Why Flying Termites Mean Serious Trouble


Why should you care about flying termites?
Well, I might go as far as to say that seeing winged termites are the insect equivalent of having a black cat cross your path – in other words, a sign of bad luck. I’ll explain why.

If you see swarms around or inside your home, it really should act as a warning sign for 2 potential dangers:

  1. you may already have an existing termite problem
  2. your home may be at risk of potential termite infestation

The actual swarmers themselves do not cause damage. It is their off-spring, which have the power to damage your property once they land back on solid ground and search for a suitable location to start a new colony. If they are successful within two years they can begin causing significant damage to your home.

Termite Swarmers

Flying termites are one of the clearest signs of a termite problem, and they could mean trouble to you and your home!

Experts are always telling us how difficult it is to tell if you have termites. However, when winged termites emerge from the nest to take flight, all of a sudden, you are presented with a very obvious, and not at all subtle, sign of termites.

Flying Termites

Although as some ant species also swarm around the same time of year, you could be forgiven for confusing the two. And, of course, treatments for termites and ants differ enormously.

If you see winged termites indoors, the alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear – You may have an existing problem. In other words, you may have termite damaged timber or damaged furniture in your home.

On the other hand, seeing a termite swarm outdoors may not be too much of a concern apart from the obvious nuisance if you happen to be caught in the middle of it. More on this later.

When Do Termites Fly?

Usually in the spring, summer and periods of humidity. You may have witnessed swarms of winged termites, especially when the ambient air temperatures start to rise. This change in temperature triggers the winged termites to emerge from their nest (within some form of timber) to embark on a nuptial flight.

Flying Termites

What is the point of flying termites?

It basically signals the start of a new termite colony. Swarming is the means by which sexually mature termites with wings leave their nest due to overcrowding or lack of sufficient food.
Both male and female winged termites (or alates, to give them their technical name) will take flight and essentially procreate mid-air, before then falling back down to the ground. The now impregnated female has the role of finding a suitable location in which to start a new termite colony as the Queen.

In some species the male might die shortly after this nuptial flight, and in others they will survive to become the King in the new colony (alongside the Queen of course).

Flying termites

Have you ever found discarded wings by a window?

Once back on solid ground, the female of the species discards her wings and looks for suitable wood to attack and build her nest in.
In the case of Drywood termites, this could be timber within your roof – this is where the potential damage begins.. and can continue unnoticed for months and even years!

In the case of Subterranean termites, once back on the ground, they will dig into the soil to start new colonies underground.

How To Reduce the Risk from Termite Swarms

Built-up moisture in wood resulting from damaged timber or timber with ground contact on your property can potentially attract termites. Regular inspection of your home has to be a key activity to protection against a termite infestation.

Actions to keep your home safe:

  • Keep mulch away from the foundations of your home
  • Regularly check the outside and subfloor areas of your home for mud tubes and damaged wood – common symptoms of a termite infestation
  • Practice good housekeeping and maintenance – repair any damaged soffits, roof tiles, or fascias
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
  • Prevent the accumulation of water – ensure downpipes and gutters are working well to divert rainwater away from your house



  1. I didn’t know that termites could fly. I’m also a little worried because my husband heard about someone in our neighborhood talking about an infestation nearby. It looks like I’m going to have to make sure to try out those tips to prevent an infestation in my own home.

  2. I was sitting outside and all of a sudden these flying termites just start falling from what appears to be the over hang of the roof why would they be doing this?

  3. Thankyou very very much for this site on termites, I’m working on a science project and this site is helping a lot.

  4. I’ve done some home treatments last year and seemed to clear things up. But this year new swarmers in the house. What’s odd is they seem to be dead before they have a chance to shed their wings. Looking into pro treatment, but wondering why so many dead all over the house.

  5. My husband brought a fixer upper and started the work without a permit and the home was infested with termites. After a yr we finally got the permits but now my home which is in front of the fixer upper has termites they are in the air at night swams in my home.. I need a new roof but should i have my home tented first then fix the roof

  6. I live in FL. I have been battling the termites for a month. It started off slow but became horrendous. Like tonight. It’s 5:10am. Up all night battling the termites. Dry wood have iridescent wings. Subs seem to have more brown wings. In past years the swarm lasted a week tops. My plan was to tent my house in early 2016. Unfortunately I got hit by a random 35000 pound bulldozer and I had another more important fight. Hillsborough Co FL let an unsupervised bulldozer that size loose in a quaint neighborhood just blocks from a school. I never was involved in a crash before, I went into shock for months and I have had two back surgeries and need more but my KW family I worked for over 25 years total abandoned me. No insurance is a huge problem and using all my funds to live with no job is another. So no tent. I tried to spot treat. I tried everything. People say do it yourself works. Maybe if you have someone who does not mind going in the crawl space (just don’t, there are icky things there and you need a tyveck suit.) Then there is the attic and many are to small to get every price of wood. Never let an unknown piece of wood into your home. That’s hard. I think they can come in on anything including that nice furniture or the toilet paper. The dead wood against your home or the brand new piece you bought for a project. They will come in from anywhere they live. And they eat carpet too. Best bet, the first time you se a little pile of what looks like small pellets scoop them up and have a donit yourself pest person look at it. They will tel you. Then call the professionals. Get four bids and don’t overlook the small mom and pop companies. You may get better treatment from them. Keep your warranty up for the entire time you own the home. Pass it along if you sell. Make sure th me company you choose offers that. Trust me, you do not want termites swarming your home.

  7. Thank you this is the best termite explanation I have ever seen and I’ve read a lot.

  8. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads.
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  9. It was extremely helpful to read that flying termites can mean the potential formation of a new colony. This is because my sister has been sending me pictures of flying bugs around her yard that don’t look like normal houseflies. It is possible that these bugs are termites that have already marked her yard, so I’ll help her as quickly as possible by finding a termite extermination service to get rid of them.

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