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Time for Termites to Swarm

Termite swarm cuts to internal timberworkAt the beginning of our storm season termites begin to swarm and will continue to swarm for the next four months.

These flying termites are called “alates” and have reproductive capabilities, that is to say that they are striving to become the “kings and queens” of new colonies.

In a typical swarm (or colonizing flight), the original colony will release tens of thousands of these alates. It typically happens when there is a lot of humidity in the atmosphere, as the termites can stay in the open air for a longer period of time. The alates also have a slightly harder skin than the other termite castes, which also buys them, time in the open air.

In normal circumstances, a termite can only last 2-3 hours in the open air before they desiccate and die. However alates can survive for 24 hours, and it is in this time space that they have to find food, shelter, and moisture, in order to start a colony. The odds are certainly stacked against them, because they are high on the menu for a plethora of birds, lizards, frogs, and other insects.

Do flying alates attack your house?

The important thing for the homeowner to realise is that these alates do not attack your house. While you may have a lot of the alates attracted to your house lights, in the same manner as moths, they do not eat your timber. However if the swarm is released from within your building, then you certainly need to give me a call, as this indicates that your house is likely to be sitting on a nest and will have sustained timber damage.

As the alates are looking for ideal nest sites, it is very important to rid your property of these sites and other favourable conditions:

  • reduce moisture sources
  • repair any leaking taps or rusty water tanks
  • plumb any air conditioning overflow pipes to drainage
  • remove any likely nest sites for example:
    • tree stumps
    • wood piles,
    • old landscaping sleepers, etc.
  • repair any decaying timber, because decaying timber holds all three elements of a perfect nest site, moisture, food, and shelter.

The alates must be correctly identified, as common ants look vaguely similar. However common ants have three segments to their bodies, and two sets of uneven sized wings. Alates have only two segments to their bodies, and have two sets of identical sized wings.

If you experience a swarm flight near you, it may be an opportunity to find a colony or termite source near your property, which then gives us the ability to remove the source and therefore potential risk to your property.

So if you are at all concerned by a swarm flight, feel free to contact Ashley Smith at Maroochy River Pest Control.





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