Termite swarmers.

Termite swarmers, technically known as Alates are reproductive termites whose purpose is to fly out from the colony and form a new colony.  

 A close up view of an alate. They are darker than the other castes in the colony, have wings and eyes and are better able to survive in ambient conditions. 

A close up view of an alate. They are darker than the other castes in the colony, have wings and eyes and are better able to survive in ambient conditions. 

They perform their colonising flight during the warmer months, usually Spring, and usually go out on a warm evening when the relative humidity is quite high. These conditions occur quite often in the central coast, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle regions due to the semi tropical conditions that are experienced here.

So, are they a threat? Well, Yes, and no.

Having swarmers around means that there are termite colonies in the vicinity, maybe not in your backyard, but perhaps your neighbours or not too much further away. Alates are poor flyers and generally do not fly far. If the colony is close enough (this distance varies from 50-100m depending on colony type) then they could be a threat to your home. 

In simple terms, in almost every home we treat, we find evidence of alates on the property. 

How can you tell of you've had Alates around your home? 

Often you can see alates flying around lights on a mild and humid night. They especially like fluorescent lights. But even if you don't see them then, they always leave evidence behind. As you can see in the following photos. 

 Termite wings are even in size and a pale yellow or straw colour. These were found not too far away from termite workings. 

Termite wings are even in size and a pale yellow or straw colour. These were found not too far away from termite workings. 

 Dead alates can often be found near lights, windows and in spider webs like this.

Dead alates can often be found near lights, windows and in spider webs like this.

 Once your familiar with termites. It will be easy to spot the alates as many colonies release hundreds to thousands of these reproductives. 

Once your familiar with termites. It will be easy to spot the alates as many colonies release hundreds to thousands of these reproductives. 

The fact that you have swarmers around your home means that you're living in a termite prone area, so it's best to take precautions to prevent undetected termite entry to your home. If you see swarmers in and around your home, then a termite inspection will give you the peace of mind that your home doesn't have termites and will provide you with the arsenal you need to prevent termites getting in your home.

A professional termite inspection will let you know what can be done to reduce the risk of an infestation, and if you are fortunate, a nearby colony can be discovered and destroyed.

 The two pairs of even wings helps easily identify a Termite alate.

The two pairs of even wings helps easily identify a Termite alate.

 It's not uncommon to see these lying around everywhere in spring and summer. 

It's not uncommon to see these lying around everywhere in spring and summer. 

If you think you've found Alates near your home. Then feel free to contact us and we would be happy to help you identify them. You can send us a picture message of what you've found to 0474962443 and we can assist you in confirming if you've indeed found alates on your property.

So what are they looking for?  

Alates may have a thicker cuticle than the other termite castes but they still dehydrate very easily. As soon as they are dispatched they are looking for an area where they can mate and begin forming a new colony. They need shelter, a good source of moisture and food. 

 This mulched area makes a great first home for a fledgling termite colony. The timber scraps on the ground and the regular watering means they get everything they need! 

This mulched area makes a great first home for a fledgling termite colony. The timber scraps on the ground and the regular watering means they get everything they need! 

Once the termites start breeding it may take a few years for them to reach a level where they can do damage to a home, and most alates will not manage to form a new colony and will die off. However, the message is clear: You don't want termites forming a colony near your home! 

Make sure you don't invite a new colony to your home by ensuring you don't have any moist, mulched areas near or against your property.