Swarming Termites: All You Need to Know About

To talk about some of its uses, they are used in delicacies in some cultures, whereas others use them in medicines as well. There are certain species of termites that damaging effects to building, plantation or crops. The West Indian drywood termite can be regarded as invasive species. Given this condition, if you ignore the presence of swarming termites at your home, it might cause serious damage and thus calls for extermination measures. In this way, the termites slowly grow and create a big colony.

Exciting facts about swarming termites

Termites are small insects that are called the silent destroyer as they do not make much appearance in the open. They secretly hide to build their place either at your home silently or in the yard. They do not show any damage in the initial stage. These insects are classified under infraorder Isoptera. They should not be confused with the cockroach category. But on a different note, according to recent studies, the termites come out from ancestors of cockroaches. There are near about 3,106 species under this same category which can be regarded as ‘white ants’ but should not be confused with ants in real. However, history says that termites appeared during Permian.

It is known that the swarming termites do not have any chewing or biting mouthparts. In addition, they also do not cause any damage to the house. They survive with the sole aim to start new colonies around your home or in the yard that ultimately cause damage. When swarming termites are found in your house, then it is necessary to call experts who would inspect the source of the termites and take the necessary action. They can either come from some kind of infection or some kind of activity that has taken place near your home or tress in the yard. However, it can be said that more than 90% of swarming termites are found inside the house which is originated outside. Terming swarming rarely results from infections. They usually remain hidden and have the capability to continue with the damage for years.

The eastern subterranean termites swarm from March to April and the most aggressive among them is Formosan Subterranean Termites. It starts to swarm from the end of May and continues till June. There is a tendency among the matured ones to produce swarmer that flies out of the colony in multiple.

Identify a termite

A few among the swarming termites survive to give birth to new colonies as the rest are eaten by insects, birds, etc. It is further seen when any termite emerges inside any structure; it fails to survive for long. Thus, it is an indication of infection spread through the termite.

swarming termites

Structurally, swarmers have bead like antennae which are straight and also can be identified easily. In addition to this, they have a thick waist and a long pair of equal length wings. Whenever you find a winged termite inside your home, it is the indication of an infection caused by the termite. These winged termites can be distinguished from adult winged ants. The adult ones have elbowed antennae, slender waists. In addition to this, the fore wings are longer than the rear wings.

Often, you may notice few termites at your home and neglect it but the same continues to cause damage in the long run. By the time the swarm comes out, the damaged becomes severe. They slowly start gathering, and in this way, few more will arrive and feed themselves on whatever wood material they find.

It is also known that the mature termites leave the colony together, with the onset of spring. Usually, the swarmers are poor fliers and they are ably capable of flying few yards above the ground but fails to last for long as they fall. When a bunch of termite falls from tree trunks or other parts, they shed their wings as soon as they fall on the ground.

the beginning of termite colonies 

If you want to know about How, Why & When Termites Swarm, then you can start by knowing how the termite colonies emerge.

Much like that of human beings, there is the division of labor among the female and male termites. In this regard, colonies also have kings and queens termites. The termites can also be categorized as Detritivore in the tropical and subtropical area where the insects help in the recycling of plant and wood matter which is of ecological importance. The primary source of food for the termites is dead plants and cellulose which are available in the form of wood, leaf litter, animal dung, and soil. However, termites are found everywhere except for Antarctica. The termites are mostly found in the drier area. The problem is also prevalent in areas like Portland, Seattle, Eugene, and others.

With swarming, as new colonies start to begin, the termites start to produce alate nymphs. It further grows into a swarmer that has wings. There is the tendency among swarming termites to pair up with a mate belonging to some other colony and search for a new location where they can begin the new colony. In this way, the female member of the partnership becomes the queen of the newly created colony. Following this, she lays eggs, and that way she becomes the worker of the colony and the process continues in this way. From theses group, some of the termites are strong enough to become the soldiers of the group while others are allotted the task of protecting the queen.

The primary queen in a colony is responsible for laying a million eggs and carries over the responsible until she dies. Then the responsibility is given to another secondary queen of the colony.

the termite start to swarm

Have you ever thought When Does Termite Swarming Season Begin? It is believed that ‘Subterranean’ termites ‘swarm’ as the climate starts to become warm with the beginning of spring or rainy season. At this time, the termites tend to begin their new colony. For the swarming termites, the weather should be warm. Apart from this, whenever a colony of termites matures, it is time for them for swarming. According to research, there is no definite age at which the termites swarm, but there is an exception in this case. The subterranean termites produce a swarm after the termites are at least three years old.

Do you think termites can fly?

Yes, they can but not all categories. They actually do not fall among the insects that can fly like that of mosquitoes. Only a small number of termites can fly, and they can retain above the ground until they shed their wings.

You can also get rid of flying termites by killing the termite population. Eliminating the termites from your property will not help to stop the termites. Rather, the measure should be such that it helps reduce the spread of termites. In addition, it also reduces the potential of the future colonies.

Are termites found during the winter months?

It is usually that the termites disappear during the winter months. There could be a lot of presumed reason behind this. They can either stop working, or go for hibernation or just die due to excessive snow.

The termites are also economically important as they interact with a human in the form of million dollars of damage caused to the furniture. They start living in the wooden structure irrespective of the region on the planet and the temperature. The homeowners can get only their home during the winter season, as they start with their feeding and swarming during the warm months.

Therefore, keeping an eye on the indications of the termites, they can be easily taken care by following the right method.

Have you ever noticed whether termites bite or not?

If you have seen a group of termites in the basement, then you already have a problem. They love to feast on the wood materials in your home. There is the possibility that the tine insects might bring in some kind of infection in the house. After noticing a group of termites for long, you might be wondering whether termites bite human or not.

termites bites

Do swarming termites bite?

According to research, it can be said that the termites might bite humans but their primary concern in wood and plants. The Formosan termites, if picked by hand, might pinch but that will not result in any severe illness or disease. It is said that their pincers are darker than the rest part of their body. The termite bites when the food source becomes scarce. The darker pincers are also useful to prevent themselves against predators. It is not mandatory for the termites to bite humans but in case they are threatened, they are sure to bite you. If a termite crawls on you, it is not going to pose any threat on you, but in case it hides inside your property, then it is sure to cause damage and eat through the wooden structure slowly.

termites wings

It is often seen that the swarming termites are confused with the swarmer ants. But the swarming termites can be easily recognized with their long pair of wings. On the contrary, the swarmer ants have one wing shorter than the other. Thus, termite swarm is known to be a natural part of the termite life cycle.

Termites should not be ignored 

When you find termites around your house, you should not ignore them as they have a tendency to grow on any kind of soil. In addition, the only requirement is food and moisture. Unless you treat your house with precautions, it is sure to come in contact with termites, even if it is a new house. The white-creamy color termites might go unnoticed for a long time, hidden behind the wall, windowsills, or the floor coverings. They are most commonly found on the outdoors. But on the contrary, when swarming termites are found inside the home, it indicates an infestation. The black bugs with wings are an indication that they are reproductive termites. The termites can flourish both in tress and in wooden furniture.

Due to the warm climate, places such as Mississippi and Louisiana are high-risk zones for the termites to start their new colony. During the winter time, they stay in the place and wait for the warm weather to arrive. In case they notice that a large number of winged termites outdoors, then they tend to delay the process of swarming. When you find termites around you, it is an indication that they are somewhere near. But on a different note, if you find swarming termites inside the house, then it is a clear indication of infestation.

While hiring the professionals from the pest control company, you need not have to worry about the charge. The professionals charge reasonably. They use specific equipment such as moisture meter and borescope that helps to detect infection even in the areas that have not yet got infected due to the swarming termites. If you get to contact some good professionals, then they shall also alert the house owner to take further prevention for the future. It definitely means denying the condition that is well suited for the termites to begin their new colony. The cost that is actually related to the pest control depends on the size of the area in which they had caused the infestation.

Opinion of researchers

According to study, it can be concluded, every year, termites are predicted to cause around $40 billion in damage. This range varies from $2 billion to $3 billion in the U.S., and thus several dollars are wasted during the damage caused by the termites.

Insect expert from MSU Extension Service, Guyton are of the opinion that common type of Eastern subterranean termite. He also stated that termite and ant swarms look alike as both are small, white-winged insects flying in a group. It is mostly seen that the termites are accumulating toward the window.

termites damage

The researcher further concluded that Formosans termites swarm at night in multiple and are often seen under the street lights. Due to this, the house owners tend to turn off the exterior light during the night time since the swarming termites are greatly attracted toward the lights.

termites under lights

Through research and study, it can be concluded that termites prefer soft, spring like wood and prefer to avoid the hard quality of woods. The termites usually break off the pieces and swallow the smaller ones which are easy for them to digest.

Another entomologist, Blake Layton is of the words that you have to ensure that the building is adequately treated for termites. You also should not allow any leaves to pile against the window. Also, you have to take care of any water leakage and look after any moisture problem around the house. You should not wait for the ultimate damage or infection and schedule the pest control function much before that. It is never a do-it-yourself project and best solved by the professionals.

Effectiveness of termite bite

After you are bitten by termite, you will notice a red dot on the skin. You will not feel any severity in case the termite bites you. Even if you feel any kind of irritation, it is presumable to subside within few days which resulting in any serious infection or disease. If you are ever bitten by a soldier termite, then it might result in a burning sensation. These categories of termites are not harmful to humans except for the fact that they cause sting in the area of contact.

Before you treat the affected area with suitable medicine, you should ensure that it was a termite for sure. If the insect is of creamy white color, then it is sure to be a termite. It would take a day or two for the normal irritation to clear up. In this case, hydrocortisone cream is preferable to apply to the affected area. In case, you notice that the irritation persists for long, then it is advisable to take medical attention.

On a different note, the worst is the soldier termites that take up blood after they bite a human. They work as the defense member of the colony, and they bite in order to pose a threat on human. It is also followed by little pain or irritation on the area of contact.

Some additional damage 

Apart from the extent of the damage caused by the termite mentioned above, they also cause damage paper, books, insulation. It further causes damage to swimming pool liners and the filtration process. They primarily feed on cellulose which is a part of the wood. The termites can also harm living trees including shrubs. But the woody plants are more prone to the attack of the termites.

Termites Subterranean

Steps to be taken when you see termite swarm?

Several termites swarm inside the house on walls or wooden construction, and they come out through the small holes. These are exit holes which are created by the termites only. It is usually seen that swarming termites flu toward any source of light and gets collected there. But if the termites are unable to find soil, then they will die in few hours due to dehydration. When termites swarm, that is the only time they are visible by the owner of the house.

Prevent flies from settling at home

The beginning of the swarming termites is marked by the warm weather accompanied by bright sunshine. If you take prevention in the initial stages, it shall help you to avoid the costly damage caused to the home. The period of prevention can vary from 6 months to 2 years, and thus you should not be ignored when you notice them around your house or in the yards. Some tips are mentioned below that shall help to maintain a termite-proof house.

prevent files

handling termite swarm

You should not panic and spray the swarmer with any random insect spray. In addition to this, you should never try to cover the exit holes as they need to escape. When you close the holes with the help of tape or any other material, the termite will make new holes to escape.

Instead, you should try to collect them inside a plastic bag and fly along with it. Then you can easily throw the bag into the garbage, and will automatically die inside the bag. For permanent treatment of termite at your home, you can collect save a bag to show it to the trained inspector. It shall help him to make identification of the termite type existing in your home and carry out the pest control accordingly. You should accompany the inspector and try to about the nature of the termites. It shall further help you identify in case of any sign of termite that might take place in some other corner of your room.

  • Replace any damage parts of the house.
  • Replace any standing water source around your house and try to get rid of the same on a complete note.
  • Routinely check every corner of windows, door and keep a sharp eye for any such small changes
  • There should be a significant amount of gap maintained between the soil and a wood portion of your house.
  • Try to plant trees few feet away from your house.
  • Try to shut doors and windows during the high risk swarming months. Also, try to turn off lights at night that have chances to attract swarming termites.
  • Lastly, you should schedule an inspection by professionals at your house such that they are able to detect the problems just at the initial stage much before any significant damage is caused.

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