Do Flying Termites Eat Wood? Science Has The Answer

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Flying termites, sometimes called “alates,” are precursors to a possible infestation. They invade homes in swarms during a particular year’s season and can be very destructive, eating wood and destroying it. So, do flying termites eat wood? While they superficially resemble ants, flying termites are a different species that eat only wood. Flying termites are often considered harmless because they are small and don’t seem to do any damage. It is a dangerous mistake that can lead to a serious infestation. 

Continue reading to find out about flying termites eating wood. 

What do flying termites look like?

What do flying termites look like?

Flying termites are a specific type different from the more common subterranean termites. They are about the size of a pencil eraser and have four wings extending far past their body. They also have short, straight antennae.

Flying termites come from colonies of winged reproductive termites that leave the colony to form new colonies elsewhere. Their thorax and abdomen are about the same width and have small unique characteristics that set them apart from other bugs.

Flying termites are very small and light in color. They have two pairs of wings that are the same size. They can be mistaken for flying ants, but some key differences exist. Flying termites have straight antennae, while flying ants have elbowed antennae.

Flying termites also have a uniform waist, while flying ants have a thicker waist near their thorax.

How long do flying termites live?

Flying termites, also known as reproductive termites, can be found in many parts of the world. They are attracted to light and can often be seen around windows or doors.

Flying termites, or alates, only live for an hour after they take flight. They are the reproductive termites and will eventually die off after they mate.

There are a variety of different types of termites that live in a nest, including soldiers, workers, and reproductives. Homeowners need to be careful with roofing materials as they can cause damage to structures.

Do flying termites eat wood?

Termites finishing off a pine tree stump

The answer is no. Flying termites cannot eat. Their only job is to mate and find a new place to infest. After mating, the male and female lose their wings, and their first job is to drill a hole in the wood so they can start laying eggs.

Flying termites, or alates, are the reproductive form of termites. They will swarm to mate and then establish a new nest. While they can establish a nest inside the house without contact with the ground, they struggle to find moisture sources like a leaking shower.

If you see a lot of flying termites around your home, it’s important to close all windows and screens and call a professional immediately.

Termites are a threat during a swarm and when they are already established in the house. Termite entry through subterranean tunnels is the biggest threat to your home.

Speaking of other termites, they are particularly drawn to wood, their basic building block in the cell wall of plants. They are known to eat wood, but many other products have cellulose, which they will also consume.

If you find termites in your garden and eat them in your home, consider putting items in plastic totes to prevent damage.

What do termites eat?

Termites are small, soft-bodied insects that eat the cellulose in wood. It is the plant fiber found in trees and other plants. They don’t consume the whole wood but burrow into it and eat it inside.

Almost all activity happens in darkness, so it’s common for an active termite colony to go undetected for a long time.

Termites are a pest that can cause a lot of damage if left untreated. They live in the dark and avoid bright light, so it is often difficult to spot them until they have caused significant damage.

Termites build tunnels and larger open areas within the wood to store eggs and move from place to place.

In addition, termites eat away at the wood that supports a structure and can damage it over time. As they consume the wood, it starts to crumble and fall apart.

Termites cause billions of dollars in damage every year. Termites eat wood, and over time the wood starts to crumble away. It can be very costly for homeowners and businesses, as insurance policies do not usually cover termite damage.

Do all termites fly in a termite colony?

Do all termites fly in a termite colony?

Termites are a type of social insect that live in colonies. There are three types of termites: workers, soldiers, and reproductives. 

Reproductives are the only ones with wings produced once the colony is mature. They use lights as meeting spots to fly at night, break off their wings after fertilization, and attempt to form a new colony. 

Not all termites fly, but the winged ones are the only ones that can mate and start new colonies. It is called termite swarming season, with termites swarming activity throughout your property.

How do flying termites get in your house?

Termites get in your home by coming into contact with the soil. They can also enter your home through cracks in the mortar of brick walls and the foundation.

Common Signs of a Termite Infestations or Bugs Infestations in Your Property

Common Signs of a Termite Infestations or Bugs Infestations in Your Property

Termites are a common pest and can cause significant damage to homes. They are active year-round, so it is important to know the signs of an infestation.

Look for narrow mud tubes, tiny holes, frass (termite droppings), and other signs. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact a professional immediately.

Winged termites, or swarmers, are one of the most common signs of an infestation. They are created when an adult termite sheds its wings and can be seen flying around

Another sign is piles of frass which look like sawdust. It is the excrement from the termites. If you see any of these signs, it is important to call a professional to assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary. 

What is the home termites treatment for termite swarmers?

Termites with wings are a sign that you have an infestation. If you see them, there are likely many more termites hidden away. It is important to address the issue as soon as possible. There are a few things you can do to get rid of flying termites:

  • Repair any moisture issues in your home, as this will attract termites
  • Remove extraneous wood and debris from your property, such as fallen trees, leaf litter, etc. It will remove their food source and make it harder for them to establish themselves on your property.
  • Avoid contact of wood with soil as much as possible. 
  • Mulch can be helpful, but make sure you pull it back from the foundation of your house. 
  • Additionally, don’t stack firewood next to your home. 
  • Doing so makes it easy for termites to travel from one place to another and increases the likelihood that they will infest your home.


Flying termites are not wood-eating termites. They are flying bugs that can drill a hole in the wood, which leads to their entry into the wooden structure. Once inside, they can cause extensive damage by eating the wood from the inside out.

In conclusion, this guide has taught you what flying termites are and where they come from. If you see any flying termites, be worried because it might be an invasion of flying termites. 

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.