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Countdown on to annual flight of the termite


Residents should be on the look out over the next few weeks for the annual termite swarms which are both visually spectacular and a possible indication of an infestation.

Mid-November to mid-December is the peak time for the normally subterranean termites to take flight in order to mate and start new colonies. The swarms can be an impressive event with some resembling a plume of smoke rising from the nest.

The swarms of colonising termites generally take place at dusk when the weather is hot, calm and very humid which can often be before or after summer storm activity.

If you do see a lot of flying insects under these climatic conditions have a good look around the building and yard to see if you can find out where they are coming from as it might mean you have a nest of termites nearby.

The easiest way to identify a winged termite, or alate, is to check whether it has two pairs of wings that are almost of equal length as this is distinctly different from flying ants whose second pair of wings are smaller.

If residents do see a swarm of termites coming out of a specific site, we recommend marking the spot and contacting Amalgamated Pest Control.

However, property owners are generally more likely to become aware a swarm has taken place when they find dead winged termites in the windowsills and on the floors which is often a cause for concern.

People should not be afraid of the swarming, particularly if you have a regular termite inspection program already in place for your property. If you do not have your property regularly inspected for termites then you should collect several of the dead swarmers in a jar, with a little methylated spirits to preserve them, and call your pest controller to identify them and inspect the property.

Of the millions of winged termites that set out only an occasional pair succeeds in finding a mate and suitable nest site however once established and mature, the Queen termite can produce up to 2000 eggs a day.

These winged termites are all members of the alate caste with each one a potential king or queen of a new colony. The alates generally do not travel far, snapping their wings off once they land before searching out a mate and looking for a nest site.

Alates do not fly strongly, and unless assisted by winds, their dispersal is limited so if you do find a large number of winged termites in and around your property over the next few weeks and you don’t have a termite management program in place, call your local qualified Amalgamated Pest Control technician to be on the safe side.

Posted on Friday, 24 October 2008 (Archive on Monday, 1 January 0001)
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