Winged Termites In The Home: The Ultimate Guide
First thing to know about termites is they are well known for their potential to cause major damage to a home or surrounding wooden structures. If you happen to find them in your home, you should be investigating ways to deal with them. Although, how can you have the assurance that what you are dealing with is winged termites, and what do you do if they are?
This article will help you understand the dangers of flying termites, how to identify them, and what to do about them. By the end of the article, you should have everything you need to prevent any issues within your home. So, read on and save yourself from more hassle by getting rid of the pests for good.
What Are Winged Termites?
While many people think that flying termites are a separate species of termite, that is not true. In truth, the flying termite is a specific caste of termite in a colony, just like worker termites. These are the ones who head out into the wild to find other colonies and the flying termites may reproduce with others found making a large colony.
Some of these reproducers, or “alates,” will be male and are responsible for seeking out others and fertilizing eggs. Others will be the female egg-layers who need fertilization. These eggs will then act as the start of new colonies, so leaving flying termites alive could lead to many more termites in future seasons.
For this reason, people consider flying termites to be pests they must deal with. If you see them during the breeding seasons of February to March, it is a good idea to seek out help from a specialist in pest control to help reduce their number before the flying termites get out of hand.
What Do Flying Termites Look Like?
Mistaking a termite with wings for flying ants is a very common misconception though a flying termite is a small insect which may look like a flying ant. As such, it has six legs, as all insects do. The one you see outside of their colonies will be just under half an inch long, although others, such as the queen, can reach much larger sizes.
All insects have distinct sections of their body, including a head, thorax, and abdomen. In the case of termites, the thorax and abdomen are roughly equal in size.
This equality in size for different body parts means that people often mistake them for being different parts of the same section. Although this equality in size can help you differentiate the flying termite from different insects. The flying ant, for example, has a larger thorax than it does an abdomen.
There are many species of winged termite, so you should be aware that there may be differences between them. Some flying termites, for example, can range from a pale tan to a deep red or a dark brown/black. This difference may be down to many things, including environment, diet, and colony health.
Termite have four wings which extend long past their bodies and can be slightly longer than one inch, or around 3 centimeters. They often have details that define, which can look like a veiny appearance. Flying ant wings are different to flying termite wings. The four termite wings are all the same size where as a flying ant wings have two smaller that the main two.
They have long straight antennae that sometimes have a slight curve, which they use for detecting their environment. These can help the termite find food, mates, or even their colony.
What Causes Them to Appear?
Many things could cause flying termites to appear in an area. The following are a few examples of what causes them to swarm or gather in a specific area.
Like many flying insects, flying termites will find themselves drawn towards a light source both inside and outside the home. This can happen very fast, especially in the case of a large swarm, and they will enter any building’s windows and doors if they are attracted to light in the home. If this happens to you, you should turn off all your internal lights and wait for them to exit the way they came in.
You should turn on your exterior lights to bring them back outside if they are in your home. Although, you should otherwise try to keep all your lights off to reduce the amount of draw your home has to these insects.
You are much more likely to see natural termite mating swarms when the weather gets warmer during the year. Termite swarms are more common especially in late spring, as it approaches summer. This is doubly so soon after there has been a lot of heavy rainfall in an area.
These events are usually around what is the traditional mating season for termites. So, if this happens earlier or later in the year, you might find that the swarming changes its season.
You can often find out if you are going to find swarms early by checking social media. Many people start complaining about them online when it is about to happen. So unless your area’s swarms are especially early, you might have a chance to prepare.
What Issues Can Flying Termites Cause the Home?
When a termite with wings finds wood, it will inform others about its existence. If this is close to a colony, then a large swathe of this termite colony will see your home as a potential food source.
If these are subterranean termites, they are likely to start eating into the wood that exists in the foundations of your homes and start a new termite colony. This might even affect the crawl space or the walls of the building. If this damage is not repaired, your home may start to sag or even be in danger of collapse, causing more damage and harm.
You might also have wood in your home that you cannot check with ease. This might be inside a wall, under the home, or up in your attic. You should take the time to inspect these now and then if you think there might be termites in the area or see a flying termite swarm.
When inspecting, look for wood that looks like it has “waves” in it, or small holes, this could be a warning sign of flying termites or a termite infestation. You might even want to check to see if the wood bends more than usual or if it otherwise appears hollow or weak. These are all strong signs that termites have affected the makeup of your home.
There is no complete list of the damage that termites with wings and termite colonies could do to your home. This is because, so long as something is wooden, there is no limit to the destruction and structural damage that termites can cause. This is why they are so dangerous and can be serious trouble if ignored.
How Does a Flying Termite Find Wood?
A Termite’s antennae detect moisture around them, especially that of decaying and rotting wood, which they use to find their source of food. They can also “smell” certain fungi, especially those you might find on wood in the home.
Despite being blind, they can track one another through invisible chemical trails. These help them work out which way is back to their colony. Termites also release this chemical when they find a source of wood, meaning that more termites will show up once one has marked the area.
What to Do to Remove Flying Termites?
Once you discover winged termites or a termite infestation, there are many things that you could do to get rid of termite infestations and flying termites. Although, the best thing we recommend is to get in a professional as they would likely know better than you what your steps should be.
One of the more common ways of dealing with flying termites is with boric acid. If you know where they will land, you can spread this powder over the area.
This acid works on flying termites by dehydrating the insect and destroying its nervous system. This kills the creature.
The best way to use this is to use a piece of damp wood as bait and then coat it in the acid. Flying Termites may swarm to it, and you should find their dead bodies nearby.
Prevent Future Infestations
Once you have removed the termites with either your own methods or by hiring someone, you should make sure that the flying termites do not return. Try to keep your home dry and free from damp wood. This is the biggest draw for such creatures and will prevent them from swarming.
You can also keep your outside areas free from leaves and other detritus. While not as appealing as a full piece of wood, these can also harbor small termite colonies for a short period before they find a full colony.
Call Expert Pest Controllers
The best step to get rid of winged termites is to engage with a local pest control service. These people will have plenty of experience in dealing with such things. Thus, they will not make any potentially dangerous mistakes you might make trying the same solutions.
They will also have all the equipment needed to protect you and your home while also getting rid of such pests. Allow them to do the job and feel secure knowing that it is a job well done.
More on Dealing With Winged Termites
You should now have a much better idea of what flying termites are and how to deal with them. Although there is a lot to think about and do when it comes to these termites with wings, it is not surprising if you think you would prefer an expert to get involved in the process. They would, after all, have all the experience and equipment needed to get rid of flying termites.
We are here to help you with any issues that you have with flying termite swarms, termite infestations or termite colonies on your property. All you need to do is phone us, and we will start you on your journey to a pest-free life.
Our Final Thoughts on Flying Termites
We suggest if you see flying termite swarms as there is a good chance these Subterranean termites can find a place to settle creating a new termite colony or even worse a termite infestation around your home. Make sure to regular check around your home for subterranean termites and to be cautious of anything that may attract termites. If you have any doubt we suggest contacting us and we will help you with the issue and set up a treatment plan if needed.