We are well into spring now and the humidity is starting to rise. Look outside and you’ll be able to see the changes with flowers blooming everywhere, and birds and insects in full swing.
Under the ground the termites have also been busy actively foraging for food in trees, stumps and even timber in people’s homes: this is in preparation for the release of the queens and males flying termites. The Alates, as they are technically known, need plenty of food and nutrients to build themselves up for their flight (or swarm, as the Americans call it).
This flight typically happens early in the morning or late in the afternoon, just before a storm or heavy rain event when the humidity lifts dramatically. Out of each termite nest emerge 25,000+ Alates, both queens and males, who take flight in an attempt to start a new colony.
The Alates have a graceful flight, four wings that are of equal size, and two parts to their bodies – a head and a long abdomen. Their colourings are either black or honey brown.
When they land, they de-alate, or drop their wings. The females release a pheromone attractant to excite the males, then they are off in search of a suitable site to start a new colony. They are looking for damp, decaying timbers either on the ground or behind timber retaining walls. They can also colonise in old tree stumps.
When they find a suitable area the queen will start laying eggs and building up her colony. It generally takes about three years to build up a colony with sufficient numbers to cause major damage to our homes.
This emergence of flying termites, or Alates, is nature’s way of reminding us to be vigilant in maintaining termite protection around our homes. If you see flying termites around your home it means that you are living close to an existing termite colony and should be mindful of protecting your property.
If you live on the Sunshine Coast and have found or suspect Alates on your property, get in touch today. We’ll provide you with a detailed report of any termite activity present, as well as our recommendations for treatment.