Flying Termites - Swarmers
When a subterranean termite colony is several years old and relatively large, it may produce another form of adult termite called a swarmer. Swarmers have four wings, are often brown or black, and range in size from approximately 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch in length.
Swarmers are the most visible form of termite - the only ones most homeowners will ever see. They are often confused with ants that also swarm in the spring. To tell them apart, swarming ants have elbowed antennae, a narrow waist, and the front wings are longer than the back wings; swarming termites have straight antennae, a thick waist, and all four wings the same length.
Swarmers are the termite’s way of starting new colonies. Swarmers are the new kings and queens of these colonies. In the spring, great numbers of swarmers can fly from a single colony. Male and female swarmers pair up, shed their wings, and tunnel into the ground. The pair then prepares a chamber near a wood source where the female will begin to lay eggs. These eggs are cared for by the king and queen and will develop into worker termites, which then take over care of the young from the queen and king.
Once enough workers are established, soldiers and other castes will develop from eggs produced by the queen. Two or three years after the establishment of a colony, secondary reproductives are produced. These greatly increase the egg-laying activity and population of the colony. Normally a colony must be established for at least three to four years or more before any swarming of winged termites from that colony will occur.
You will often find them on window sills and near other light sources. While they look like flying ants, they are most likely termites here in the Sacramento area. Call us immediately to schedule a free inspection to be sure. Save a sample insect in a plastic baggie. Spray the rest with Raid or some other household pesticide. It won't kill the termite colony but it will slow them down until we can treat your home with Termidor, the most effective guaranteed termite treatment.