Winged Subterranean Termites

It might seem strange that termites which live underground have wings. However, not all the termites in the colony have wings. A colony is divided into three castes. You have soldiers which protect the colony, workers which build, maintain and provide food for the colony, and reproductives which give birth to new colony members. Of these three castes, the first two do not have wings, with the reproductives or swarmers/alates, having them.

The winged swarmers

Whenever you see a swarm of flying insects that resembles ants, you might be dealing with termite swarmers. These swarmers are a large group of male and female ants which are tasked to reproduce and start a new colony. They are about ¼ to ⅜ of an inch long, and they have two pairs of wings that are the same size and which have a smoky-gray or pale coloration. The wings also have small hairs on them. You can tell whether you are dealing with ants or termites by a couple of signs. First, termite swarmers have straight antennae while ants have their antennae bent. The termites also have four wings that are all the same size, while ants have a front pair of wings which are larger than the pair in the rear.

Swarmers are attracted to light, so odds are that they will fly towards your home. This is why you will often find dead swarmers and their wings near your windows, doors or outdoor lighting. Once a pair of swarmers has landed and mated, they will dig a hole in the ground, where they will start to nest, if they are subterranean termites. From there, the colony will start to look for food, eventually reaching the home if they start the nest on your property.

You can also tell whether you are dealing with drywood or subterranean termites just by the swarmers. Subterranean termites will start their colonies in the ground and only tunnel through wood in order to collect cellulose and eat it. Drywood termites will build their colonies inside the wood itself. Each species will require a different approach in order to be dealt with properly. To tell the two apart, you need to look at the dead swarmers that you have found. If they still have their wings attached to their bodies, they are drywood termites. Subterranean termites will have some of their wings detached and some of them attached.

If you have noticed termite swarmers on your property, you may either have a colony that is looking to spread, or the swarmers may be from a colony that is not on your property, and they are looking to start a nest near or in your home. Contact us today and we will perform an inspection to make sure that your home is not infested.

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