If you live in the Pacific Northwest in places such as Seattle or Portland, you might have seen termites swarming this fall and wonder why in the world these insects with wings are flying around. It’s important to find out what termite swarmers are and what this means for you. After all, these wood-destroying organisms can bring on serious problems for your property if you’ve got an infestation.
We’ve compiled all the facts you need to know on both Western subterranean termite and Pacific dampwood termite swarmers.
Termite swarmers: the basics
Swarmers are also known as alates and carry two pairs of thin, long wings. These termites have compound eyes and are dark in color.
At particular points in the year, the termites with wings emerge from colonies when conditions in the environment are befitting. Factors such as temperature and intensity of light can affect their swarm – they may stay in the nest before they swarm if conditions aren’t right, or they might not even swarm, period.
Two types of termites that swarm this time of year
You may see a couple of kinds of termites swarming at this time of year if you live in the Northwest.
Western subterranean termites
Subterranean termites usually create nests in the soil. Western subterranean termites are found on the Pacific Coast. Swarmers are about ⅜ inches long with bodies that are dark-brown to nearly black in color and their wings are brownish gray. Once they have swarmed, they build a cavity and mate. Females lay 10 eggs on average and the eggs typically hatch in 50 to 56 days.
It typically takes more than five months for the termites to develop and swarming does not happen before three or four years. Western subterranean termites swarm when it’s daytime. Swarms in the fall are quite sizable in certain areas.
Pacific dampwood termites
You may also encounter these kinds of termites in the Pacific Northwest. True to their name, dampwood termites infest wood with a high amount of moisture. Pacific dampwood termites are located in the states on the Pacific coast and are typically found in humid, cool coastal zones.
Pacific dampwood termites with wings depart from the nest when colonies develop. They commonly swarm from August through October. Pacific dampwood swarmers typically come out right before sunset on evenings that are warm and humid and commonly show up after rainstorms. Once they have paired up, they dig a chamber and seal it with feces and wood. After mating, the queen lays eggs. More eggs come the following spring.
What to do about termite swarmers in the Northwest U.S.
Light will attract subterranean termites and so you may notice them near windows and light fixtures. If you see termite swarmers inside, you might be dealing with an infestation, and you’ll want to combat that before it gets worse.
If your home or business is located in the Northwest and you see termites with wings swarming in or around the property, contact Western Exterminator today to talk with a pest professional.