One of the most visible signs of a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites, sometimes called swarmers. Termites usually start to swarm in the early days of spring when the weather is warm and after a rain shower. These dark – bodied, winged termites emerge in large numbers, in search of mates to begin a new colony. Most termites in a colony are worker termites. Workers are soft bodied, creamy-white in color and spend nearly all of their time inside the soil, enclosed inside mud shelter tubes, or feeding inside word. Worker termites easily dry out when exposed to sunlight and the drying effects of air. Swarmers, on the other hand are designed to leave the soil and strike out in search of mates in the hope of starting a new colony. Swarmer termites are dark in color with four wings of equal size and shape. This is one of the ways that flying termites can be distinguished from flying ants. Ants have four wings too, but the front wing of an ant is larger the rear wing. In addition to wing size and shape, ants have a constricted, or narrow “waist” separating the thorax (where the legs are attached) from the abdomen. Alternatively, termites have a broad “waist.” One final way to distinguish a termite swarmer from a flying ant are the antennae. Ants have “elbowed” or bent antennae, but termites have straight antennae.
When termites colonies swarm, hundreds or thousands of winged termites are released. When this occurs indoors, the insects are often attracted to light sources, so homeowners may find piles of swarmers on windowsills or around other light sources. Soon after emergence, termite swarmers will break off their wings, so it isn’t uncommon to see piles of wings on windowsills or countertops. Even though termite nearly all termite swarmers will perish if they emerge inside a structure, it’s important to contact your pest professional immediately. Termites swarming inside indicate an underlying termite infestation that may not be visible. A trained inspector can provide insight into the hidden infestation and provide a plan for eliminating termites from your home.