Termite Swarms: What You Need to Know

Termite Swarms: What You Need to Know

When you think about what would be the scariest type of insects to run across, you probably think first of something like a group of spiders. It is always creepy to see a mother spider carrying its babies. 

You might picture a nest of hornets or wasps as something that raises your anxiety. However, the most fearful swarm of insects might just be termites.

They are so tiny that they might not seem like they should strike fear in our hearts, but the amount of damage they can do is substantial. Here is everything you need to know about termite swarms. 


Different Types of Termites Swarm Uniquely

There are two types of termites that are typically found in the Carolinas and Virginia:

1. Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites build their colonies underground. These types of termites need access to moisture to live and thrive. Termites are in a dry environment when they gnaw through the lumber of your home. 

As a result, subterranean termites construct mud tunnels. These act as roads, transporting termites from your home to their colony.

Carpenter ants and subterranean termites are nearly the same sizes. Each one is about half an inch long. Even the size of the wings is comparable. It is easy to mistake one for the other. The key differences include:

  • A termite's wings are rounded, while an ant’s wings typically come to a point. 
  • Termites have straight antennae, while ants have a bend in their antennae. 
  • A termite’s body does not have the distinct segments an ant has. 

2. Drywood Termites

The form of a drywood termite is quite comparable to that of a subterranean termite. ​​Their bodies and wings are reddish-brown, and they gnaw on the wood in your home like any other type of termite. However, they don’t live underground like subterranean termites. Since they don’t use the mud tunnels you find with other types of termites, it can be difficult to identify an infestation. 

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Termites, like ants, are highly sociable organisms that thrive in colonies. After their initial hive has achieved a particular maximum capacity and is ready to grow, termites begin to swarm. 

This occurs annually for most termite colonies. Swarmers, also known as alates, are created in large numbers with the sole objective of breeding and expansion. 

Typically during spring, juvenile termites acquire the wings that they use to swarm out from their colonies and form new ones. They use their wings to fly out of mud tubes or through the air until they find a place to establish a new colony. 

Swarms are frequently pushed along by a breeze until they reach the ground. The insects can develop new colonies once they have landed again. This is the time in which they can invade your home. 

Termites Swarm When the Weather Is Right

A termite colony will often delay swarming until the weather is perfect. They like to do their swarming the day after a rain shower when the ground is still moist, but it is no longer actively raining. Termites like for the wind to be below ten miles per hour. 

What to Do When You See a Termite Swarm

It is pretty challenging to catch a termite colony while they’re swarming. What you are more likely to see is the evidence of the swarm, such as many discarded wings. If you see any sign of termite damage, you should act fast. Signs include:

  • Mud Tubes: You may actually spot the mud tubes subterranean termites use to navigate into and out of your home. 
  • Damaged Flooring: Termites can damage your floor and subfloor. If you have termites, your floor will appear to have water damage, with blisters on the surface. Your floors and/or ceilings may also appear to be swollen.
  • Musty Odors: You may smell an odor consistent with mold and mildew if you have subterranean termites. 
  • Hollowed Wood: Termites create long cracks in the wood when they devour it. This will damage the wood's structural integrity such that when you tap on the surface, you might hear a hollow sound noise that is indicative of termites.
  • Visible Damage: If you can see the damage done to the wood in your home, it is likely you have termites or another type of wood-destroying insect (WDI). For more information about wood-destroying insects, you can read more here

If you see any of the signs that termites have infested your home, you need to act immediately by reaching out to your trusted exterminator. 

Have Termites Exterminated Immediately

A termite infestation can be devastating to the structure of your home. However, as "silent destroyers," many termite infestations go unnoticed until costly structural damage has already been done. Please call us right away if you notice an active termite infestation on your premises at 1-800-682-5901.

We'll conduct an examination and, if necessary, treat the area with Termidor, a non-repellent that allows termites to disseminate the treatment throughout their colonies for a speedy and comprehensive solution. Please do not delay.

 Termites can cause significant damage to the structural integrity of your home in a short period of time. Contact us today!