Tip: What to do if termites start flying (swarming) around your home

Subterranean Termite Swarmers: What to do if they start swarming!

Don’t be alarmed…be informed.


From October through to late March, termite (aka White Ants) swarmers, more correctly named “Alates” will be noticed on those hot humid afternoons. Termites are normally white to almost transparent, wingless and totally blind, however Alates are specially produced ‘reproductives’ with a more black pigment, wings and eyes, and their single task is to find a mate of the opposite sex and set up a home in a decayed log or stump where the female can lay a couple of dozen eggs, raise the babies and then allow the new brood to take over the care and maintenance of the new colony. The queen then goes about producing literally millions of eggs for the next 20 to 30 years.

A sudden swarm of winged termites can be unsettling to the home-owner to say the very least. One minute everything is normal and then, without warning a cloud of flying insects fills the air. Home-owners, in a panic will run for their can of Mortein and begin spraying in an effort to stop the swarming. This is a very common response in anyone confronted with a sometimes very startling situation. Some customers say it is something out of a horror movie. We have put together some helpful information in the event this spring/summer season you are confronted with termite swarmers.

Make sure the insect is actually a termite Alate.

Many species of ants will also swarm in the spring time, and because treatment methods differ drastically between ants and termites it is important to know the difference.

You’ll typically see termites ‘swarming’ on warm humid afternoons… they won’t swarm unless climatic / environmental conditions allow for their survival. Too cold or too little humidity and they will perish quickly so they only emerge when they have a better chance of surviving their flight !

This illustration shows the physical differences between ants and termites:

Try Not To Panic.

A sudden barrage of these winged termites does NOT mean your house will fall into splinters tomorrow. Swarming termites (Alates) themselves do not cause damage to structures or cause physical harm to people. Probably the most harm to people as a result of a swarm is the fog of insecticide used to kill them. So before you use an entire spray can of Mortein or other insecticide please note that Alates are very poor flyers and will fall to the ground a few metres from where they have swarmed. While we know that a breeze or gust of wind will carry them much further, they’re no endurance flyer!

If you have never previously had any evidence of a termite infestation Alates emerging from within your house is usually the first signal a home-owner sees that an active infestation exists. There is no need to rush into a treatment contract for fear your house is being eaten out from under you.

While you don’t have months or years to do something about it, because damage will likely continue in that length of time, but you do have enough time to choose a treatment plan that is right for you.

  • Have your home inspected by a licensed pest control operator, we’d naturally recommend RID Pest Control!. Save a few specimen Alates to show them and observe the dominate locations Alates emerged from.
  • Get more than one opinion and treatment quote from reputable pest control operators who can show you they’re licensed.
  • Never be hurried into a decision with scare tactics, while devastating, it’s not life ending and you do have time to make a good decision.
  • If the house has had a history of termites, find out what company treated it and if there are any warranty provisions you are entitled to before embarking on further treatment with another operator.
  • It is most important that you DO NOT DISTURB any active infestation, this includes poking holes into timbers and spraying fly spray at impacted areas. The pest control technician will find no signs of active termites if they’ve been disturbed too much!
  • Call RID ASAP (0414 567 977) – We’re licensed, qualified & have over 25 years experience dealing with active termite infestations!

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