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There are a number of pests that pose a serious threat to your home or office building. Among the most damaging is termites. If you own or manage a property, keep an eye out for signs of termites, including termite swarms.


Termites form colonies that live in nests. Once a colony reaches a size that’s too difficult to maintain, many of the young adult termites (also known as alates) will break away to mate and form a new colony with a new nest.

Female termites emit pheromones to signal to males that they are ready to mate. As part of the mating process, both male and female termites will break off their wings, give birth to many offspring, and become queen and king of their own brand new termite colony, creating a new nest.


It’s good to know how to identify a termite swarm. Termites tend to rise up from the ground, swarm en masse, and pair off to mate. If the nest is in the foundation of a building, they emerge through vents or cracks in the exterior. They are usually black or reddish-brown and have two pairs of wings that are longer than their body.

Flying termites look a lot like flying ants, who also have two pairs of wings. Here’s how to distinguish flying termites from flying ants:

  1. Flying ants’ rear wings are smaller than their front wings while flying termites’ wings are all about the same length.
  2. Flying ants have a pinched waist, while termites have a thick waist.
  3. Termites have straight antennae while flying ants’ antennae are bent in an L shape.
  4. Flying ants’ antennae are smooth, while termites’ look somewhat like a string of beads.


There are several different kinds of termites that swarm at different times of the year.

  1. SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES usually swarm in the spring, and during daylight hours.
  2. DAMPWOOD TERMITES tend to swarm in the summer.
  3. DRYWOOD TERMITES tend to swarm in late summer or early autumn.

A pest control expert can tell the difference between these types of termite swarms, and accordingly, know where to look for their nests and the damage they may have inflicted.


As stated above, when termites swarm, they’ve left a nest that has become overpopulated with termites, and the nest is probably very close by. If it’s in the foundation of your property you’ll want to find it right away and have it professionally taken care of. There may already be major damage to the wooden parts of your building.

The termite swarm itself is a threat because it indicates that a number of new colonies are about to form in or near your property, creating new nests. If these new termite colonies go undiscovered and are left to develop freely, they will lead to new swarms and yet more colonies.


Why should a property owner be so concerned about the prospect of termites mating and forming new colonies? There are a number of reasons.

  1. DAMAGE TO BUILDINGS. The most obvious reason to pay attention to termite activity is because of termites’ voracious appetite for the wood in your home or commercial building. Termites tend to eat the inside of boards first, leaving the outer layer of wood intact so they can hide and be protected. This means that very serious damage can be hard to detect if you’re not a well-trained pest control expert.
  2. DAMAGE TO CROPS AND GARDENS. It’s a little-known fact that termites can also be a serious danger to various non-wood plants. This includes major crops on farmland, as well as the fruits and vegetables in your home garden.
  3. DAMAGE TO INFRASTRUCTURE. Just as termites love to chew away at the foundation of your home or office building, they also love to munch on utility poles, fences, signs, and boardwalks. All told, termites cause around $1.5 billion of wood damage every year just in the United States.

In addition to all these material threats, imagine what it signifies to potential clients, tenants, or homebuyers if they see a termite swarm on your property.


At MightyMite Termite Services, we’re experts in controlling all types of termites in California. We perform termite inspections to ensure that your home is free of termites and work hard to help you keep it that way, using treatments that are naturally derived and have a low impact on the environment. We diagnose and treat infestations with the most effective methods and unmatched warranties, solving your termite problems the first time, with an industry-best “no call-back rate.” That, combined with our experience, technology, and highly trained professional staff, makes us the leading extermination company in the Bay Area. We understand that your home is your most important investment, so we work hard to provide excellent service, utilizing best practices to solve our customers’ termite problems in Northern California. For more information, call us today at 408.335.7053, email, or contact us through our website.

Understanding Termite Swarms