Thrasher Pest Control Learning Center

How Many Termite Swarmers are Too Many?

Drywood termite

Does finding termite swarmers inside your house mean that you have a termite infestation? Thrasher Termite & Pest Control staff are often asked about termite swarmers inside the house. Knowing the quantity of winged termites you find is essential for Thrasher to determine whether or not this is a sign of an active termite infestation in your home.

Termite swarmers are reproductive, winged termites whose only goal is to form a new colony and reproduce. A healthy, robust termite colony will seek to expand once or twice a year by producing these aerial explorers.  When the temperature and humidity are just right, winged adults (alates) emerge from the mature colony and are soon airborne. Their fluttery wings are not made for prolonged flight. Instead, it appears that the long thin wings act more as wind catchers, much like the fluff on a dandelion seed.

Termite swarmers are at the mercy of the breeze. If you leave windows and doors open during swarming season, you will find some of these reproductive adult termites in your house. Finding one, two, or even a dozen termite swarmers in your house does not mean you have a termite infestation. These insects probably blew in through an open door. Termite swarmers are adapted to mate and begin new colonies in exterior wood, particularly wood that is weathered, cracked, or unfinished. Swarming termites can come from anywhere (fences, trees, sheds, neighbor’s homes, firewood, etc). Winged termites that do not find a new area to infest will die from dehydration within a few hours. Just sweep or vacuum them up.

However, a significant swarm of 50 to 100 winged termites at the interior of your home is a sign that a colony exists somewhere in your home and has been present for 3 to 6 years. These swarming termites will congregate at a windowsill or glass door as they are attracted to the light. New termite swarmers from an interior colony may emerge for up to two weeks.  When you find 50 or 100 winged termites in one location, call your pest control company.

Winged termites emerge from a hole no larger than the tip of a pen. Unless you actually see winged termites emerging from the pen-tip-sized hole in your home, locating the origination of the colony is nearly impossible. This means that localized treatment is not usually the best option since the pest control company cannot know where to treat.


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