Termite colonies are started by swarmers, which are winged reproductive termites that are spawned by other mature termite colonies. These swarmers set out, flying in large numbers, and pairing up male and female. Each pair will mate and start looking for a suitable nesting location. Most of them will fail, but the few that manage to survive will start a new colony.
The size of the swarmers will depend on their species, but it will usually range between ¼ and ⅜ of an inch. They are dark brown or black in coloration, and they have four wings. Identifying the swarmers is pretty easy once you spot them, but telling them apart from ant swarmers can be difficult. If you get a chance to look at one up close, check its waist. Ant swarmers have a narrow waist, while termites do not have a noticeable waist at all. The termite swarmers also have four wings of equal size, while ant swarmers have one pair longer than the other. Finally, termite swarmers have straight antennae while ants have them bent.
What does the presence of termite swarmers indicate?
Termite swarmers indicate that there is a mature colony nearby, and they could signal the start of a new infestation in the home. It’s not uncommon to notice these swarmers flying around outdoors, but if they are indoors, or if you notice piles of wings in your home, it could mean that the mature colony is inside the building, and that you have a large infestation. Also, drywood and dampwood termite infestations in the home are started by swarmers. As such, seeing swarmers flying around on your property can be a cause for concern.
What to do if you see swarmers?
If the swarmers are indoors, then you should call a pest control professional right away to perform an inspection. If they are outdoors however, it does not necessarily mean that your home is or will be infested. The best way to stay as safe as possible is to have a regular termite inspection schedule from a pest control company. These inspections are usually performed on a yearly basis, and they ensure that even if a termite infestation starts in your home, the termites will be detected before they are able to do too much damage. If you would like to know more about swarmers or termite inspections, contact us today.