When termites swarm, they leave their colony in search of a new home. Unfortunately, that new home could be yours. Discover more about termites.
When is termite season? Subterranean termites "swarm" as the weather begins to warm, usually at the beginning of spring after a rain event. They are a group of termites looking to begin their own, new colony. Not all termite species swarm at the same time, but for a swarm to occur, the weather must be warm, often following a rain.
Another factor that triggers swarming - the maturity of a colony. There is no specific age at which a termite colony swarms, but subterranean termite colonies typically do not produce a swarm until they are at least three years old.
The purpose of termite swarming season is to begin new colonies. As a colony matures, it begins to produce alate nymphs that will develop into swarmers with wings. Swarmers fly from the colony then pair up with a mate as they search for a suitable location to start a new colony. After their wings drop off, a pair will mate.
The female member in each of these new partnerships becomes the queen of her new colony. She lays her eggs, which eventually hatch and become workers in the colony. Some of the young termites will develop into soldiers and will be tasked with defending the queen and the other members of the colony.
Over her lifetime, a termite queen could lay a million eggs. Other reproductive termites (secondary reproductives) in a colony can also lay eggs, though the primary queen is mainly responsible as long as she lives. It is not until a queen dies that one of the secondary reproductives may take her place.
Termite swarmers can sometimes be confused with swarmer ants. A close inspection can help you tell the difference - termite swarmers have two pairs of wings that are equal in length, while one pair of the swarmer ant's wings is shorter than the other pair. If you find winged insects swarming in your home, it’s wise to call in an expert to identify the pest and the extent of the problem, whether it's termite season or not.