By: Jasna Aleksandrova
Unlike swarming killer bees that rush out of their hive to defend it and attack aggressively, swarming termites fly out because they want to mate and find new homes. Certain environmental conditions trigger winged termites to fly from their nest, find a mate, go find new nesting location, lay eggs and create a new colony.
A “swarm” is a dispersal flight of the winged termites. The termite swarm happens fast, with a large number of swarming termites, making it an unforgettable experience if it happens in your house. The fact is, swarming termites do not bite, they will not harm you, or damage your belongings, but, it is no doubt unpleasant.
Winged swarming termites emerge from cracks in your walls and foundation in large numbers. They can also come out though holes in the soil in your yard. They emerge through swarm tubes made by worker termites. Unfortunately for them, not every termite survives to form a new colony. A lot of them die from environmental conditions, or get eaten by predators like birds or other insects. Natural mating swarms usually occur during the spring when the weather gets warmer and we have more rain. They sometimes start swarming earlier if their food and/or water supplies run out.
If you are a witness to hundreds of swarming termites outside, turn off all exterior lighting to avoid attracting them to your home. This is an indication that there is a termite colony nearby, somewhere in your yard. If you find swarming termites inside your house then you have an infestation. Don’t panic! Swarms last approximately a half an hour, they may occur often during the next several days, and then they will stop. Don’t be fooled when it stops though because it’s not over. The swarmers may have finished mating but then they immediately begin developing new generations of termites in new nests in and around your homes. If you don’t fix the problem, you are ignoring the damage they are doing behind your walls and you will meet new swarmers next year.
If you think that you have swarming termites collect samples of the dead insects and call an exterminator. You will also end up with a massive collection of insect wings, because after they swarm and mate, they lose their wings and many of them die. After you collected the dead insects for your exterminator, use a vacuum cleaner to remove the rest. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the termites while they are swarming although you definitely won’t get all of them. If it is possible, make sure to note the exact locations from which the winged swarming termites first emerged. It may be difficult to find them emerging if you’re panicking about hundreds or more winged insects flying all over your home. Keep calm and realize that it’s important to find the entry location for your exterminator because the swarming will be over by the time he or she arrives.
Collecting specimens is important in order for the professionals to ensure that the insects are in fact termites and for them to treat your home or yard appropriately. As we’ve already established, reproducing termites create the swarm, but they do this to mate and create more worker termites which will continually eat wood all year. By having semi-annual termite inspections, you can avoid this problem all together. A pest control professional will inspect and identify any termite activity that you may have, treat any affected areas and prevent this from happening to you.