Looking to get rid of those flying termites in your house? Perfect, you're in the right place!
In this Pest Strategies guide you'll learn:
- What flying termites actually are
- What causes them in the first place
- If flying termites are different than normal termites
- Differences between flying termites and flying ants
- And much more!
The only Google search more terrifying than "flying termites swarm outside my house" is probably "flying termites IN my house!"
What is a flying termites swarm, anyway? Are flying termites bad? Can they actually get in your home?
You've got questions, we've got answers. Keep reading for more info on flying termites.
What Are Flying Termites?
Not all termites are created equal.
Termites, like ants and bees, live in colonies and are born into specific jobs. Termites with wings (otherwise called swarmer termites, flying termites, or winged termites) are the reproductive part of the colony.
What Causes Flying Termites?
It may seem like they just fly in out of nowhere, but in actuality, flying termites usually indicate that a colony has been around for quite a while.
Where Do Flying Termites Come From?
In the spring months, pairs of male and female reproductive termites will take off for their first (and only) flight--an affair which lasts only a few days; enough time to find a safe place to start a new colony.
Once a landing area has been located, the pair falls safely to the ground and sheds their wings, constructing a small alcove in the soil to safely crawl inside and mate for the rest of their natural lives.
Yes, this "landing area" sometimes means within cozy, untouched areas of peoples' homes.
Check out the below video to learn a bit more about causes.
Are Flying Termites Different From Normal Termites?
The next big question is probably this: Can every termite fly?!
Don't worry--you don't need to fret about doomsday-style bugs coming to eat their way through your home just yet.
Flying Termites vs Worker Termites
The king and queen of the termite colony are the only termites with wings, and only for a short period of time. They are the "VIPs of the Colony," so to speak, and their only purpose in life is to find a secure spot and mate.
Worker termites, on the other hand, are the termites created by the king and queen. Their assignment in the colony is to dig tunnels, take care of young, repair the community nest, locate food, and care for the colony. These are the normal "termites" that spring to mind when someone mentions the wood-eating bugs which cause billions of dollars in damage across America each year.
Flying Termites vs Soldier Termites
In rare instances, a worker termite will grow a darker, larger head and a much larger body than normal. In this case, it morphs into what's known as a soldier termite.
These caste members are limited in number and scattered throughout the nest in mud tubes, lying undisturbed and waiting for intruders. It's their job to protect the colony from attack--primarily guarding the king and queen.
Flying Termites vs. Flying Ants
When an insect is flying straight at your face, chances are that you're probably not paying too much attention to detail.
But if you're looking down from above, there are a few quick differences that you can spot right off the bat to help you distinguish which type of insect you've got on your hands.
Ants have very small, pinched waists between the thorax and abdomen, almost as if connected by a rope or a string.
Termites, on the other hand, have boxy bodies which keep a straight, line-like form throughout.
This is the most common identifier between flying ants and flying termites: the antennae of flying ants are bent in the middle like elbows on humans.
Termites, however, have springlike antennae which extend straight out when untouched.
Flying ants have majestic wings--almost like feathers--which layer upon one another in unequal length.
Termites, though, have symmetrical wings--an immediate signal that you're dealing with a termite over an ant.
Termites often get mistaken for ants. Click here to learn the differences between carpenter ants and termites.
How Long Do Flying Termites Live?
Here's the kicker: flying termites live for longer than you might expect.
So long, in fact, that the Smithsonian named the Queen of Termites the Longest-lived Insect.
Normally, king and queen termites will hunker down in their chambers for an average of ten years--sometimes more.
How to Get Rid of Flying Termites?
We're not going to sugar coat this, if you see flying termites buzzing around, termites have already infested and taking them on without an exterminator, is probably a waste of time.
Especially given the amount of damage termites are capable of doing, it's important to act quickly in order to prevent any further damage to your property.
If you spend hours searching the internet for ways to kill them, the right baits to use, traps that work, or various sprays, you'll end up wasting a lot of time and could further exacerbate the problem.
Unless your comfortable with locating the nest, drilling holes around your home to gain access the nest, and then applying various chemicals, it's best to let trained professionals handle the job.
Not only are they skilled and knowledgeable about termites and the damage these guys can cause, but a pest control specialist is certified by your state to handle pesticide and begin a fumigation process right away.
By calling a professional to take care of your flying termite problem, you're doing yourself a huge favor. The money you spend on hiring a pro over going for a homemade termite killer is invaluable; though you may be wondering how to get rid of termites naturally, the sad truth is that these guys will eat through your best DIY defenses.
What To Do In The Future (Prevention)
The best way to get rid of flying ants is to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
As we mentioned above, flying termites means that the termite population in or around your house is trying to reproduce and expand their colony.
You want to catch termites before that get this chance.
The best removal method for flying termites is always prevention.
Preventing them from entering your property is critical and one of the best methods of prevention is "trenching".
Trenching is the process of applying termiticide to the perimeters of your house, usually at the base. By using non-repellent products, if termites attempt to cross through the trench you created, they will die and end up spreading the residual chemicals throughout their nesting place.
Unfortunately the trenching process is also somewhat difficult, requiring the use of shovels, mixing of chemicals insecticides, and possibly a pickaxe depending on how your home's foundation is setup.
Again, we recommend contacting a professional, at least on a consulting basis, if you decide to perform a trench type preventive measure.
Insects are unnerving by nature, but especially when the concept of flight is added to their list of abilities.
The Bottom Line About Flying Termite Removal
Unfortunately, when it comes to flying termites, if you spot one, you can bet money that you probably already have an active infestation in or around your home. This is because when a termite dawns its wings, it's trying to expand their colony.
We recommend immediately contacting an exterminator to begin a treatment plan to prevent any further property damage.
Termites, especially, are a jolting breed which can spark fear into even the most grounded homeowner with just the slightest mention.
By understanding the implications of why a termite has its wings, you are better prepared as a property owner to get rid of swarming termites before they have a chance to do too much damage to your home.
Other Termite Guides
Curious about other termite related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.