The days are getting longer and the low temperatures of the winter months are slowly fading away which means one thing Spring is finally here!
Although spring marks the start of the warmer seasons there is one thing you need to watch out for Flying Termites!
Can termites fly?
Yes, they can, but not all of them. Termites don’t fall into the flying insects category like wasps and mosquitoes do as only a small set of termites can fly, and only do so for a short period of time before losing their wings.
A termite colony is split into groups known as castes. Each caste has a particular role in the colony. The 3 castes of a termite colony are:
Out of the termite castes, it is only the alates which can fly, being the only ones equipped with wings. These are the only termites which are sexually developed and are the future kings and queens of the next season’s termite colonies. The flying patterns and habits of termites are known as swarms.
Termite swarms mark the start of termite season. They happen once a year during a select period of time which differs between each species and each country, with seasonality playing a big factor.
Why do termites swarm?
Termites swarm to breed and start new colonies, and is the beginning of the termite life cycle.
During this period the sexually developed male and female winged termites leave their nests and take flight. This is often referred to as nuptial flight and is also common and practised by other insects such as ants.
After leaving their nest, the winged termites will congregate in the air (swarms) and mate with termites of the same species from other colonies. After they have successfully mated the termites will land, shed their wings and start the process of creating a new colony.
When do termites swarm?
Termites usually start to swarm in the early days of spring when the weather is warm and after a rain shower. Termites use environmental cues as a signal to start swarming and also synchronise with other termite colonies of the same species to ensure the possibility of inbreeding is reduced.
The time of day termite swarms occur depends on the species of termites. The majority of subterranean termites swarm during the day whilst Formosan termites (a breed of subterranean termites) swarm during the night time.
Winged termites are highly attracted to sources of light such as street lamps and can often be found swarming around these sources.
Termites aren’t confident fliers and generally rely on the wind to help with their air mileage. Because of this termite swarms don’t last long, and can be found close to the originating nests of the winged termites. However, if the wind is strong the future king and queen termites will often travel a far distance before beginning the process of starting a new colony.
What does a flying termite look like?
Flying termites differ in appearance from other flying insects and can be identified by examining them closely.
Flying termites appear in a range of colours depending on the species. Generally, flying termites appear in the same beige/tan colour as the other termite castes. They have two antennae which are often straight with a slight curve and have two sets of wings which are equal in length and are white and translucent in colour with a veiny appearance.
Termites, in general, can be defined by their body shape. Both flying termites and wingless termites have a thick body made up of one part. Termites do not have a constriction between their thorax and abdomen.
Flying termites vs flying ants
Ants and termites often get confused with one another to the untrained eye. There have been many instances where termites have been dismissed as white ants. In reality, there is no such thing as white ants, and they are, in fact, termites.
Flying termites and flying ants are no exceptions to the matter. Both insects are similar in both shape, size and colour.
How to get rid of flying termites
Eradicating termites from your property will not only deal with flying termites but in doing so will reduce and limit the spread, as well as the potential for future termite colonies in your area.
To remove termites from your home or business it is highly recommended to enlist the help of termite control specialists. Termites are both tricky to find and eradicate. More often than not DIY attempts result in a termite infestation returning to a property.
Termite treatment options
There are a handful of termite treatment options available to help eradicate termites from your home, they are:
Worried about flying termites? Get in contact with Rentokil today to find out how to protect your home from termite damage.
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