What is a swarmer?
First things first. A swarmer is a winged termite. It is called a swarmer because it gathers together with other termites in a swarm. The purpose of this swarm is for each termite to select a mate. Termites mate for life. As the swarm breaks apart, the couples find a location to create their nest. They shed their wings, burrow into the ground and create what scientists call the royal chamber. In this chamber, they mate and begin the process of creating worker termites.
What does a swarmer look like?
In our Monmouth county service area, the termites we deal with are subterranean termites. These produce black swarmers with long white wings. We say long, but this is relative to the termites. In total, a termite swarmer is about ⅜ of an inch long. Its wings make up most of its body length and hang off the end of the insect. When you see swarmers, their wings are the first thing you’ll notice. They are rounded at the tips and stack on top of each other. This is somewhat distinctive for insects. They’re also white against the black body of these insects. This contract makes them even more noticeable.
Do termite swarmers just pass through?
It is easy to think that these insects are just stopping on your house as they pass through the area. They have wings with which to get around. It only makes sense that they can cover some distance. But, while they could travel a long distance if they wanted to, they don’t. Their entire focus is to gather with other swarmers and select a mate. This process takes place in the general area. This is one reason why the appearance of swarmers is a warning sign of a nearby nest.
Another reason termites don’t travel far is that they don’t swarm for long. Swarms occur for less than 30 minutes. After this, the new queens and kings disperse to create nests. Fortunately, only a small percentage of the swarmers survive this process, and only a small number of viable nests are formed. This is because they get eaten by birds and other animals, or they land in locations that are inhospitable.
Why do swarmers in your home mean the nest is close?
The subterranean termites we have in our area rarely create interior nests. They nest in the ground. When swarmers leave a nest, they leave through ground tunnels by means of the fastest route. If they come inside your home, rather than outside, the nest is probably next to or under your home.
What could termite swarmers mean for your home?
It takes years for a nest to produce swarmers. If you’re seeing swarmers in your yard or in your home, it is possible that its colony has been damaging your property for years. This could lead to costly repairs. We hope this is not what swarmers mean for you. We hope that the swarmers lived on a nearby property and that they found other food sources, such as stumps, logs, trees with heart rot, lumber, or firewood to feed on for the past few years, and that there is still time to protect your property from damage.
What if termites have gotten into your home?
If you live in Monmouth County, New Jersey, reach out to us here at Alliance Pest Services. We’ll set you up to meet with one of our licensed pest professionals to perform an inspection and suggest treatment options. We’ll help you minimize the damage and guard your property against further damage.
What if termites haven't gotten into your house?
There are some preventative measures you can take to make your property resistant to termite swarmers and workers.
Remove stumps, logs, and other wood from your property. These attract workers and cause colonies to encroach.
Address damp conditions. These can attract swarmers and cause them to establish a colony next to your home.
Address areas of wood rot on your home. Swarmers want to create a nest near a food source.
The best way to protect your property is to have ongoing termite control services. If you live in Monmouth County, we can assist you with this. Drop us a line on our contact page to get started.
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