Why Flying Termites Mean Serious Trouble

Why Flying Termites Mean Serious Trouble

Why should you care about flying termites?
Well, I might go as far as to say that seeing winged termites are the insect equivalent of having a black cat cross your path – in other words, a sign of bad luck. I’ll explain why.

If you see swarms around or inside your home, it really should act as a warning sign for 2 potential dangers:

  1. you may already have an existing termite problem
  2. your home may be at risk of potential termite infestation

The actual swarmers themselves do not cause damage. It is their off-spring, which have the power to damage your property once they land back on solid ground and search for a suitable location to start a new colony. If they are successful within two years they can begin causing significant damage to your home.

Termite Swarmers

Flying termites are one of the clearest signs of a termite problem, and they could mean trouble to you and your home!

Experts are always telling us how difficult it is to tell if you have termites. However, when winged termites emerge from the nest to take flight, all of a sudden, you are presented with a very obvious, and not at all subtle, sign of termites.

Although as some ant species also swarm around the same time of year, you could be forgiven for confusing the two. And, of course, treatments for termites and ants differ enormously.

If you see winged termites indoors, the alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear – You may have an existing problem. In other words, you may have termite damaged timber or damaged furniture in your home.

On the other hand, seeing a termite swarm outdoors may not be too much of a concern apart from the obvious nuisance if you happen to be caught in the middle of it. More on this later.

When Do Termites Fly?

Usually in the spring, summer and periods of humidity. You may have witnessed swarms of winged termites, especially when the ambient air temperatures start to rise. This change in temperature triggers the winged termites to emerge from their nest (within some form of timber) to embark on a nuptial flight.

What is the point of flying termites?

It basically signals the start of a new termite colony. Swarming is the means by which sexually mature termites with wings leave their nest due to overcrowding or lack of sufficient food.
Both male and female winged termites (or alates, to give them their technical name) will take flight and essentially procreate mid-air, before then falling back down to the ground. The now impregnated female has the role of finding a suitable location in which to start a new termite colony as the Queen.

In some species the male might die shortly after this nuptial flight, and in others they will survive to become the King in the new colony (alongside the Queen of course).

Have you ever found discarded wings by a window?

Once back on solid ground, the female of the species discards her wings and looks for suitable wood to attack and build her nest in.
In the case of Drywood termites, this could be timber within your roof – this is where the potential damage begins…..and can continue unnoticed for months and even years!

In the case of Subterranean termites, once back on the ground, they will dig into the soil to start new colonies underground.

How To Reduce the Risk from Termite Swarms

Built-up moisture in wood resulting from damaged timber or timber with ground contact on your property can potentially attract termites. Regular inspection of your home has to be a key activity to protection against a termite infestation.

Actions to keep your home safe:

  • Keep mulch away from the foundations of your home
  • Regularly check the outside and subfloor areas of your home for mud tubes and damaged wood – common symptoms of a termite infestation
  • Practice good housekeeping and maintenance – repair any damaged soffits, roof tiles, or fascias
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
  • Prevent the accumulation of water – ensure downpipes and gutters are working well to divert rainwater away from your house

Zona Tan-Sheppard

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I didn’t know that termites could fly. I’m also a little worried because my husband heard about someone in our neighborhood talking about an infestation nearby. It looks like I’m going to have to make sure to try out those tips to prevent an infestation in my own home.

I was sitting outside and all of a sudden these flying termites just start falling from what appears to be the over hang of the roof why would they be doing this?

Thankyou very very much for this site on termites, I’m working on a science project and this site is helping a lot.

I’ve done some home treatments last year and seemed to clear things up. But this year new swarmers in the house. What’s odd is they seem to be dead before they have a chance to shed their wings. Looking into pro treatment, but wondering why so many dead all over the house.

My husband brought a fixer upper and started the work without a permit and the home was infested with termites. After a yr we finally got the permits but now my home which is in front of the fixer upper has termites they are in the air at night swams in my home.. I need a new roof but should i have my home tented first then fix the roof

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I live in FL. I have been battling the termites for a month. It started off slow but became horrendous. Like tonight. It’s 5:10am. Up all night battling the termites. Dry wood have iridescent wings. Subs seem to have more brown wings. In past years the swarm lasted a week tops. My plan was to tent my house in early 2016. Unfortunately I got hit by a random 35000 pound bulldozer and I had another more important fight. Hillsborough Co FL let an unsupervised bulldozer that size loose in a quaint neighborhood just blocks from a school. I never was involved in a crash before, I went into shock for months and I have had two back surgeries and need more but my KW family I worked for over 25 years total abandoned me. No insurance is a huge problem and using all my funds to live with no job is another. So no tent. I tried to spot treat. I tried everything. People say do it yourself works. Maybe if you have someone who does not mind going in the crawl space (just don’t, there are icky things there and you need a tyveck suit.) Then there is the attic and many are to small to get every price of wood. Never let an unknown piece of wood into your home. That’s hard. I think they can come in on anything including that nice furniture or the toilet paper. The dead wood against your home or the brand new piece you bought for a project. They will come in from anywhere they live. And they eat carpet too. Best bet, the first time you se a little pile of what looks like small pellets scoop them up and have a donit yourself pest person look at it. They will tel you. Then call the professionals. Get four bids and don’t overlook the small mom and pop companies. You may get better treatment from them. Keep your warranty up for the entire time you own the home. Pass it along if you sell. Make sure th me company you choose offers that. Trust me, you do not want termites swarming your home.

Thank you this is the best termite explanation I have ever seen and I’ve read a lot.


What Are the Dangers of Termite Tenting a House?

House tenting, otherwise known as «structural fumigation,» is a localized method of pest control that is commonly used when other forms of pest removal would be untenable. In some instances, tenting can be used in homes, businesses and other structures to remove beetles, bed bugs and termites. Before choosing to use tenting in your home or office, there are some things that should be considered, however, as this method of pest control can prove fatal to humans, pets or plants if proper precautions are not taken.

Termite Tenting Overview

During termite tenting, the occupants of the home, including plants and pets, must find somewhere else to live for two to three days due to fumigation dangers. Pest control professionals drape the house in heavy sheets of vinyl-coated nylon tarps, then secure these with tape and plastic sheeting to form a tent around the home. They pump the tent full of gaseous chemicals, which kill termites, as well as virtually any other living thing within the home. While methyl bromide once served as the primary chemical for termite tenting, it has been phased out in favor of odorless, colorless sulfuryl fluoride. The sulfuryl fluoride is mixed with chloropicrin, a form of tear gas, which helps warn anyone who comes near the house that a dangerous chemical is present. When the tent is removed, both of these chemicals escape into the atmosphere, and the pest control professionals test the air before allowing the homeowners to move back in.

Health Effects of Tenting

Sulfuryl fluoride is a central nervous system depressant, and is highly toxic to humans, animals and plants. While remaining in the home during termite tenting means certain death for animals, humans and plants, sulfuryl fluoride rapidly dissipates once the tent is removed from the home. The building and the materials within do not retain toxic levels of this chemical. Levels of the gas decline to near undetectable levels, even without the use of fans, open doors or open windows, once the tent is removed. When termite tenting is performed properly, occupants are not cleared to re-enter the home until levels have reached below 1 ppm, a level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Environmental Dangers

When the tent is removed from a home, sulfuryl fluoride rapidly escapes from the home. Though this gas no longer poses an immediate threat to the home’s occupants, it does pose certain dangers to the environment. Sulfuryl fluoride is a potent greenhouse gas, and contributes to global warming. This gas stays in the atmosphere for 30 to 40 years, and may linger for as long as a century. Even worse, this gas is 4,000 percent more effective than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat, which could contribute to climate change.

Is Fumigation Safe for Humans?

Fumigation is safe provided you follow all instructions given. Deaths associated with tenting are extremely rare. It is important to remember that death can happen if you re-enter your home before the air is properly tested for safety. To ensure that your family will be safe, make sure that you have the assurance that the air quality has been tested and chemical levels are below 1 PPM.

Despite the environmental risks, sulfuryl fluoride is one of the most effective ways to kill termites that could otherwise destroy your home. Severe, widespread infections of dry wood termites and other wood-eating bugs tend to require tenting to completely kill off the infestation.

The best way to ensure that you approach termite tenting safely is to follow all instructions given by your pest removal professional. In some cases, this could mean finding a temporary residence for a few days to a week or more. The professionals will secure tarps around your home before pumping gas into the makeshift «tent.» Many times, the sulfuryl fluoride is mixed with a form of tear gas known as chloropicrin. This is a precautionary measure to caution people from getting too close to the building while it is being fumigated.


Termite Wall Damage

What Does Termite Wall Damage Look Like?

Holes and cavities within walls can indicate the presence of termites. Walls are particularly susceptible to termite damage for a number of reasons: they are accessible from the ground, and their surface area is considerable.

Common signs of termite damage to a wall include:

  • Small pin holes, where termites have eaten through the paper coating on drywall and/or wallpaper. You may see dirt in a hole made by subterranean termites. Drywood termites do not leave soil behind.
  • Faint ‘lines’ on drywall. (As termites tunnel through the paperboard on drywall, you may be able to see a map of their tunnels from the outside of the wall.)
  • A hollow sound when you tap on the wall.
  • Bubbling or peeling paint.
  • Baseboards that crumble under slight pressure.
  • Jammed doors or windows. (If termites damage structural components, the house can settle or shift in a way that affects the operation of doors and windows.)
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Termites can remain hidden within walls and floors, so it may be difficult to discover their presence. Periodic professional inspections can help detect activity before the termites have time to cause significant damage.

Subterranean Termite Wall Damage

Subterranean Termites are the most common cause of termite damage in the U.S. They live in loose, damp soil and create underground tunnels towards food sources. Subterranean termite colonies can become very large, so if you notice any potential activity there’s a good chance that many more are close by. Therefore, it is wise to have a periodic termite inspection in order to prevent or reduce the amount of damage caused by these critters.

Looks like water damage

Evidence of subterranean termites on walls and ceilings often looks like the beginning stages of water damage.

You should keep an eye out for the following:

  • buckling wood
  • discolored drywall
  • paint with bubbles in it

Subterranean termites create mazes in areas they’re inhabiting, so if you see any unusual patterns or small, pushpin-sized holes in walls, call your termite control provider as soon as possible.

Drywood Termite Wall Damage

Drywood termites live in and feed on wood, so they are particularly drawn to studded walls, attic areas and furniture. They do not require contact with soil, and their colonies are typically smaller than their subterranean counterparts. Due to their smaller colony size, evidence of activity or an infestation is slow to develop and often difficult to spot.

Hollow sounding wood

Drywood termites eat wood from the inside out. If your walls sound hollow when you tap them or you find that wood is crumbling when touched, you likely have a termite problem. Once termites have burrowed deep into your wooden structures, you may be able to see the mazes they create. It’s possible for this to happen in your walls, furniture or floor boards. If you’re able to see the mazes, there is probably a full-blown infestation. Since this type of damage could indicate larger issues, be sure to call your termite control provider as soon as you spot any signs.

The surface area of walls exposed to soil is generally larger than other parts of a home. This large surface area appeals to termites as a food source, as many insects can feed on the same piece of wood without having to travel and forage too far.

Termites cause more damage to walls than to most other parts of infested homes: because walls are thinner, an infestation spreads more quickly and severely compromises the strength of walls. Cheaper materials, such as laminated plywood or particle board, are often rapidly affected.

However, this type of termite damage to walls can be prevented. By choosing the correct materials, having a pest control professional pretreat the home, and having a regular termite inspection by a termite control specialist, your home may remain termite free.


How Toxic to Humans is Termite Tenting?

If you’re like most people, your home is the single largest financial investment of your life. Protecting that investment from threats such as termites is a high priority. On the other hand, you don’t want to take pest control measures that may be potentially harmful to human beings. Questions have been raised about the possible toxicity of a popular termite control method known as tenting. Let’s take a look at how safe this procedure really is.

First, What Are Termites?

Termites are wood-eating insects that can seriously damage homes and any other structures made of wood. They are similar to ants in size and appearance. However, termites do not have the pinched-in waist and bent antennae that distinguish ants. One of the most visible signs of termites in your home (besides damage to the wood, of course) is discarded wings during the spring mating season. Ants never shed their wings.

What Is Termite Tenting?

Tenting involves draping termite-infested structure with a tent and introducing poisons into the tent to kill the termites. The homeowners must carefully follow the exterminator’s instructions and find other accommodations during the treatment cycle, which lasts 2-3 days.

Why Is Termite Tenting a Cause for Concern?

When the tent is removed, the poison escapes into the atmosphere. The chemicals used in this fumigation process, and other termite treatments, cause many experts to worry about environmental and physical health.

Researchers at UC Irvine found that «an insecticide used to fumigate termite-infested buildings is a strong greenhouse gas that lives in the atmosphere nearly 10 times longer than previously thought. The chemical, sulfuryl fluoride (SF), stays in the atmosphere perhaps as long as 100 years. Earlier estimates projected its atmospheric lifetime at as low as five years, grossly underestimating the global warming potential.»

Not only does SF damage the environment, it has been implicated in human fatalities, even though the victims followed all safety precautions. The Center for Disease Control reported that a Virginia couple died within seven days of having their home tented and fumigated. According to the CDC, the exterminators «failed to measure the air concentration of SF inside the home.»

Alternatives to Termite Tenting

Researchers and healthcare providers encourage using less toxic and harmful pesticides to eradicate termites. According to the University of Kentucky Entomology Department, there are two other options to tent treatment for termites: baiting and liquid soil application.


The termite baiting process is complicated and, as with other termite treatments, should be handled by professionals only. Basically, the process involves placing paper or cardboard treated with a slow-acting poison. Termites are attracted to the bait, eat it, and eventually die.

Liquid Applications

Termiticides applied to the soil around the infested property create a lasting poisonous barrier that prevents termites in the ground from entering a building. Termites already in the structure die when they cannot return to the soil. Premise® (imidacloprid — implicated in the death of honeybees around the world), Termidor® (fipronil), and Phantom® (chlorfenapyr), are non-repellent and kill termites tunneling into the treatment zone.

If Tenting Is Your Only Option

While there are several options available to eradicate termites, tenting is often recommended when there is widespread infestation. If tenting is your only option, be sure to work with a licensed, reliable pest control expert experienced in termite tenting. Follow his or her instructions and safety precautions carefully. Do not return to the property for any reason until a professional has tested the air to be certain that the sulfuryl fluoride concentration has returned to a safe level.

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What Kills Termites

Top 5 Things You Can Use to Kill Termites

Want to know what kills termites naturally and what chemicals kill termites fast? So read this post to the end to discover what you can use to kill termites effectively.

When you find termites in your home or business the first question you are likely to have is “What kills termites?”.

Termites can seriously damage a building if they are not taken care of quickly. You don’t want to end up with costly repairs.

Below are some common questions and answers that are sure to help you with ridding your home or business of termites.

How Do I Know If I Have Termites?

First, you need to determine if you do in fact have a termite problem. Check for the following:

  1. Termite droppings.
  2. Paint that appears to be bubbling or cracking.
  3. The sound of hollow wood when you tap on it.
  4. Seeing wings that have been discarded from the swarmers.
  5. Check crawl spaces, walls, and wooden beams for mud tubes.
  6. Winged insects swarming temporarily in your house or even from soil that is surrounding your house.

There is no specific season for termites. However, you are most likely to see them from March through November.

I’ve Found Evidence, Now What?

So if you have found clear evidence that you have termites you need to next determine what to use to kill termites.

What Can I Use To Get Rid Of Termites?

You can kill termites naturally, with chemicals, or with the help of a professional. You will need to decide if this is a job that you can take on alone or one that you need professional help with.

Remember that termites can seriously damage your home. We recommend that you don’t take a termite infestation light.

What Kills Termites Naturally?

There are a couple of different natural ways that you can kill termites.

1. Nematodes

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These are tiny microscopic worms. They have been becoming more popular as a way controlling pests organically.

Often they come on a sponge that is placed in water. The solution is sprayed in the areas that are affected like shelter tubes or other areas where you can see the termites.

Nematodes then infect termites and will over time kill them all off. This is extremely efficient as these tiny worms are carried deep into the nest by the termites, therefore killing off populations that are large in size.

2. Vinegar

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Another answer for what can kill termites naturally is vinegar. You can use it diluted or without diluting.

It will kill present termites on contact and it helps to keep others from using the tube in which you sprayed the vinegar.

Repeating this application can help to stop early stages of an infestation as well as prevent future infestations.

What Chemicals Kill Termites?

Of course, you would want to know the best chemical to kill termites. The good news is that there are a few options out there.

1. Fipronil

This is one of the active ingredients in a lot of the liquid termite products out there. It was designed to damage the termite’s central nervous system when it comes into contact with them.

This chemical is great for barrier treatments when preventing infestations as well as for when you are treating an active one.

2. Imidacloprid

This insecticide is synthetic and nicotine is the substance it is derived from. It is the ingredient that is active in termite underground chemical treatments.

Imidacloprid works if the termite ingests it or if it comes into contact with it. It is slow acting and this allows the termite affected plenty of time to transfer it to the other termites.

All it takes is an affected termite coming into contact with the queen and it will kill off the entire termite colony.

3. Hexaflumuron

Another answer to what chemicals kill termites is hexaflumuron. This chemical is used most commonly in baiting systems for termites.

This is another slow acting chemical and it is not liquid in form. It works to inhibit the growth of the termites and exploits the colony’s social behavior.

Termites find the station and then leave behind smells that will alert the others of where the food can be found. They eat and take the chemical back, affecting the other termites that they come into contact with.

The great benefit to hexaflumuron is not only that it kills off the whole colony if it reaches the queen, but it is also much less environmentally toxic than the liquid chemicals.

Now I Know What Kills Termites, But How Do I Prevent Re-infestation?

Once you have treated your termite problem you need to make sure that you take measure to prevent them from returning.

Before you do that though we recommend that you contact a professional to ensure that the infestation is completely gone.

You don’t want to think that you have knocked out the problem only to find that it comes back worse than ever before.

To prevent further issues, you want to create a barrier. A chemical barrier is when the soil is treated with a chemical.

There are also physical barriers. This is when there is protection between the home and the soil. It can be made from mesh that is stainless steel, or another material that is made to make it hard for termites to gain access to your home.

The physical barrier is in place to help protect the structure’s foundation. While these barriers won’t kill the termite it should keep them from getting to your house.

Do know that these are 100% effective as these preventative systems can sometimes be breached by the termites. That said you may find it beneficial to protect your home in more ways than one.


There are many ways that you can kill termites once you have established that you have a problem. Remember, you can use a natural methods or chemicals.

You need to decide on the best method for what kills termites based on your current situation. After treatment is complete don’t forget how serious it is to make sure that you are taking measure to prevent the termites from reinvesting your house.

Enjoyed Top 5 Things You Can Use to Kill Termites ? Please share it with your friends so they too can learn what kills termites naturally and fast.


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