Swarmer Termites

General Description

When warmer, moist spring weather arrives each year, winged reproductive termites emerge in swarms, hoping to find mates and begin new colonies.

They fly a little ways from their home colonies and shed their wings once they land in spots suitable for new colonies.

Identifying Features

Black-bodied swarmer termites are often mistakenly identified as flying ants.

Ants
However, ants have differently sized pairs of wings, pinched waists, and bent antennae.

Termites
Swarming termites have thick bodies, similarly sized pairs of wings, and straight antennae.

Role Within the Termite Colony

  • Castes: Just as every caste within a termite colony has a unique role, reproductive termites are the only ones allowed to reach sexual maturity, and the only kind of termites capable of laying eggs.
  • Soldiers & Workers: Workers and soldier ants are actually immature termites prohibited from fully developing into sexual maturity by pheromones excreted throughout the nest by the queen.
  • Kings & Queens: A single colony typically has one queen and one king responsible for reproduction. In some species, the queen enlarges her abdomen to hold hundreds or thousands of eggs at once.

Damage / Problems Caused

Swarming termites do not directly cause damage; however, their presence indicates that a mature, healthy termite colony is somewhere in the vicinity.

Infestations
Termite swarmers are thus a symptom of a nearby termite infestation, and the infestation problem is the real issue that must be addressed.

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