Termites with Wings: Do Termites Fly?

Sep 21, 2023 | Termites

Termites with Wings: Do Termites Fly?

Termites, often deemed the silent destroyers of homes and wood structures, can be equipped with an interesting feature: wings. Yes, certain termites can fly!

In this article, we will dive into the intricacies of these winged termites. We’ll uncover the specific types of termites that possess wings, the purpose behind these wings, and what they mean for homeowners. Moreover, we’ll explore the lifecycle of these insects and how their flying capabilities can impact infestations in our homes.

Have you ever spotted a winged insect around your house and immediately felt anxious, wondering if your home might be at risk? You’re not alone. The very sight of these winged invaders can induce worry for many homeowners.

By the end of this article, we aim to arm you with knowledge and understanding, transforming that concern into confidence. Because once you know your “enemy,” you’re better prepared to tackle it.

Key takeaways

  • Not all termites fly, but those with wings play a key role in the termite life cycle. Look out for discarded wings or swarmers as they signal active infestations.
  • Ant or termite? Don’t mix ’em up. Termites have straight antennae and equal-sized wings, while ants have bent antennae and differently-sized wings.
  • Act fast and save your home. Get a professional to check pronto. Regular inspections catch problems early and save big on repairs.
  • While you can use bait stations or barrier treatments, pros often have the upper hand with potent methods. Plus, they keep those pesky bugs from making a comeback.
  • Stay curious and stay prepared. Winged termites fly mainly in spring and fall. They won’t bite you but can harm your home.

What are winged termites?

Termites with wings, also known as swarmers or alates, are vital to the termite life cycle.

Their distinct feature is their two pairs of equal-sized wings that extend beyond their body length. This differs from ants, where the front pair of wings is noticeably larger than the rear pair. Moreover, these termites have straight antennae and broad waistlines, setting them apart from other species.

Interestingly enough, not all termites develop wings. Only potential kings and queens – those destined for reproductive roles within their colonies – grow this unique appendage. Once matured, they use these fragile yet functional wings to leave their nest and start a new colony elsewhere during what we call nuptial flights.

Regarding wing color, flying termites typically sport shades from light brown to black – species-dependent. At about 1/4 inch long, including their wings, they’re not hard to spot if you know your bugs.

Lifecycle of termites with wings

Flying termites have one main role in their short lifespan: reproduction. These reproductive termites develop wings when their colony matures, usually in the summer season.

The sight of swarms flying might be your worst nightmare because it indicates an active termite infestation nearby. Once these reproductive members find mates, they shed their wings to start new colonies – hence why discarded wings often signal infestations.

Differentiating between flying ants and winged termites

Flying ants resemble winged termites, but some key differences exist between them:

    • Termite bodies have no waistline, unlike ants
    • Antennae of ants bend at a 90-degree angle, while those of termites are straight
    • Termite wings tend to be longer than ant ones.

Note: Up to 95% of homes show signs of possible infestations.

In case you’re not sure whether you’re dealing with ants or termites, getting help from a professional termite control expert is always a good idea. They can offer free termite inspection and suggest the most effective termite treatment.

Stay vigilant. An infestation could mean costly repairs if not addressed promptly.

Do termites actually fly?

Yes, termites can indeed fly, but their aerial abilities may not be what you’d expect.

Contrary to common perception, these insects are not capable of sustained flight. They rely on wind currents for long-distance travel during nuptial flights – their mating ritual that typically happens after rainfall in warmer months.

This process involves male and female alates leaving their colony en masse and using their wings to venture into the world. The goal? To start new colonies and further expand termite populations.

These flights are also crucial for survival. By dispersing over large areas before settling down again, as outlined here, they can escape predators and avoid inbreeding within the original colony.

How far can they fly?

Flying distances vary depending on species and conditions such as wind direction or strength, but generally speaking, winged termites might cover a distance of several hundred meters to over a kilometer.

Signs of Winged Termite Infestation

The presence of winged termites, or swarmers, indicates a mature infestation ready to spread. Their presence suggests the colony is mature and ready to expand.


    • Discarded wings: Finding discarded wings around your home can be unsettling, but it’s one surefire sign of termite activity. Termites shed their wings after finding a mate. This typically happens near windows or other light sources.
    • Swarmer sightings: If you spot winged termites indoors, that’s bad news. It usually means there’s an active infestation nearby because these pests rarely venture far from their colonies. EPA, advises homeowners to look for these critters during spring when they’re most likely to appear.
    • Damaged wood: The sight of damaged wood in your house might mean trouble too. Check for hollow-sounding timber or unexplained cracks on wooden surfaces – both signs indicate possible termite damage beneath the surface.
    • Mud tubes: Last but not least: mud tubes. These pencil-sized tunnels provide moisture while allowing termites safe passage between their food source and underground colonies. You’ll often find them along exterior walls or foundations where soil meets structure.

How to manage and prevent winged termite infestations

The first step in managing a winged termite problem is to identify the issue early. Regular property inspections can help spot signs like discarded wings or mud tubes indicating an infestation.

The EPA recommends professional pest control services for effective results because they use specialized equipment and chemicals more potent than DIY solutions. However, you can use bait stations and liquid termiticides if you want to tackle it yourself.

Bait stations lure termites with cellulose-based food treated with substances lethal to them. Once a worker termite eats from this station, it carries the poison back to its colony, where others also consume it, eventually leading to their demise.

Liquid termiticides create a barrier around your home’s foundation, preventing these critters from entering your premises. These liquids not only kill those who come into contact but provide long-term protection as well.


    • Trim vegetation near your house since overgrown shrubs can provide easy access points for flying termites.
    • Maintain good ventilation throughout your home; moisture attracts these pests.
    • Promptly repair leaking pipes; water-damaged wood is irresistible to them.
Letters spelled as FAQ inside small boxes

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s tackle some common questions about winged termites. Being equipped with this information can assist you in guarding your residence.

Do all termites have wings?

No, not all termites have wings. Only the reproductive members of a termite colony, also known as swarmers or alates, develop wings. These critters use their flight capabilities to leave their current nest and start new colonies elsewhere.

What time of year are winged termites most common?

The appearance of winged termites largely depends on species and weather conditions, but generally, they’re seen during spring and fall when the climate is warm and damp – perfect for starting new colonies.

Are winged termites dangerous?

Dangerous? Not directly. Winged termites won’t bite or sting humans. But don’t let them fool you. They indicate an active termite colony nearby, which can cause significant damage to structures over time if left unchecked.

What to do if you see termites with wings?

Contact a pest control professional immediately. They’ll assess your situation and suggest the best way to get rid of them.

Should I worry about winged termites?

Yes, because their presence often indicates a termite colony nearby. These pests can cause significant damage to your home’s structure.

Do flying termites mean you have termites?

Absolutely. Flying or winged termites are mature ones leaving their nest to start new colonies—usually in or around your house.

How do I get rid of termites with wings in my house?

Hire an experienced pest controller who uses effective methods like baiting systems and chemical barriers for complete elimination.

Guarding our homes against winged termites

After learning a lot about flying termites, how they act, and why they have wings, let’s remember why this matters: keeping our homes safe from these sneaky bugs. Knowing what signs to look for and how to keep them away means you don’t have to worry if you see a few wings or chewed-up wood.

We hope this article has been enlightening and useful, equipping you with the tools to stay vigilant during termite season.

Act before they attack: Your defense against winged termites

If you’ve noticed signs of winged termites in your home, don’t wait until the damage gets more severe. Act now. Getting professional help can save your property from serious harm.

Regular inspections are key for early detection and successful termite management. So why not get a thorough check done today?

Our team at Arrest a Pest is equipped to provide the help you require. We have years of experience dealing with pests like these flying menaces, so we know what works best.

    • We use advanced techniques that cause minimal disruption to your daily life.
    • We offer ongoing monitoring services to ensure they don’t return.
    • You’ll be kept in the loop throughout the process, as we value open dialogue with our customers.

No one should live under threat from damaging pests like winged termites. Let’s start reclaiming your peaceful abode today.

Remember, ignoring a pest problem won’t make it disappear, but acting on it will definitely help fix it. Request for an appointment now.

Adam Judnich

Adam Judnich

Owner @ Arrest A Pest

Serving the entire Coachella Valley

Arrest A Pest is your top-rated pest and bug control solution in the Coachella Valley! As a family-owned and operated business, our technicians grew up in the Coachella Valley and have a deep understanding of the pests in our area.

We understand that every pest infestation is an emergency, and we offer quick, safe, and thorough pest solutions and preventions for your home or business. No matter what pests are invading your space, our technicians are armed with state-of-the-art technology designed to rid your home or business of pests and help you stay pest-free long into the future.

Contact us today to schedule your FREE evaluation and let our team send the pests packing!

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