The term termite swarm conjures up visions of hordes of termites moving into a neighborhood with the intent to eat up every building on the block!
While a termite swarm isn’t as nasty as that, it’s certainly not pleasant.
Killer bees swarm with the intent to harm (collectively, via instinct, not consciously) should their hive be attacked, and even honey bees “swarm” when looking for a new nest, but they are docile and unlikely to sting as they hunt for a new home for the queen honey bee.
Termite swarms, however, are neither aggressive nor are they docile: they’re just frenetic. A termite swarm occurs when many termites fly from their underground nest simultaneously in order to find a mate and to look for new food sources and a site for a new colony. The swarm flies at a height of about 600 to 900 feet and when those termites that mate (not every termite does) match with a mate, one of them – the “royal couple” – burrow in to the ground and the queen begins to lay her eggs.
Swarms usually occur in spring or early summer and don’t last very long. Termites don’t fly well and so they usually don’t go far (unless they catch a good breeze). Many members of the swarm don’t survive the flight because they’re eaten by birds, bats or larger insects. They also can die of natural causes before they find a new nest site.
Termite swarms can – and do – swarm in homes (lucky you!). They won’t harm you, but the über-fast swarming event can be a bit – shall we say – discombobulating should you experience one.
The event itself lasts about 30 minutes. If a swarm is swarming your home’s interior, they’ll head for your windows and glass doors almost immediately because as they leave their colony below ground they’re expecting to leave it and find themselves outdoors. They don’t want to be inside as much as you don’t want them inside. They’ll lose their wings in just a few minutes and, since they can’t get back into the ground, they’ll die relatively quickly.
Don’t bother with insecticide in the wall or foundation holes you find them emerging from. Their need to swarm is so great, they’ll return until the entire colony has left the ground. The best thing to do is to wait until they die and then clean up the tiny corpses.
Then call Nature’s Way Pest Control because you may experience several swarms over a period of days. What’s more, because termite colonies start creating a new generation of swarmers, you’ll find them swarming next year.
In addition, don’t wait until summer or fall to call in a pest control expert because waiting gives the termites time to establish what are known as “swarm castles” and they’ll emerge again next spring. If you experience a spring swarm, call us soon after the swarm event.