Termite Swarmers Have Started

Swarming is the signature activity of termite colony life. Hundreds to thousands of winged male and female termites pour out of underground nests between March and June in Kentucky. After mating, females will establish new colonies.

Termite reproductives usually swarm on warm, sunny days following rain. Those that emerge indoors are attracted to light, accumulating at windows and doors. Often, this is how an infestation is discovered.

Termite swarmers emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations out in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern and do not necessarily mean that a house is infested. However, if winged termites emerge from the base of a foundation wall, porch, or patio, there is a good chance that the house is infested and treatment is warranted.

Here are some things to keep in mind if you suspect termites are swarming:

1) Be sure the insects are in fact termites and not ants; several species of ants also swarm at this time. Termites have straight antennae, a broad waist, and 4 equal-sized wings. Ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists, and their front wings are longer than the hind wings. Have the identification confirmed at your Cooperative Extension office..

2) There are effective control measures to deal with termite infestations. Learn about your control options in Termite Control: Answers for Homeowners (EntFact-604).

Figure 1. Winged termites have dark bodies and long wings that easily break off of the body. (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK)

Figure 2. Comparison of winged ant and termite (Drawing from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension)




By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist


Posted in Household Pests