With the warmer Spring weather and humidity starting to rise, you can’t help but notice the blooming changes in nature’s flora and fauna. Underground and in hidden colonies, termites have been actively preparing for the release of winged reproductives in a quest to build new colonies.
Flying termites, technically named Alates are often mistaken for flying ants; however 90% of the flying insects you’ll see in Spring will actually be termites.
Termites garner their food source in trees, stumps and even timber in people’s homes and cause an estimated $5 Billion worth of damage to property every year.
Alates typically take flight early in the morning or late in the afternoon, just before a storm or heavy rain and when humidity rises. Up to 25000 Alates (reproductives) emerge out of each termite nest in an attempt to start a new colony.
Alates can be recognised by their four equal sized wings and straight-sided waist and long abdomen (winged ants have a constricted waist). They are usually black or honey brown in colour.
Once landed, these flying termites will de-alate (drop their wings) and females will release a pheromone to attract and excite the males. Once paired, they search for a suitable site to start a new colony such as damp or decaying timbers either on the ground, behind timber retaining walls, old tree stumps and in homes.
It only takes two alates to start a new colony and when that colony is around three years old, they become a serious threat to property due to the sheer numbers. Once they have found a suitable site, queens will immediately start laying eggs.
Alates only emerge from colonies that are around three to five years old, so if you see them flying around your home, there is already an established and major property threat located close to you. It is important to act quickly to protect property if you see Alates around your home.
If you suspect or have found termites or alates on or around your property, get in touch with us on 1300 737 826 to arrange an inspection, report and treatment plan.