Winged Termites

Termites Attack 1
Photo by Creative Commons LicenseWilliam Cho
You are most likely to encounter winged termites during a termite swarm. A termite swarm is when a new colony of termites takes to the air and flies away from the original colony of termites. They usually do this after the colony reaches a certain size and thus needs to expand into a new area.

There also tends to be a certain period of time during the year when this occurs, which is usually in the summer months, although this can change depending on your location. Also, the swarm is most likely to happen after a rain shower has occurred, as the termites like to burrow into moist ground but do not like to fly in the rain.

Once the swarm has flown off to a new area which it deems suitable, they will begin releasing pheromones telling the other termites that this is the location they have chosen and therefore should nest in this ground. They will start to shed their wings and then begin burrowing into the ground. There will be a pair amongst these which will be the termite king and a termite queen who will start off this new colony.

So how do you tell if you have winged termites?

One of the tell tale signs after a termite swarm has occurred is that you will see some termites wings that have been shedded. These will be lying on the ground usually nearby to where the colony has just been newly formed.

However, some people mistake swarming termites for swarming ants. Here’s how to identify the difference: ants tend to be blacker, have a smaller waist, wings of uneven length and bent antennas on their foreheads. Termites have the reverse: they’re more dark brown colored, they have a thick waist, their wings are even and their antennas are straight.

What steps should you take if you discover winged termites in your yard?

-If the termites are still swarming, don’t do anything until they are no longer flying and have shedded their wings. Sometimes the swarm may fly off to a different location and you will not have a problem.

-If the swarm is on the ground and the termites are burrowing then you can begin termite control measures.

-If you can’t find the termites but you see evidence of shedded termites wings then you can begin termite control measures as well.

-Also, confirm that they are in fact termites and not winged ants or some other insect.

-With the area identified, here are several methods that you can use to attempt termite control before calling in the professionals:

  • Use termite sprays
  • Use a vacuum cleaner and suck them up if the extension line reaches to the location
  • This needs to be done before hand, but you can buy a bug light or buy zapper and any insect that fly’s onto it will be immediately killed.
  • For termites that have already burrowed, liquid termite chemicals would be a possible solution.
  • Then afterwards, it is highly recommended that you place termite traps and termite baiting stations into any of the possible locations of the winged termites.