Why should you care about flying termites? Cue ominous sound effects…
Well, one might go as far as to say that seeing winged termites is the insect equivalent of breaking a mirror or walking beneath a ladder; in other words, a sign of bad luck.
If you see termite swarms around or inside your home, it should act as a warning sign for two potential dangers:
1. You may already have an existing termite problem
2. 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. This unfortunately could be your very residence!
Flying termites are one of the most evident signs of a termite problem, and they could mean trouble for you and your home!
Experts are always telling us how difficult it is to tell if you have termites. However, when winged termites emerge from the nest and take flight, all of a sudden you are presented with a very obvious sign of termites.
Although as some ant species also swarm around the same time of year, you could be forgiven for confusing the two. And, of course, the treatment for termites differs enormously to that for ants.
If you see winged termites indoors, the alarm bells should start ringing loud and clear; you may have an existing termite problem. In other words, you may have termite damaged timber or furniture in your home.
On the other hand, seeing a termite swarm outdoors may not be too much of a cause for concern, apart from the obvious nuisance if you happen to get caught in the middle of it! My inner girly-girl is already madly swatting her arms in scaredy cat mode!
When Do Termites Fly?
Usually in the spring. You may have witnessed swarms of winged termites, especially when the ambient air temperature starts to rise. This change in temperature triggers the winged termites to emerge from their nest (within some form of timber) and to embark on a nuptial flight. Aw how romantic… or not!
What is the point of flying termites?
Termite flight 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 food supply. Both male and female winged termites (or alates, to give them their technical name) will take flight and procreate mid-air, before then falling back down to the ground. The now impregnated female has the role of finding 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 (alongside the Queen of course).
Have you ever found wings left behind at 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 potential damage begins…and 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.
Have you noticed Termite Swarms? Here’s how to reduce the risk:
Damaged timber on your property can lead to built-up moisture that could attract termites. Regular inspection of your home has to be a key activity to protection against a termite infestation.
How you can keep your home safe against termite swarms:
- Be sure to keep mulch away from the foundations of your home
- Regularly check the outside of your home for mud tubes and rotting wood which are a common indicator of a termite infestation.
- Exercise good housekeeping and maintenance and repair any damaged roof tiles or fascias, arches or over-hanging eaves.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
- Prevent the accumulation of water by ensuring down pipes and gutters are working well to divert rainwater away from your house
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