Everyone knows that April showers bring spring flowers. But flowers aren’t the only byproduct of the springtime rain. It’s not unusual to see flying termites after a storm. These flying insects, also known as alates, come from the ground, tree stumps or cracks in building foundations. As an alate, it’s job is to leave the nest, find a mate and produce a new termite colony – one that might give rise to thousands or millions of offspring.
Termites After Rain
Because their bodies quickly lose moisture, rain sometimes encourages termite swarming. If you notice flying termites after a springtime shower, it’s pretty obvious that they’ve built a colony and found a home in yours.
As a result of the rain, you may see thousands of termites swarming in search of new mates to reproduce a colony. However, rain isn’t the trigger for swarming as much as the warm temperatures, the humidity and the age of the colony itself are.
Despite their name, flying termites are the best fliers and rarely travel more than 100 meters away from their prior colony. Once the termites land and shed their wings to initiate the mating process, the birth of a new colony begins. Together, the couple constructs a small underground chamber and the female starts to lay her eggs.
Fortunately, very few of the flying termites actually mate and establish new colonies, and if they do, the new colonies hardly reach maturity. Yet, if they do survive, the swarmers can be long-lived. Termite queens can live up to 30 years old or more.
Types of Termites
Although there are copious types of termites, the most commonly found in the U.S. include subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. It’s necessary for all three species to have access to a regular supply of water for their colonies to continue flourishing.
Subterranean termites get their required moisture from the soil. Subterranean termites colonies build mud tubes in order to travel to homes and forage for food – wood.
Drywood termites establish homes in dry, sound wood like structural lumber, utility poles, decks, fences, stored lumber, and fences. They reap their necessary moisture from the atmosphere as well as the wood that they’ve found a home in.
Dampwood termites are usually found infesting decayed wood that retains moisture either through contact with the ground or exposure to a water leak. Homeowners shouldn’t be as concerned about this species of termites since they infest wood that is already damaged. Dampwood termites are the only kind that finds its moisture from free-standing water.
Termite Social Structure
Termites’ social capabilities resemble that of bees, ants, and wasps due to their elaborately organized colonies, which are controlled by a single or few queens. In these colonies, the labor is divided among the termites and each class has its own responsibility. Working termites nurture the young. Prior to maturity, this new generation of termites works to support the elderly. The soldiers are responsible for protecting the colony. The swarmers, commonly known as alates or reproductives, are accountable for reproducing. The termite queen is supposed to lay the eggs for new colonies.
Sometimes swarmers emerge from inside your home. Fortunately, these termites are incapable of eating wood, seldom survive and can be either swept up or removed with a vacuum cleaner. However, if you notice swarmers, it’s possible that you have an existing termite problem.
If notice any signs of termites, don’t wait until it’s too late. Visit Terminix and let one of our highly trained termite control professions conduct a free inspection of your property. If we notice evidence of a termite invasion, we’ll present you with a solution.
Even if you don’t currently have termite activity, calling a termite control professional is a good idea. Since termites feast 24/7, Terminix has plans that can help protect you from the cost of future termite infestations.