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Homeowner’s Guide to Controlling Termites with Wings

Typically, Subterranean termites acquire wings and begin to fly upon reaching mature size in the warm weather.

While it might be scary to spot flying termites around your home, these swarmers pose no immediate direct threat to property.

A termite colony comprises different forms of social order, referred to as castes, including alates, workers, and soldiers. Alates or swarmers, which usually leave the nest to reproduce and form new colonies, are the only termites with wings.

A colony may take up to four years to produce a new set of swarmers depending on the need for reproduction and prevailing weather conditions. Therefore, spotting termites with wings in your home could be an indicator of active or imminent termite infestation.

What Do Termites with Wings Look Like?

Winged termites are either male or female and usually measure ¼ – ½ inches in length. Since the alates are responsible for forming new colonies, they are referred to as primary “reproductives.” The reproductive will have either dark brown or grey wings, depending on the species.

Swarming termites of the Subterranean species primarily have two veins in their wings. On the other hand, alates from drywood termite colonies have three or more wing veins.

What Differentiates Flying Termites from Flying Ants?

Both reproductive termites and some ants have wings, making the two difficult to differentiate. But the cost can be too high if you don’t identify these pests correctly.

Examine the waist to determine whether the flying insect in your home is a termite or an ant. Termites have a thick waist, girth the same as the rest of the body, while ants have a narrow, pinched waist.

Another way of differentiating the insects is by looking at the antennae. Flying termites have straight antennae, whereas flying ants have prodded antennae angled at 90 degrees.

The number of veins and length of wings are the other methods of distinguishing swarmers from ants with wings.

If you can’t determine whether the insect in your home is an alate or an ant, getting in touch with a pest management service provider for termite inspection can save you the huge cost of extensive termite damage.

Why Do Termites Have Wings?

Swarming is a natural occurrence in the developmental cycle of termites that serves to propagate the colonies. When one colony reaches a particular size and maturity, it expands by producing winged alates.

Depending on the species, alate nymphs usually live near the soil or wood surface. Worker termites forage and feed the swarmers till maturity as soldiers protect the nest. Once the conditions are favorable, the termites with wings fly out of the nest to pair—males with females. The process of flying and pairing of the queen with the king is known as swarming.

Swarming involves hundreds to thousands of winged termites and usually occurs for several days. After mating, the female alate moves to a new place to establish a colony. Typically, the queens lose their wings when they move to begin new colonies.

Termites With Wings in Your Home

If you see swarming termites around your home or find wings all over the place, you’re probably dealing with an extensive termite infestation. A colony takes approximately four years to mature and begin producing winged alates that swarm. Therefore, identifying swarmers around the property might imply the foundation of your home is already invaded.

Some of the areas in a home where termites can establish their colonies include attics, wooden furniture, windowsills, and any other wooden structure. From these colonies, the alates will fly out when the conditions are right, usually in the nights of spring.

During the nuptial flight, the termites with wings are attracted to light. Thereby, you’re likely to find these insects or their wings around light fixtures plus windowsills. After losing their wings, swarmers move to different locations around the property to establish new colonies.

Termite Control in Pinellas County, Florida

Property owners often identify termite problems when it’s too late, and the damage is extensive. For instance, termites with wings around the home might be the first sign of termite infestation a homeowner sees. If you find insect wings on your property and suspect they’re termites with wings, reach out immediately to McDonald Pest Control for a Subterranean termite inspection.

McDonald Pest Control offers personalized termite control in Clearwater and Pinellas County using modern systems such as the environmentally friendly treatment—thereby ensuring your property is free of termite colonies. Call us today at 727-734-0963 for pest control services!