Swarming termites are also known as alates. Swarming termites are usually a seasonal nuisance as they cannot bite, sting, or even chew wood. While they don’t usually cause damage themselves, they do, however, indicate that there is an established colony nearby. These seasoned termites are capable of causing extensive damage to your home.
When dealing with swarming termites there are three important questions to ask: When do they swarm? Where do they swarm? Why do they swarm?
When Do They Swarm?
Termite swarming season varies by species. Subterranean termites swarm during daylight hours in the spring. Drywood termites swarm in late summer to early fall. Dampwood termites swarm in the summer. Most species of termites have specific conditions they wait for in order to start swarming. They usually wait for the day after a rainstorm, overcast weather, and wind speeds less than 6 mph.
Where Do They Swarm?
Swarming termites are found anywhere termites colonize. Termites can swarm indoors or outdoors, although they cannot survive indoors as there is no soil for them to create their colonies in. Swarming termites are attracted to light and are often found near windows and light fixtures. As termites get ready to swarm, they prepare a swarm tube which they use to launch. When the conditions are right, they use the tube to swarm. After a brief flight which lasts for only a few seconds, they land and break their wings away from their bodies. They then pair with a mate. Those pairs that survive then create a chamber underground that they use to breed and the new colony is formed. Swarm launches are usually spread out over a few days with a large release on the first day and smaller launches on subsequent days.
Why Do They Swarm?
The sole purpose of termite swarms is reproduction and expansion of the colony. The original termite colony reaches capacity and needs to expand. This is usually done once per year, hence termite swarming season. Both males and females swarm at this time. The number of termites that swarms each season varies depending on the size of the colony and the species of the termite.
Because a termite swarm indicates a nearby colony, homeowners should take precaution when one is spotted nearby. A thorough inspection of your home and property should be performed looking for signs of termites. This is also a good time to set up your annual termite inspection if you haven’t already. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can inspect your property and set up a termite control plan.