Flying termites, commonly known as termite alates, have been the subject of numerous misconceptions and concerns among homeowners. At Termite Doctors, we often get asked about flying termites soon after there has been a swarming period.
This post is here to help you understand the facts about winged termites. and their potential impact on your home. Let’s shed light on the truth about flying termites and whether they even pose a threat at all.
In scientific terminology, flying termites are referred to as “alates.” Contrary to popular belief, these aerial creatures do not engage in wood destruction or battles with ants. Instead, they play a crucial role in the termite life cycle, serving as potential future kings and queens of emerging colonies.
The Purpose of Flying Termites:
The primary purpose of flying termites is to establish new colonies. During certain times of the year, mature termite colonies produce alates. They then participate in a synchronised prenuptial flight at the same time as other colonies of the same species. Young termite colonies avoid producing alates due to resource constraints. Mature colonies invest a lot of energy to produce and protect winged termites as this ensures the survival of their species.
Life Before Flight:
Flying termites are given special attention within the nest. They are provided with optimal nutrition, leading to a build-up of fat reserves that sustain them for months. This preparation is essential, as flying termites serve as the pioneers of new termite colonies, where they lay the foundation for the next generation of workers and, in some species, fungus combs.
So, Are They Dangerous?
The emergence of flying termite swarms marks a critical stage in the termite life cycle. Depending on the species, swarming events may happen once or a few times a year, per colony. These swarms are often triggered after a spell of rain following a dry period and typically take place around dusk.
Contrary to misconceptions, flying termites are not a threat to your home’s safety or your family’s well-being. They do not become regular termites that can attack your home. They are just looking to find a mate and to perhaps create a new colony. The chances of success are minimal for them and if they are successful, that does not mean it will be in or even near your home.
While it may be tempting to associate flying termites with impending danger, it’s also important to recognise their role in the ecosystem. Termites are an essential part of life on this planet. They break down so much wood and other cellulose materials. It is just unfortunate that we have chosen to build our homes out of the materials that happen to be their food source. They in turn are also food for many other species too.
If you want to minimise flying termites from entering your house, then all you can do is close the windows and fly screens and turn off your lights. They are attracted to bright lights like many other insects are too.
How To Avoid Termites in My Home
There are many ways to reduce your chance of having a termite infestation in your home. You can read a post about tips to reduce the chance of termites here.
One of the best ways is to get regular termite inspections and potential setting up a termite barrier. If you live on the Sunshine Coast and want to find out more, then simply contact us for a chat.