Flying Termites – Facts And Information

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Flying termites are a common sight during the summertime months. It is important to know about flying termites’ facts and information. They swarm as they search for new homes and create above-ground and underground nests.

Termites are common household bugs that can cause extensive damage to your home if they gain access. It is important to identify a termite infestation as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to address the issue.

Continue reading to know more about flying termites.

Do termites fly?

many of brown winged termite (alates) on cement floor

Termites are flying insects, and they only fly for a short time before losing their wings. Generally, during the nuptial flight, they leave their colony to mate.

Termites are fascinating creatures with intricate social order. Their caste system is split into Workers, Soldiers, and Alates. 

Each caste of termite has a specific role in the colony. The king and queen are responsible for reproduction, and workers build and maintain the nest. Soldiers termites protect the colony from predators.

But can termites fly? Alates are the only termites that can fly, and they are responsible for starting new colonies. During certain times of the year, alates will swarm to mate and start new colonies.

What do flying termites look like?

Alates or Flying Termite on White background.

Flying termites are mistaken for flying ants. Termites have six legs while ants have eight. Termites also have an abdomen that isn’t segmented, while ants do.

Their heads are big, and they have straight antennae with beaded ends. However, they can’t cause the same kind of intense damage to your home and property that flying ants can.

Flying termites, or flying ants, can be annoying because they swarm in large numbers. However, they are not dangerous and do not eat through metal or plastic.

They eat wood, so if you have a lot of termites flying around your house, that might be a sign that you have an infestation.

Flying Termites- Facts and information

Winged Eastern Subterranean Termites emerge from underground nests to mate and start new colonies.

Termites can fly, but only a few can do it. The flying termite is known as the alate, and they are different in appearance from the worker and queen termites. They are also known to be more aggressive than their counterparts.

Termites are social insects that live in colonies. These colonies can be divided into different levels, each with different tasks. The three types of termites are soldier, worker, and palate.

Soldiers defend the colony from predators and other threats while workers build and maintain the nests. Alates are the reproductive caste, and they fly away from the colony to start new colonies. 

Winged termites, or the kings and queens, are called swarmers. They are so named because they have wings, which they use to travel from one place to another to start their colonies. Swarmer termites may also be used to repopulate an existing colony that has been damaged.

In addition to the previously mentioned facts, flying termites have other responsibilities in the colony. Their primary job is to attend to the queen’s needs and help the larvae grow.

Additionally, workers are responsible for defending the colony against intruders; when necessary, they will also fight to protect their territory.

Lastly, alates are born-developed termites that will fly off and establish new colonies elsewhere. The time they swarm depends on geographical conditions, climate, and weather.

Interestingly enough, flying termites are only present during a certain time of year. That time is when they mate, and the act of swarming indicates a very special time in their lives. It’s also when they’re most likely to invade well-maintained homes.

Winged termites, or alates, are reproductive termites with poor eyesight. This is why they fly; it’s their way of spreading their genes to other colonies. Workers, soldiers, and secondary reproductive termites are blind and cannot see where they’re going.

How Long Do Flying Termites Live?

alates or termites swarm

Interestingly, flying termites lifespan is very short. The swarm only lasts for around an hour, and it’s during this time that the termites find a mate and a new place to live. Unfortunately, only a few of them stay alive.

If they have flown in, you will notice both broken wings and dead flying termites on your home’s floor. And if there are dead flying termites inside the nest, it would be due to colony collapse.

The lifespan of a worker termite is two years, while the average lifespan of a soldier termite is also two years. However, some workers and soldiers can live for four or five years, respectively. The queen termite is the longest-living member of a termite colony.

She can live up to 10 years, and in that time, she will spawn hundreds of eggs. The eggs will hatch into nymphs, becoming workers, soldiers, or reproductives. The queen termite lays eggs throughout her life, ensuring the colony’s survival.

Where do flying termites come from? (Both winged termites swarming)

Termites finishing off a pine tree stump

Flying termites, also known as alates, are the reproductive members of a termite colony. They leave the colony or nest in swarms and can often be seen flying around during certain times of the year. Once they’ve found a place to land, they lose their wings and drill holes into wood to lay eggs.

If you see dead flying termites on the floor, it’s likely, that they’ve already laid their eggs and are looking for a new place to make a colony.

When a flying termite is spotted, it can be difficult to determine where it came from. There are three main possibilities: dead flying termites, broken wings, or swarmers. Dead flying termites may indicate an infestation in the home.

Broken wings could mean that the termites are about to swarm and establish a new colony. Swarmers are young, reproductive termites that have left the nest to mate and start new colonies.

Do Flying Termites Bite?

Bee on yellow flower

Flying termite pests cannot bite humans or animals because they do not have the necessary mandibles. Flying termites will sometimes land on people to mate and start a new colony. They do not bite, but they can sting if handled roughly.

How many wings do termites have?

Termites, classified as “social insects,” have two pairs of wings of approximately the same length. Their wings are either white or translucent, and their bodies are about 1/4 inch long. The wings are used for flying, and they help the termites travel from one place to another.

How to check for flying termites in house?

Flying termites are a sign that you have an infestation. If you see piles of discarded wings near your home, it means that the mature termites have left the nest and started a new colony. You can also look for termite droppings, which are called frass.

Termites can be a real problem. It is important to check for their presence regularly. There are a few signs of flying termite activity: 

  • Hollow wood when tapped
  • Mud tubes
  • headbanging in the wall
  • holes and wood shavings on nearby trees. 
  • Look for termite wings, droppings, and carcasses around your home. 
  • Bathe and groom your pet. 
  • Inspect the eaves, roofline, and foundation of your home for damage. 

If you find any evidence of a termite infestation, be sure to call a professional immediately.

What is a flying termite swarm?

Flying termites are a part of the reproductive process for the species. Once a year, alates- or reproductive termites- will leave the colony searching for new territory. The alate termites are both male and female. They use pheromones to attract mates.

The males will flock to the pheromone, mate with the females, and die soon. A flying termite swarm is an alarming sign that the mating season is in full swing, and new colonies will be created soon.

Termites are a crucial part of the ecosystem, but their presence should not be taken lightly when they invade human-occupied spaces.

After successful mating, the male and female termites will travel to a good place to start their colony. Once they reach their destination, they will shed their wings and begin building their new home.

When termites swarm, it means that the reproductive caste of the colony has left to establish a new colony.

The flying termites are known as “King” and “Queen” termites, and they become the primary reproducers of the new colony.

How to prevent flying termite activity around the home?

  • One of the ways to prevent flying termite activity is to protect your home from moisture problems.
  • Ensure that your gutters and roof are in good condition and that your soil slopes away from your house. For flying termites, you should also check your crawlspace and basement. Ensure they are properly ventilated.
  • Another way to help prevent flying termites is to keep the environment as dry as possible. It gets done by monitoring condensation and removing any water sources. Leaks, HVAC systems, and even plants can contribute to excess moisture. 
  • The next prevention method is flying termites is to remove any extraneous wood or debris from the property. It will help limit their nesting and foraging areas. Additionally, homeowners can install termite baiting stations and monitor them regularly to ensure no activity.
  • Avoid having any wood come into contact with the soil. It means keeping mulch pulled back from the foundation and not stacking firewood against the house. Additionally, regular inspections for termite activity can help catch any potential problems early on.
  • Do not stack firewood next to your house – keep it at a distance. Don’t use untreated wood or timber in construction projects; make sure any wood you use is treated and painted.


Flying termites are not the same as regular termites. They do not eat wood, but instead feed on other things, like leaves. Flying termites can drill holes inside the wooden structures and lay their eggs.

If you perchance see flying termites in your house, it is important to contact a pest control company as soon as possible. Hopefully, this flying termite post has helped you learn more about these pests and how to deal with them.

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.