Swarming termites can often be mistaken for flying ants, and while these two pests may look similar, their damage couldn’t be more different. Spotting swarming termites is the first indicator that a termite colony is nearby. These swarms can last around 30 to 40 minutes, often flying around a light source. Spotting swarmers doesn’t always mean that they are currently damaging your home, but it does mean that their colony mates might.
What are Termite Swarmers?
Termite swarmers, or alates, are adult termites of a termite colony, specifically termites that can reproduce. Swarmers can be both male or female termites, depending on the colony size and species. While these pests look like winged ants, you can tell them apart by their four wings equal in size and their straight antenna. Flying ants, however, have elbowed antennae with different sized fore and hind legs. Swarmers do not have any biting or chewing mouth parts, meaning they can’t do any physical damage to your home.
Why Do Termites Swarm?
Termite swarms leave their nest or colony when it’s time to start a new one. When an existing colony has reached capacity, usually ranging from thousands to millions depending on their species and nest size, they leave to find a suitable location to mate and start a new colony. Unfortunately, the location they choose to pick will often be our homes.
When Do Termites Swarm?
There are certain times of the year, depending on your location and the species, when termite swarms are very active. In Florida, we often see subterranean termites swarming during the spring and early summer months. Drywood termites, however, swarm in the late spring to the end of summer. Weather also has a major impact on swarmers, with swarmers emerging after a rainstorm or when the weather is overcast.
How Can I Prevent Swarmers?
Spotting swarmers outside your home can be alarming, but there’s no reason to panic. There are several do-it-yourself preventative measures every homeowner can place around their home to deter swarming termites. The best way to prevent swarmers is to prevent colonies from establishing themselves in the first place. Consider placing these DIY termite prevention measures:
- Eliminate any standing water sources around your home.
- Routinely inspect your foundation for loose mortar or bubbling paint, and repair it if needed.
- Place weatherstripping on all doors and windows.
- Ensure there is at least an 18” gap between the soil and the wood portions of your home.
- Keep your doors and windows shut as much as possible, turning your outside lights off at night, as the light can attract these pests too.
- Look to remove all tree stumps from your property.
- Schedule an annual termite inspection of your home and property to help detect termite problems early before they can cause significant damage.
While termite swarms only indicate a colony is nearby, it’s important to have the proper measures in place when one is spotted to avoid a termite infestation. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation or swarmers have been spotted in your neighborhood, Call McCall today for a free inspection! Our team of professionals will inspect your Florida home or property and recommend a termite control plan, customized to your home.