The sight of a flying termite in your home can set alarm bells off in your head. We’ve heard too many horror stories about the damages that these flying pests can inflict on your property and the thousands of dollars worth of repairs that come with it. Every year, termites cause around $5 billion in property damage in the United States. There’s a reason why they are called “silent destroyers” – the destruction they bring to wallpaper, wood, and flooring can go undetected for years and worst of all, these damages are not always covered by home insurance policies.
But why should you care so much about having flying termites in your home? Having termite swarmer in your home can mean two things: you may already have an existing termite problem or your home may be at risk of potential termite infestation. It’s their offspring that can bring costly destruction to your property once the swarming termite land back on solid ground. After termite swarming season, they will search for a suitable location to build their nest and from there they will multiply and start doing their nasty business.
What Does Having a Flying Termite in Your Home Signify
When you see the soldier termites flying around, it means they are in the process of starting a new colony. Sexually mature reproductive termites with wings leave their nest due to lack of sufficient food or overcrowding. These winged termites, both male and female, will swarm and essentially procreate in mid-air.
When the flying termite swarm falls back to the ground, the impregnated females will find the perfect place to nest in and start a new termite colony, where she will be the queen. What about the male termites? Some of them die shortly after procreating while some survive to exist alongside the queen in the new colony.
Finding discarded termite wings in your home is a sign of a potential termite problem in the making. The female winged termite sheds off her wings after a termites swarm and then looks for a suitable wood to attack and build a termite nest. If you have the bad luck to have drywood termites, you need to monitor the timber within your roof because this is where the potential damage starts and could go unnoticed for months and even years.
Speaking of drywood termites, there are several termite species that you should look out for. Identifying them properly is essential in knowing how to find them and handle them properly.
- Subterranean termite – a subterranean termite colony is usually found underground or in moist, secluded areas above the ground. They build “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and protect themselves from exposure to open air. This species is considered the most destructive throughout the United States.
- Formosan subterranean termite – these are mostly found in Hawaii, California, and most of the states in the southern part of the country. They are the most aggressive species and they can consume a foot of 2X4 wood in just 25 days. They reproduce really fast and cause significant damage.
- Dampwood termite – as the name suggests, these termites thrive in wood with high moisture content, such as dead trees. They don’t usually infest structures because they prioritize their need for excessive moisture. Still, you shouldn’t ignore dampwood termites because they can still cause damage to your property, especially if you’re in a water-damaged area.
- Drywood termite – these termites do not need contact with soil and they usually feast on undecayed wood. They are known to infest wooden furniture and framing so they can be transported unknowingly from one place to another.
- Conehead termite – their heads are shaped as their name suggests and they travel above ground just like ants. Unlike other species, they don’t really stay in underground tunnels. This makes them more efficient in traveling and they can construct tunnels through wood flooring and walls when they gain inside access.
Dos and Don’ts of Dealing With Flying Termites
Not all homeowners what to look for when it comes to signs of termite infestation. If you spot even just a few of that swarmer termite around your property, you should definitely be on alert and find out where they are nesting. Here are some dos and don’ts to remember when dealing with flying termites.
- DO identify them correctly – it’s easy to confuse fairly harmless winged ants for flying termites, especially since both of them have four wings and are roughly the same size. The difference lies in the detail in those wings. The wings of termites are of equal length while the wings of flying ants are uneven ones. Also, a termite has straight antennas while a flying ant has bent ones. You can learn more about their differences in our previous post.
- DO take their presence seriously – not all people are aware that termites can fly, thus they are unaware that there might be a serious problem in the works. While it’s mentioned above that it’s not the swarmers themselves that cause the actual damage, they’re still the easier ones to spot because they have wings and they’re on the move.
- DO check the weather – winged termites thrive in warm and moist conditions, which is a requirement for termite season. This is why you often see them during balmy nights when they will spread their wings and scout for a new spot to build their colony.
- DON’T rely on just spraying – most people assume that emptying a can of fly spray on these insects is enough to terminate them completely, but that’s not often the case. Sure, that spray may kill the flying ones you spotted, but you still have to deal with the ones nesting in the colony and the new ones that will be formed by the winged ones looking for the perfect nesting place.
- DON’T just ignore them – you don’t want to reap the consequences of ignoring the flying termites that you spotted in your property, Their presence is a sure sign that there’s a problem and you don’t want to discover months or years later that your interiors are severely damaged because of the colonies.
- DON’T stop looking – it’s definitely not easy to find the colonies of termites lurking within your home. Once you have spotted flying termites, the second step is to look for their mud tubes, which are usually located around any wooden furniture or in the garden near your house. If you find them, then it means you definitely have an infestation to deal with.
- DON’T block their escape paths – you may be tempted to block the holes that these termites have made for their escape, thinking that will solve the problem once and for all. Don’t do this. If you block their escape holes, they will just make new ones which means more damage to your property.
How to Prevent Termite Activity in Your Home
Prevention will always be better than the cure, as they say. This applies to potential termite damage in your home. Taking the time and effort to do termite control and safeguard your property against termite activity will definitely be worth it in the long run. Here are some measures you can do:
- Remove extraneous wood and debris in your property, especially your yard and any areas near your house. Gather stumps, fallen trees, leaf litter, construction materials, and other similar stuff and dispose of them properly.
- Keep firewood stacks at a distance from your property
- Opt for treated wood and timber for your construction projects such as sheds and desks. Untreated wood is a very prime candidate for the next nesting place of flying termites.
- Pull back the mulch from your property’s foundation
- Fix moisture issues in your home, such as leaks, excess condensation, and drainage concerns
- Make sure that your heating and cooling units don’t have condensation issues
- Keep your attics, basements, and crawl spaces dry and well ventilated
- Prevent the accumulation of water on your property. Make sure that your gutters and downpipes are working properly to keep rainwater away from your house. Learn more about this subject in our post: Tips to Prep Up Your Home Against Flying Termites After Rain
When to Call a Professional to Deal With Your Flying Termite Problem
Sometimes even your best efforts in termite treatment are not enough to ward off or eliminate a flying insect group or termite colonies in your home. If this is the case, calling a pest control professional for a termite inspection and application of termiticide is the best course of action.
A pest controller from Midway Pest Management can eliminate all types of termites species, as well as other pests such as ant species, rodents, and everything in between. Call now for a termite exterminator to prevent your home from being destroyed by worker termite infestation.