Swarming Termites: Where Are They All Coming From?

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Most termites fly out of their nests to mate when environmental conditions trigger the swarm. Swarming termites can lead to infestations around your house, so it is important to answer the question, Swarming termites: where are they all coming from? Swarming is a behavioral response and can be triggered by different things depending on the termite species.

Swarming termites are a sign that your home may be infested with termites. Termites swarm when their colony has reached a certain size and is ready to produce more of their kind. Swarming termites do not bite and are not harmful to humans. This usually occurs when the temperature and humidity are just right.

Types of Termites

Swarming termites where are they all coming from

Let’s start with the fundamentals. Though there are many different species of termites worldwide, they can all be divided into three groups: subterranean termites, black house termites, and drywood termites.

Though the types have many similarities, they also have distinct differences in their behavior, living habits, and swarming habits.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are a common type of termite that live in North America. They get their name from the fact that they nest underground. They swarm in large numbers in the springtime to respond to various stimuli, such as overcrowding or danger.

Black House Termites

Black House Termites are a type of subterranean termites that can be found worldwide. They are often confused with carpenter ants, but they are a different species.

Black wingless termites are also a type of termite to look out for, as they can cause significant damage to homes and buildings.

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites are a type of termite identified by their nesting habits in wood instead of soil. They require less moisture than subterranean termites and swarm in the evening.

There is no evidence left behind like mud tubes or contact with a surface, which is required for subterranean termites to infest structures, making them more difficult to detect.

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Termites swarm when they are seeking to reproduce and create new colonies. This usually happens when the weather is warm and humid.

The winged termites, or alates, will fly out of the colony searching for a mate. Once they have found one, they will establish a new colony together.

When the time comes for a new colony to be formed, the male and female termites will mate. Afterward, the females will start laying eggs in the new colony location.

Swarming termites damaging the wood

The eggs will hatch, and the larvae will molt into worker termites. Then, a portion of those worker termites will turn into soldier termites to protect the colony.

At this point, the termites have been living in the home and eating away at the wood. This can often go undetected until they swarm inside the home, making them much harder to get rid of.

Swarming termites where are they all coming from?

Winged swarming termites are a telltale sign that you have an infestation. They emerge from cracks in your walls and foundation in large numbers, looking for a place to start a new colony. They can also come out through holes in the soil in your yard.

Many of them are killed by environmental factors or are eaten by predators such as birds or other insects. Natural mating swarms typically occur in the spring when the weather warms and there is more rain.

If you see many swarming termites outside, there is probably a termite colony in your yard. If you discover swarming termites inside your home, you have an infestation and should act quickly.

To avoid attracting termites to your home, the simple way is to turn off all exterior lighting.

When is termite season?

Termites are more frequent in the spring and summer months, but they can also swarm during the fall and winter.

Drywood termites swarm in the late fall and winter when it’s warm and humid. These pests are looking for a new place to live, and they’ll often invade homes around the holidays because it’s warm and moist inside.

What Attracts Swarming Termites?

Termites are attracted to moisture levels, exterior lighting, and decaying wood. You can do a few things to help reduce the likelihood of swarming termites. One is to reduce moisture levels, both inside and outside your home.

You can also reduce exterior lighting, as this attracts flying termites. Additionally, make sure there is no wood in contact with the soil and that any tree stumps or roots are removed from your property.

Homeowners can follow these tips to make their homes less attractive to swarmers:

  • Improve the visibility of the home’s foundation.
  • Seal any cracks or openings in the home’s foundation and exterior walls.
Termites attracted by the light

How to Identify a Termite Swarm

Swarming is the stage of termite colony development in which reproductive termites leave the colony to form new colonies. Termite swarm can be identified by the distinct wings on their bodies. They are attracted to light and will often swarm around windows or doors.

After landing, they shed their wings and established a new colony. Termites swarm at different times of the year depending on the species, but it is generally in the spring or summer when conditions are warm and humid. Termite swarmers are often confused with flying ants.

The difference between termite swarmers and flying ants

When you are trying to determine if you are seeing termite swarmers or flying ants, there are a few key distinctions that you can look for.

How to get rid of swarmer termites

We understand that you’re curious about getting rid of swarmer termites. We’re not surprised. You get itchy as soon as you realize there are termites in the walls.

But we’re here to end those itchy feelings we all get when we think about swarmer termites. If you’re prepared to get rid of termites for good, follow these steps:

Don’t panic

There’s no need to panic yet! Swarming termites can be alarming, but there’s no immediate cause for alarm. There are many reasons why they might be swarming, and it’s important to do some detective work before taking any action.

Don’t seal the exit holes

When you see a swarm of termites, the instinct may be to seal up the exit holes as soon as possible. However, this is the worst thing you can do. Sealing up the exit holes will only cause more damage because it will prevent the termites from escaping.

Try to keep them in one area

Termites can be a huge nuisance when they swarm in large numbers. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a swarm of termites, try to contain them by using plastic bags. You can then take the bag to a farther garden and release them.

Vacuum up the bugs

If you are seeing an influx of termites in your home, the best way to deal with them is to vacuum them up. You can use a regular vacuum.

Seal the vacuum bag so that the bugs die and then, dispose of it properly. It is better to vacuum them up and knock out the colony before they reproduce

wingless termites in the wood

How to Prevent Termite Damage

Termites can provoke severe damage to your property if left untreated. There are, however, many steps you can take to protect your home from termite damage.

You can take a few preventative measures to ensure that termites don’t damage your home. You can keep wood and other wood products away from your house, remove any plants that might be infested with termites and repair indoor and outdoor water lines.

How long do termite swarms last?

Termite swarms can usually last for up to 40 minutes. But some can also last for a few hours or a few days, and the damage that they cause may be irreversible.

They are the first sign of termite activity and can be a warning that there is a problem. If you see a swarm, it is important to hide or cover yourself immediately.


Swarming usually happens when the weather is warm and humid. If you see a lot of termites flying around your home or property, it’s never fun.

Termite infestation indicators include discarded wings, mud tubes, hollowed or damaged wood, and blisters in wood flooring. It means that you have an infestation and need to take action immediately.

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.