You walk out on your deck only to find it littered with light-colored, nearly transparent confetti. Upon picking some up and viewing them, you realize they are hundreds of little wings. This is a good indication that there was a recent swarm of flying termites.
The good news is the termites with wings don’t do damage. The bad news is that their goal is to start a new colony, and that means you have an active colony in the vicinity.
Termites with Wings
Flying termites are small, only about ¼”–⅜” (0.64–0.95 cm) in length. They have 4 transparent wings and are darker in color than worker termites. This darker color helps them retain moisture, so they are able to leave the colony. They fly at night to prevent the sun from zapping their bodies dry.
Swarming usually occurs in the spring, when temperatures rise. Flying termites leave their current colony on a journey to mate and start a new colony. It takes 3–6 years for a colony to produce flying termites, so if you see a swarm or the signs of a swarm, there has probably been some extensive termite activity nearby for some time.
Flying termites drop their wings when they are fertilized, so if you see a bunch of little wings, you have a lot of fertilized termites about to lay eggs.
Signs of Termites
One reason that termites can be so destructive is because they eat the soft inner core of wood while leaving the harder surface intact, so sometimes there is extensive damage before any deterioration is noticed.
In addition to the discarded wings of swarmers, you may also see these signs of termites:
- Mud tubes between sources of moisture and termite food sources.
- Wood damage. Knock on beams and other wood materials to determine if they sound hollow.
- Uneven or bubbling paint over wood floors or walls.
- Frass, which are small wood-colored chips excreted by termites.
The best solution is to call your local pest control expert for a thorough inspection of your property. Contact us in Anaheim or Corona in Southern California, to set up an appointment today. If termites are identified, our Preventive Pest Control staff will develop a removal plan and provide ideas for preventing future infestations.