Providence (401) 490-0919

East Greenwich (401) 398-0113

South County (401) 213-6652
Blog Categories > 
What is a Termite Swarmer?

What is a Termite Swarmer?

What is the difference between a Termites Swarmer and a Winged Ant? Aren't they the same?

A Termite Swarmer is an Adult winged termite called an Alate or Swarmer. Termite Swarmers are small, black and have two pairs of long, narrow wings of equal size. Most people confuse Termite Swarmers for flying ants. The difference in appearance of a Winged Termite can be distinguished from a Winged Ant by the following: A Termite Alate has 4 transparent wings of the same size and length. An Ant Alate has 4 transparent wings too but the front 2 are longer than the back. Termite Swarmers have slightly curved and beaded antennae. Winged Ants have elbowed antennae. The Termite is noted for its lack of waist, it looks as if it only has 2 body parts. Where as the Ant has a waist and 3 distinct body parts.

Termite infestations begin from another colony with 100's of Swarming Termites leaving a large Termite Colony to begin another one. Subterranean Termite Colonies are usually active for 4to 6 years before winged reproductives appear. When warm temperatures and humidity reach the perfect levels an established colony sends out a swarm of Winged Termites. Both male and female swarmers fly from the colony and travel short distances. Termites are weak fliers and must rely on wind currents to carry them to their new home. Very few of swarmers survive to develop colonies; most die from birds, insects and other predators, and most die from dehydration or injury. Mating happens in the air or right after landing. They then shed their wings, leaving them in piles. If you notice that they are all the same size wings, they are probably Subterranean Termite Swarmers. If anyone ever sees a Termite the chances are it will be the Swarmer or just the wings. Because of this many people believe that termites are only a problem in the spring. In reality Termites remain active and out of sight all year. Termites can be at work, eating away at wood 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you are seeing a lot of Swarmers inside they likely came from somewhere in your home or business. If most of the insects are found outdoors, then the nest is likely somewhere in your yard. 

Swarmers are attracted to light and die on window sills and other open areas. Collect some of the dead insects or wings so you can get them identified by Rob at Cobra Pest Control Service. Termite swarmers are a nuisance particularly when swarms occur inside. However, they do not cause damage. Killing the Swarmers eliminates the nuisance problem but it does not take care of the colony that may already be causing serious damage. Every year when Swarmers appear Pest Control companies usually get a lot of calls from scared home owners. If this is you, there is no great rush. Termites do damage very slowly. Whether you treat in 2 day or 2 weeks is the same. Take your time, do your homework and make an educated decision which Rhode Island Termite Control Company you will use. Don't let an Exterminator tell you we have to spray those Swarmers now. Most will die already and the rest when you have Rob come to treat.

March 30, 2017
Termite Posts
Rob Sullivan, the President of Cobra Pest Control Inc. Brings over 31 years of Exterminating Experience in the Pest Control field to this Blog Forum.