What is a Flying Termite?

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  • Written By: Nychole Price
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Flying termites, also known as swarmers or reproductives, are a class in the termite caste system. On warm, humid mornings, flying termites will venture out in couples to recolonize in other locations. When the flying termite has reached his location, he will shed his wings and reproduce with his partner. There are three prominent species of termites whose flying members are feared, due to the speed with they reproduce. These termites include subterranean, drywood and Formosan.

Subterranean flying termites are the most ominous of all the species, due to the speed with which they reproduce. Colonies can reach up to 5 million members in size, allowing them to make up 90 percent of the termites in the United States. A small colony of 200,000 termites can eat up to 13 pounds (5.9 kg) of wood a year, quickly demolishing structures if not detected early. Subterranean flying termites tend to swarm during the months of January through April, usually after a rain, in order to avoid drying out. A subterranean flying termite is 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch (6.35 to 9.52 cm) long and coal black to pale yellow in color.


Drywood termites live and thrive in the dry wood of trees, furniture and housing structures. They don't depend on moist soil to survive, as they have the ability to extract moisture from the wood on which they feed. This is bad news for the people whose homes they live in, as the flying termites have the ability to recolonize in the attic and upper floors. A drywood flying termite is approximately 7/16 of an inch (1.1 cm) long and varies in color from dark brown to light yellowish tan.

Formosan termites are referred to as super termites. This species can consume almost four times as much wood as the subterranean termites. A standard colony of Formosan termites contain approximately 70,000 flying termites who pair off and lay 15 to 30 eggs a day. These eggs can be laid anywhere in your home where it is dark and moist, such as behind the walls and under the floors. The average Formosan flying termite is yellowish brown in color, covered in tiny hairs and is 1/2 an inch (1.27 cm) long in size.

Due to the fact that flying termites reproduce so quickly and can recolonize almost anywhere, it is vital to prevent an infestation before it occurs. New structures built in areas that are prone to termites should use treated wood in the construction. Existing structures should lay bait traps regularly to kill off colonies before they fully form.


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Post 2

It sounds like the Formosan termites are the most dreaded termites of all. The number of eggs that every pair of the colony lay every single day is a huge number. This number grows and grows.

I don't know what has to be used to try to get rid of them.

Using some kind of treated wood, or a wood products, or stones to build houses is about the only way to keep them away from your house - but then they'll just go in search of a wood structure someplace else. And they can make good time since they fly and don't have to crawl.

Post 1

This news about flying termites is awful. With their ability to recolonize and reproduce so rapidly, they are real survivors. I imagine that they have been on the earth for many years and will be around for many more.

And the way they can eat away at a wooden structure so fast, they could ruin a house in no time. Just the fact that they can fly is creepy.

Are they in all parts of the United States, or just in some places where the conditions are just right. Any answers?

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