It is a sight that no one wants to see: Flying termites swarming, either inside or outside your home. And while that can be pretty scary, there are several ways you can get rid of these annoying and destructive pests yourself quickly before they can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home and property. Do not become one of the many people who experience structural damage to their homes each year. A little knowledge can do wonders in protecting you from termite damage.
What are flying termites?
But first, what exactly are flying termites? They are just common, ordinary termites that have reached the winged stage of their lifespan, meaning they are in their reproductive cycle. Flying termites are known to the scientific community as alates.
While at this stage of life, adult termites don’t cause a lot of structural damage. But what they do create is a whole new generation of wood-chomping termite babies that will. Keep in mind that alate are like rabbits — they reproduce quickly, so don’t waste any time in exterminating them.
Flying termites are also on the lookout for locations where they can establish colonies, so if you see them inside or outside your home, it’s usually a pretty good indication that you’ve got a termite infestation.
How to identify flying termites
Flying termites are often mistaken for flying ants and vice versa. So, how can you tell the difference?
It’s actually pretty simple. Flying ants have bodies that are three-segmented and a small and large set of wings. Flying termites have two-segment bodies and two long identically-sized sets of wings.
How to prevent flying termites
There are several steps you can take to protect your home from an onslaught of flying termites.
Get rid of moisture problems by repairing leaky faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units; divert water away from your foundation; keep your gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris; don’t overuse wood mulch in your garden or flower beds; keep your roof as dry as possible by removing any standing water that may accumulate on it; keep vents clear, clean and open; and seal any entry points you may have around your water pipes or utility lines.
Starve termites by removing their food supply. Firewood, lumber and even something as innocuous as paper should be kept away from your foundation and crawl spaces. Remove any dead vegetation, trees, or shrubs that might be near your home and install screens on your outside events. Check your decks and fences for damage and repair it.
Signs that you may have flying termites
If you’ve got flying termites inside your home, they’ve probably already made a home for themselves outside, where they could have built nearby colonies.
Examine your home’s structure and lawn and garden for mud tubes. Termites also like to burrow into the ground, so be on the lookout tracks on the ground.
Termites are especially fond of dark and damp areas that give them access to wood, so be sure to examine your basement, foundation, and siding for signs of mud tubes and tracks as well. You might even see flying termites exiting from the mud tubes, much like bees leave their hives.
Sometimes you might only find the termite’s wings and not its body. That’s because they drop their wings after they’ve mated. Take a close look at your window sills and baseboards for those wings.
Exterminating flying termites on the outside
If your flying termites have confined themselves to activity on the outside of your home, you’ve got several options to get rid of them.
Flying termites, like virtually all insects, are attracted to light, to invest in a bug zapper. Make sure to place the device near where they termites are. While you use it, keep the lighting to a minimum around your home, so that doesn’t attract them inside.
You can also swat them down like you would a fly or use an insecticide spray to kill them.
Getting rid of an active termite colony
If you’ve got an active termite colony on your property, simply killing the flying termites will not completely solve your problem. You’ve got to attack the colony itself.
Termiticide sprays and baiting systems are often your best bet for eradicating an entire colony. You can spray the termiticide around your home’s foundation, making sure to treat any cracks that may be visible and anywhere you have noticed the pests.
Baiting systems starve the entire colony by attracting individual termites and them killing them. If you opt for a baiting system, place them in the ground around your foundation, separating each system by at least one foot.
A more natural extermination method
If you’ve only got a small flying termite infestation, pour some orange oil into a spray bottle and spray the area where you have seen the termites, as well as in other areas where you think the termites might go.
Time for a professional?
If none of the above extermination and eradication methods work within a week or two, its time to call in a professional. Termites are a costly pest that you don’t want to fool around with for too long. Or, if you would like, you can fill out some simple information below to get a couple companies to send you free termite control estimates!