . You may have an existing problem. In other words, you may have termite damaged timber or damaged furniture in your home.
On the other hand, seeing a termite swarm outdoors may not be too much of a concern apart from the obvious nuisance if you happen to be caught in the middle of it. More on this later.
When Do Termites Fly?
Usually in the spring. You may have witnessed swarms of winged termites, especially when the ambient air temperatures start to rise. This change in temperature triggers the winged termites to emerge from their nest (within some form of timber) to embark on a nuptial flight.
What is the point of flying termites?
It signals the start of a new termite colony. Swarming is the means by which sexually mature termites with wings leave their nest due to overcrowding or lack of sufficient food.
Both male and female winged termites (or, technically, alates) will take flight and procreate mid-air, before then falling back down to the ground. The now impregnated female will then find a suitable location in which to start a new termite colony as the Queen.
In some species the male might die shortly after this nuptial flight, and in others they will survive to become the King in the new colony.
Have you ever found discarded wings by a window?
Once back on solid ground, the female of the species discards her wings and looks for suitable wood to attack and in which to build her nest.
In the case of Drywood termites, this could be timber within your roof. This is where the damage often begins…which can continue unnoticed for months and even years!
In the case of Subterranean termites, once back on the ground, they will dig into the soil to start new colonies underground.
How To Reduce the Risk from Termite Swarms
Built-up moisture in wood resulting from damaged timber on your property can attract termites. Regular inspection of your home is key to protecting against a termite infestation.
Actions to keep your home safe:
- Keep mulch away from the foundations of your home
- Regularly check the outside of your home for mud tubes and rotting wood – common symptoms of a termite infestation.
- Practice good housekeeping and maintenance – repair any damaged soffits, roof tiles, or fascias
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
- Prevent the accumulation of water – ensure downpipes and gutters are working well to divert rainwater away from your house
Of you feel that you might have termites in your home, the sooner you call for help, the better, Call on the experts at Ehrlich to help with your termite infestation and solutions to remove them and prevent their return. Contact us today.
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