The Surprising Truth About Flying Termites

Can Termites Fly?

Yes, certain termites can fly. These flying termites, known as “swarmers,” are the reproductive members of the termite colony. They emerge, typically in spring, to mate and start new colonies. While their ability to fly is temporary, the presence of these winged termites is a key indicator of a potential termite infestation in or around your home.

Unveiling the Mystery: Can Termites Fly?

You might think of termites as ground-dwelling pests, but there’s more to these wood-munching insects than meets the eye. Yes, certain termites can fly! These winged termites are not a different species; they are actually a part of the termite colony’s lifecycle. Understanding this can be crucial in identifying and managing termite infestations.

The Winged Explorers: What Are Flying Termites?

Flying termites, often referred to as “swarmers,” are a fascinating and crucial part of a termite colony’s lifecycle. These are not a separate species of termites but rather a specific caste within the termite colony, playing a vital role in its expansion and survival.

Old and grunge wood board was eating by group of termitesOld and grunge wood board was eating by group of termites

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The Role of Swarmers

Swarmers are the reproductive members of the termite colony. Their primary purpose is to leave their current colony, mate, and establish new colonies. This behavior is essential for the survival and spread of the termite species. Unlike their wingless counterparts, these termites are equipped with wings and are more visible to the human eye.

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The Anatomy of a Flying Termite

Flying termites are distinguished by their two pairs of long, delicate wings. These wings are of equal size and extend well beyond the termite’s body. After their nuptial flight, swarmers shed these wings, a unique behavior among termites. The presence of discarded wings in or around a property is often one of the first signs of a potential termite infestation.

The lifecycle of a swarmer begins within an established colony. As the colony matures, typically after a few years, it produces these winged termites. The swarmers then emerge from the colony in large numbers, usually after a period of rain when the weather is warm and humid, which provides ideal conditions for flight and mating.

Identifying Swarmers: A Key to Early Detection

Identifying swarmers is crucial for early detection of potential termite problems. These termites are often mistaken for flying ants, but there are key differences. Termites have straight antennae, a uniform waist, and wings of equal size, whereas flying ants have elbowed antennae, a pinched waist, and unequal wing lengths. Recognizing these differences can help in accurately identifying a termite problem.

A Season for Swarming: When Do Termites Take Flight?

The phenomenon of termite swarming is a critical event in the lifecycle of termites, marked by specific environmental triggers and timing. Understanding when termites take flight is essential for homeowners to stay vigilant and prepared.

Termite swarming is closely tied to the seasons and weather conditions. In general, most termite species swarm during spring and early summer. This period aligns with warmer temperatures and often follows a rain event, which creates moist soil conditions ideal for termites to begin new colonies.

Species-Specific Swarming Seasons

Different termite species have their own specific swarming schedules. For instance:

  • Subterranean termites, the most common type found in many homes, typically swarm in the spring.
  • Drywood termites may swarm during late summer or fall.
  • Dampwood termites, which prefer moist wood, often swarm in the summer.

Understanding the species prevalent in your area can help in predicting and preparing for potential swarming events.

Environmental Triggers for Swarming

Termites are sensitive to their environment, and certain conditions trigger the swarming process:

  • Moisture – After rain, the humidity levels rise, and the ground becomes softer, providing ideal conditions for termites to establish new colonies.
  • Temperature – Termites prefer warm conditions for swarming. A sudden increase in temperature can often trigger a swarm.
  • Light – Swarmers are attracted to light, which is why they are often seen near windows or light fixtures.

Spotting the Signs: How to Identify a Termite Swarm

Identifying a termite swarm is key to early detection. Look for these signs:

  • Groups of winged insects, especially near light sources.
  • Discarded wings, resembling fish scales, near windowsills or doors.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls, indicating the presence of a colony.

Prevention is Key: Protecting Your Home from Termites

While Orkin is here to help, prevention is always better than cure. Regularly inspect your home for signs of termites, avoid moisture accumulation near the foundation, and store firewood away from your home. Remember, early detection can save you from significant damage and expense.

Orkin’s Expertise: Your Solution to Termite Troubles

At Orkin, we understand the nuances of termite behavior. Our trained professionals use state-of-the-art tools and techniques to identify, treat, and prevent termite infestations. Don’t let termites take over your home. Call Orkin today for a comprehensive termite inspection and customized treatment plan.

Choosing Orkin means opting for peace of mind. Our termite control solutions are tailored to your specific needs, ensuring effective and long-lasting protection. Trust us to keep your home safe from these flying invaders.

Don’t wait for termites to cause irreversible damage. If you suspect termite activity or just want to be proactive, call Orkin. Our team is ready to provide expert advice and effective solutions. Protect your home with Orkin – your partner in pest control.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Termites Fly?

Yes, certain termites, known as swarmers or alates, can fly. They are the reproductive members of a termite colony and take flight to mate and establish new colonies.

What Do Flying Termites Look Like?

Flying termites have two pairs of long, equal-sized wings that extend beyond their body. They have a straight waist and straight antennae, distinguishing them from flying ants.

When Do Termites Typically Fly?

Termites usually fly in the spring, especially after rain when the weather warms up. However, the exact timing can vary based on the termite species and local climate conditions.

Why Do Termites Fly?

Termites fly as part of their reproductive process. Flying termites leave their existing colony to mate and start new colonies, which helps in the spread and survival of their species.

Are Flying Termites a Sign of Infestation?

The presence of flying termites or discarded wings can indicate a nearby termite colony and potential infestation. It’s important to inspect your property and consider professional pest control services.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between Flying Termites and Flying Ants?

Flying termites have straight antennae, a uniform waist, and wings of equal size. In contrast, flying ants have elbowed antennae, a pinched waist, and unequal wing lengths.

Do All Termites Fly?

Not all termites fly. Only specific members of a termite colony, the reproductive swarmers, have the ability to fly. The majority of termites in a colony are workers or soldiers, which do not have wings.


The ability of certain termites to fly is a natural and essential part of their lifecycle, but it also serves as a critical alert for homeowners. The emergence of swarmers, or flying termites, is not just a fascinating natural phenomenon but a potential warning sign of an existing or impending termite infestation. As these winged termites take to the air in their quest to establish new colonies, they remind us of the importance of vigilance and proactive pest management.

Orkin’s commitment to protecting your home goes beyond addressing immediate termite concerns. Our approach includes a comprehensive inspection of your property, identification of potential risk factors, and implementation of targeted treatment plans. We also focus on preventive measures, helping you create an environment less conducive to termite infestations.

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To protect your home from pests, click here for a free pest control estimate. Our Orkin Pros will create a personalized pest treatment plan for your home or business

or Call (866) 249-0292