Do Termites Fly?

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Termites are a part of the order Isoptera, which includes flying and non-flying species. Do termites fly? The answer, however, is not so simple. The flying termites, or alates, are the ones you see when they swarm. Termites live underground and can cause significant damage to homes and other structures. 

However, the majority of termites are underground and do not have wings. When homeowners see large numbers of flying termites, it is often a sign that they have an existing problem with termites. 

What Do Flying Termites Look Like?

Do termites fly?

Flying termites are a particular type of termite with long wings that can be easily identified. They are roughly three-eighths of an inch long and have four wings that extend far past their bodies.

Winged termites, or flying termites, are the reproductive caste of the termite colony. 

Termites’ front pair of wings are longer than the back pair, and they have a thick-waisted appearance because their thorax and abdomen are roughly the same widths.

How Long Do Flying Termites Live?

Flying termites, also known as swarmers, live for only 24 hours after taking off. This is the time when they mate and reproduce. Once they die, their offspring will take over the colony.

Flying termites are known as alates. Termites use their wings to spread out in an attempt to make a new nest.

What Causes Flying Termites colony and Swarms?

Flying termites swarm to reproduce. It is also a sign of an infestation in the area, as the termites are looking for a new place to live. There are several reasons you might see flying termites, including changes in weather conditions and damage to the home.

Flying termites with their snapped wings

When a colony of termites reaches its population limit, the queen and king will leave the colony, searching for new land to colonize. This process results in a swarm of flying termites.

Many factors can affect how often a swarm will occur, including local conditions and geography. For example, if there is a lot of moisture in the air, it will make it more favorable for termites to swarm.

Do termites fly?

Termites can fly for a short period, but they eventually lose their wings. Once the termites have found a new colony, they will shed their wings and start working on the new colony. The light veny-wing on each side is the characteristic of termites.

Termites, much like other insects, have different stages in their life cycle. The alates are the termites that have wings and can fly. They are responsible for starting the colonies. The majority of the termite population comprises nymphs, which do not have wings and cannot fly.

Why do flying termites mean serious trouble?

When a flying termite colony invades a structure, it can cause significant damage like mud tubes in the walls. If left untreated, the flying termites can damage furniture, flooring, and even the structural integrity of a building.

Flying termites, also known as swarmers, are attracted to moisture and heat. This means that they are especially dangerous in humid climates. They can quickly infest a home or building if they are not dealt with quickly.

Since flying termites indicate a serious infestation, it is important to take immediate action. 

How to check for flying termites?

If there is a termite problem, there are some telltale signs to look for. 

  • Finding piles of discarded wings near the entrance to their nest. Mature termites have left the nest to start a new colony. 
  • You can also check for mud tubes, which termites often use to travel between their nest and food sources.
  • Termites often fly during the day, so it’s worth checking out if you see any flying insects around your home. 
  • You may also find termite droppings around the home; these will be small and black.

Other general signs of termite activity include:

In addition to the mentioned signs, there are other general signs of termite activity that homeowners should look out for:

  • These can include hollowed-out wood, exterior wood damage, bubbling paint, and droppings.
  • Termites can often be found near water sources, so keep an eye out for them near your sinks, toilets, and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Termites build mud tubes as they travel between their underground nest and the food source. If you see these tubes, you likely have an infestation. 
Mud tubes through which termites travel

Do flying termites bite?

Termites do not have a stinger and they do not bite or sting humans. There is no evidence that humans may contract diseases by coming into contact with them.

Termites swarm in order to mate and start new colonies. The last thing they want is anything to do with a human, but they are definitely interested in the wood in your home!

How to keep flying termites out of your home.

One of the ways to keep flying termites out of your home is to seal any gaps or cracks in the wooden foundation. This will help to prevent them from entering your home and infesting it. You can also install a termite barrier around the outside of your home to further protect it.

Then you need to check for a moisture problem. Termites need moist environments to survive, so if you have a leaky roof or broken pipes, that’s an open invitation for them to move in. Fix any water problems you may have and ensure your home is properly ventilated.

Do a good inspection around your home for any potential entry points that flying termites could use to get in.

Cover up any cracks or Holes, and make sure all of your doors and windows close tightly. If you have an attic or basement, install screens over the vents to keep the termites out.

What’s the Difference Between Flying Termites and Flying Ants?

Flying termites and flying ants are both types of insects that can fly. However, they look different from each other. Flying termites have a broader body, and their wings are shorter than those of flying ants.

There is a big difference between flying termites and flying ants. Flying termites swarm to mate, while flying ants do not. When an ant colony grows too large, the queen will produce winged queens and males to start new colonies.

Interestingly, there is a noticeable difference between flying termites and flying ants. The waist of a flying ant is thicker than a flying termite’s. This is because the thorax of an ant has muscles that help it pump fluid into its wings, making them larger and enabling them to fly.

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Termites aren’t trying to be a burden, but they swarm because it’s time for them to create a new colony. This is when you’ll start to notice them near your home. And there are certain seasons when termites will swarm. We can call this the mating season.

Termites can be a real nuisance, and they can cause a lot of damage to your home if left untreated.

Termites swarm near the damaged wood

How long do flying termites live?

Termites, especially the flying ones, can live up to 10 years in their colonies. They are very important for the ecosystem as they help break down dead wood and return the nutrients to the soil.

Flying termites are the longest-lived insects on Earth. Termites have a lifespan of 25 years, which is significantly longer than the average lifespan of an insect.

King and queen termites are the most important termites in a colony. They are responsible for producing offspring, and they also direct the colony’s activities.

Their life expectancy is about two years. It is important to eliminate the pests as soon as possible to prevent future infestations.

How are flying termites treated and eradicated?

They might be difficult to get rid of and often require a defense plan. There are various ways to stop termites from burrowing underground. One way is to use a termite system, which will create a physical barrier between the soil and the wooden structure.

You can also use a protective barrier, which will prevent termites from getting into your home in the first place.

Flying termites infestation

They can reproduce quickly and can go undetected for long periods. You should take some precautionary measures to avoid entering the home. If left untreated, flying termites can cause extensive property damage


When you see a group of flying termites, there is likely a thriving colony of termites nearby. While this may be alarming, it also means that the colony is healthy, and you should take action to address the infestation as soon as possible.

Additionally, if there is a sudden increase in temperature following rain, it could be a warning sign that your home is at risk of infestation. You can take some measures to prevent future infestations and protect your home from these pesky insects.

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.