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With summer in full swing, you will notice “winged ants”, or “flying ants” especially just before or after rainfall has occurred.

What termites will I encounter?

The most common type of termites occurring in Gauteng is the subterranean termite and harvester termite. Both species have the “flying termite” or “winged reproductive” stages of development that you may notice flying around while you driving, in your yard and surrounding areas.

Why do these termites fly?

These winged termites are simply new kings and queens attempting to establish new colonies. They may also be referred to as “swarmers” or “flying ants” Their technical name are “Alates”.

They take flight normally at the start of the rainy season and are triggered into flight when there is a change in the ambient temperature, along with their respective nests producing enough individuals to take flight when the individual is sexually mature, or alternatively the nests may be overrun and overpopulated, and they run out of food as such. At the end of the day, this annual nuptial cycle flight does occur as it is part of Nature, as termites are social insects.

These Alates are commonly seen flying around in their thousands after and during summer rains. Ant colonies also send swarmers, which have nearly the same appearance as termites but may be identified upon closer inspection.

What do I look out for?

Look for evidence of discarded termite wings, seeing them in flight or suspicious small soil deposits. If you uncertain of these deposits, give us a ring for peace of mind.

If you notice flying termites in or around your home, this should act as a warning sign that termites could potentially start a new colony, or there are nests nearby, and your property is at risk of attack.

Once the termites land, they clip their wings off and proceed to find a suitable mate to pair with and start a new colony. Termites have also been known to copulate while in midair, and the impregnated female lands, she can start producing from there. Once the colony is established, it’s the offspring of these that start causing the damage- that is in the case of harvester termites- damage to your lawns, or in the case of subterranean termites- start causing damage to wooden objects such as skirting boards or wooden door frames.

If you notice a whole lot of wings lying around on the inside or outside of your home, start carefully looking inside for any moving around, or on the outside check for soil deposits, where they may have started burrowing.

Locating Subterranean termites within a dwelling is often difficult to detect until it’s too late. They cause the most damage to wooden skirting boards, wooden floors, door frames and furniture. The process how they damage wood is rather interesting as the worker termites are in search of the cellulose content within the wood and hence will remove all palatable wood from the inside of the above mentioned wooden structures, and damage is often only noticed when the structure is hollowed out completely. Subterranean termites will destroy unprotected wooden structures and timber if given the opportunity. Signs of their activity are mud like clusters on walls, skirting boards, door frames and the like or over impenetrable foundations to provide lines between the nest and their food source.

Termites further have the ability to change from one caste type to another during their immature stages. This allows the colony to change the proportion of different caste members as the need arises.

What preventative measures can I take to protect my home?

  • Do routine checks around the outside of your home to look for signs of rotting or decaying wood, and notably, any mud type tubes forming on trees or timber surfaces are a sure sign termites have started nesting.
  • Keep your garden neat and tidy, with lawns trimmed and well watered. Drier grass areas are preferred by harvester termites.
  • Ensure your house has all rising damp issues attended to, as damp conditions near timber such as cupboards are the perfect habitat for subterranean termites, and they prefer dark & moist conditions to breed in.

Flick Pest Control is here to provide a solution for any Termite or Flying Ants, or for any other pest control solution, advice or concerns you may encounter. Give us a ring on 087 056 1021, drop us an email on enquiries@flickpest.co.za or drop us a comment on our blog or social media platforms

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