If You See Termites With Wings, You May Have a Termite Infestation
Flying termites, or alates, are the reproductive members of termite colonies. Most of the members in a termite colony are workers that destroy wood as they feed, build, and maintain the colony. But the alates have only one job: leave the colony, search for a suitable place to nest, and start a new colony. While many of the swarmers won’t survive the journey, the new queen sheds her wings and makes the final approach to her new home on foot—with her new king in tow.
Different termite species have swarms of different sizes. Swarms of drywood termites can often contain less than a 100 termites while subterranean termites can produce a flying termite swarm with thousands of reproductives. These large swarms can be unsettling. But the smaller swarms could go undetected for too long, leaving termite colonies to grow, multiply, and cause destruction.
Small or large, termite swarms mean one thing. There are one or more active colonies nearby that are filled to capacity because termites only swarm when the colony has outgrown the nest. You may not see the swarm in action, but there are almost always plenty of discarded wings left behind on the ground, on window sills, and other cracks and crevices around your home.
Flying Termites vs Flying Ants—What’s the Difference?
Flying termites and flying ants typically swarm in spring when their nests have become overpopulated. When conditions are right, the alates leave the nest to mate and establish new colonies. After the queen drops her wings and mates, the male ant dies, but the male termite sheds its wings and takes its place as king.
So are they termites with wings or flying ants? Here’s how to tell the difference between flying ants vs termites:
What Do Flying Termites Look Like?
- Flying termites can be tan, dark brown, or black and between 6 and 9 mm long.
- Swarming termites have straight antennae, equally long wings, and uniform, unsegmented bodies.
- Flying termite wings are about twice the length of their bodies.
- Termite wings are very veiny and a cloudy, pale color.
- Termite swarms usually come from colonies in the soil or structural wood.
- Flying termites don’t have eyes.
- Termites with wings, or without, don’t bite.
- With the exception of Drywood termites that can swarm from June to September, termites only swarm once per year in spring.
What Do Flying Ants Look Like?
- Flying ants are usually dark red and up to 18 mm long.
- Swarming carpenter ants have angled antennae, hind wings smaller than forewings, and segmented bodies with a pinched waist.
- Carpenter ant wings are shorter and proportionate to their bodies.
- Ant wings don’t have many veins and are typically transparent.
- Ant swarms usually come from colonies, infesting trees, logs, stumps, and other decaying wood, but can originate in dry wood.
- Flying ants have two eyes.
- Ants with or without wings bite, but their bites aren’t poisonous.
- Ants swarm in spring, but they can also swarm indoors in colder seasons when there’s a colony in the structure.
How to Get Rid of Flying Termites
Now that you know how to identify flying termites, if you suspect you spot termites with wings, the next step is to call for a professional termite technician. Choose Hi-Tech Termite Control and we’ll conduct a thorough inspection of your home, provide the best solution, and treat your home to prevent further termite damage.
Hi-Tech Termite Control serves Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, and neighborhoods in surrounding communities. Schedule a free inspection today to stop termites from destroying your home.