As the weather finally starts to warm up in Northeast Ohio, we start to receive calls about termite swarmer’s appearing in homes. Subterranean termites are the type of termites we deal with in this part of the country and they live underground. In April and May termite swarmer’s, called alates, appear in homes and are mistaken for winged ants. Termite swarmer’s develop when the colony is mature, usually 2-3 years old and fly out of the nest to reproduce and start new colonies. Both male and females are in the swarm and they live in the soil near the surface of the nest. Once they appear out of the ground they pair up, shed their wings, mate and start a nest to populate. This is where customers call and report seeing what look to be winged ants and many discarded wings on window seals or floors. A termite swarm may be the only visible sign of a termite infestation.
Identifying a termite swarmer from an ant swarmer is easy if you look for a few differences in the two. The easiest it to look at the wings – an ant will have 2 wings that are larger in the front and two smaller wings in the back. Termite swarmer’s have four wings all the same size. An ant will have 3 body parts with a pinched waist while the termite will seem to have one segment with a broader waist. And lastly, the ants’ antennae will bow inward while the termite swarmer will have straight antennae.
The graphic below is a good reference to help you identify an ant swarmer from a termite swarmer. I have also included a picture of a current termite swarm. The home is being remodeled and they had tape over the bedroom register. That part of the home has a crawl space underneath with active termites in mud tubes under the floor. As you can see, when termites swarm there can show up in huge numbers for a few days.
If you think you may have this pest issue at your home, give us a call at 234-571-1203 and enjoy the nice weather we have waited so long for. Dave.