What You Need to Know About Termite Swarming Season

Posted: February 28, 2022

Termites

What You Need to Know About Termite Swarming Season

Termite swarming season tends to come each year toward the tail end of winter. Termite season typically lasts 5-6 months, but those numbers aren’t set in stone. Regardless, it’s important to be prepared before termites begin to swarm in attempts to invade your home.

What is a termite swarm?

A termite swarm occurs when a massive number of winged termites, also known as alates, leave their existing colony to form new ones. The alates will move together in large numbers so they can start to investigate a new home. If you’ve never seen a termite swarm before, the sight can be quite a shock—termite swarms can consist of dozens of termites.

Alates actually do not consume cellulose found in wood, but if they choose to set up camp on your property, it may not be long before termites start feasting on your home. In fact, a swarm is one of the first ways homeowners may be alerted to the presence of termites.

What do termite swarmers look like?

They’re about an inch long, dark in color, and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size. Flying ants may look similar to termites, but there are a couple of key differences to keep in mind. Ants have a constricted “waist” and termites do not. Also, termite wings are uniform in size while ant wings are not. When termite swarmers are out in large numbers, you probably won’t get a close enough look to tell the difference. Regardless, any sizable swarm is worth dealing with as quickly as possible. If you happen to get a closer look, feel free to reference our full guide on the differences between flying ants vs. termite swarmers.

Termite swarmer bug description graphic

Why do termites swarm?

Termites begin to swarm when a colony is ready to expand and find new food sources. Termite colonies typically only expand once per year. Once the winged termites find a suitable home, they will stop swarming and settle into their new location. The alates’ wings will fall off as they being to mature, and they will start mating to create a new colony.

When do termites swarm?

Termite swarming season can vary depending on the species of termite, but it typically occurs during late winter or early spring. March is usually one of the months you’ll want to keep your eye on if you’re concerned about termite activity. However, as mentioned earlier, there is no exact time of year to keep in mind or exact formula you can follow to predict termite swarming season.

Is swarming season different than termite season?

Yes. Termite swarming season refers to the relatively short window of time when winged termites are searching for a new home. If termites are already present, there is a good chance they are eating away at wood sources they can find, damaging your property. Termite activity is not necessarily tied to swarming season. Termites are technically all season pests.

Are there different types of termite swarmers?

The three most common termite species in the US are drywood termites, formosan termites, and subterranean termites. These types of termites have different swarming patterns, but most tend to swarm after a rainstorm and avoid high winds.

 Termite swarmer preparing for termite swarming season

How can I prevent termite swarms?

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent a termite swarm. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a termite infestation:

  • Make sure there is no wood-to-soil contact around your home.
  • Repair any cracks or crevices in the foundation of your home.
  • Keep your home’s gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris.
  • Install termite shields around the foundation of your home.
  • Minimize other things that attract termites.

What should I do if I see a termite swarm?

The best thing for you to do if you see a termite swarm is to call a pest control company that specializes in termite control. Chances are, if you see a swarm, termites are either close enough to try to invade your home or are already in your home. Dodson Pest Control professionals can help evaluate your risk and get you set up with a maintenance plan. Our exterminators are also available to help with an existing termite problem. Termite damage can be devastating–if you think you may have termites on your property, call us today.