Whether you spot one inside or outdoors, a termite swarm can be an unnerving problem. However, there is an added bit of anxiety with yard swarms that can throw a homeowner into a “do I have an infestation or not” spiral.

As we approach that time of year when termite swarms begin, you can never be too careful if you spot one in your yard.

So, take a deep breath, keep a sharp eye, and follow these top five tips for stopping termites from swarming in your yard.

What Are Termite Swarmers

There is no bigger dreaded fear than spotting a termite in your home. And while termite swarmers don’t technically eat wood, they are attracted to decaying wood and establish colonies near it. 

Termite swarmers are winged adult termites whose primary purpose is to mate with other termites. They resemble typical termites in every fashion, including their light brown/yellow bodies, but they have long wings like gnats that can confuse them with the latter. 

Unfortunately, the presence of a termite swarmer will indicate the future presence of a termite colony nearby. 

Understanding Termite Life Cycles

Termites have highly complex hierarchies with a few different castes of organization. Once a queen lays its eggs and young termites grow to full size, they are divided into workers, soldiers, or swarmers–the latter of which is primarily responsible for mating.

Under ideal circumstances, queen termites can live for two decades, while most workers, soldiers, and swarmers only last a year or two. 

How to Get Rid of Termite Swarmers

While termite swarmers will not directly harm your property, their descendants will. Therefore, it’s imperative to eliminate a termite swarm as soon as you spot one. 

1. Know the Warning Signs

Before you can stop a swarm, you must know what you’re looking for. Termite “swarmers” are winged adults, and they often pop up from an underground nest. They can also emerge through exit holes in wooden structures where they’ve made their home, like walls, floorboards, or other objects. Hundreds of these small brown or black-winged insects will make their way up and begin their mating dance. 

Often, swarms will occur during specific periods, depending on the type of termite. This could range from spring during the day, summer or early fall.

These swarms usually happen on a warm day; they will fly toward a light source, and their swarming sessions can last about a half-hour. 

After the creatures complete their swarm, they must quickly return to the soil or hiding spot to regain lost moisture. Otherwise, any unlucky termites that aren’t quick enough can end up dying.

2.  Make Sure That You Don’t Have Ants

If you do see a swarm of flying insects, don’t go into panic mode yet. In fact, you might not be looking at termites at all. Carpenter ants can often be confused for termites as they look remarkably similar, especially from a distance. 

Both insects swarm, have wings, and typically around the same time. While ants can be destructive, they are not nearly on the same danger level as termites.

Take a closer look to ensure you have termites and not ants. Ants are segmented, have large forewings, and elbowed antennae. Termites, on the other hand, have straight antennae, wings of identical length, and straight waists. Also, if you see any discarded wings, it’s a sure sign that you have termites, as flying ants do not discard their wings.

3. Know the Type of Termite

There are various species of termites, but the two most frequent visitors most homes encounter are Subterranean and Drywood termites. Knowing what you have is critical since each termite requires a different strategy. 

Plus, depending on the species, it can be harder to find the source of the infestation if you are looking for the wrong type.

  • Subterranean Termites: Nest underground. These termites use mud tubes to protect themselves from dehydration as they move from place to place. You can often find them along walls or foundations. Subterranean termites tend to swarm in the daytime in spring, typically between March and June.
  • Drywood Termites: Nest in wood. You can find them in wood piles or wooden surfaces. Unfortunately, this type is hard to spot, as they don’t leave any evidence until they are a problem, including hollow or bubbling wood. These termites tend to swarm in the evening during summer to late fall, and they require less moisture than Subterranean termites.

If you aren’t sure what type of termite you have swarming in your yard, you can always refer to a termite control expert for advice.

4. Check for Infestation

So, you’ve found termites swarming in your yard. It’s time to check for any signs of infestation in your home or around your property. 

Inspect your property for early warning signs of termites. This could be mud tubes on your foundation, hollow wood, or damaged trees on your property. Check the soil; some termites will build their nests deep. Unfortunately, swarms may be the only visual sign you may come across.

Before you run out the door and start spraying swarms, remember to keep calm. Swarming doesn’t necessarily mean you have termites in your house. However, if they are close by, you need to act quickly.

Subterranean termites can cause damage to the ground, and this could cause issues depending on how close it is to your home. The closer they are to your home, the higher likelihood they can find their way inside. 

Drywood termites are often found in wood. They burrow holes into the surface and, unfortunately, are the hardest to spot. Check your home’s exterior and interior thoroughly and contact an expert.

termite swarms usually happen on warm days

5. Schedule an Inspection

Sometimes, the only way to find an infestation is to have a professional pest control expert evaluate the situation. While it is possible to spot evidence of a swarm or even see signs that they are burrowed close to your home, termites are notoriously challenging to deal with. If you spot activity near your home, it’s best not to take chances. 

Most pest control experts will offer a free to low-cost inspection. Calling a professional is the best option compared to the possible damage these pests can inflict.

Once an infestation is identified, your pest control expert will work on ways to eliminate termites and swarmers as fast as possible. Solutions will include strategically placed insecticides that target termite colonies and wipe out their queen. 

How to Prevent Termite Swarmers

Homeowners are able to fight back against termite swarmers, as there are several smart strategies they can take to reduce the risk of attracting swarmers to their yards. Consider the following termite swarmer prevention tips:

  • Eliminate all leaks and standing water wherever possible
  • Reduce clutter and remove any damaged or decaying wood
  • Store firewood at least 20ft. away from your home
  • Seal up any entrances to your house with weatherstripping and caulk
  • Inspect your foundation for signs of damage or possible entry points
  • Water plants in the morning to give time for water to evaporate or absorb
  • Dispose of all cardboard as quickly as possible from your home

If you have spotted a swarm near your home, remember, don’t panic. The best way to approach a possible infestation is quickly and with a clear head. 

First, make sure you have termites, try to identify the type, and check your home for possible signs of an invasion. 

To protect your home and family, it’s a good idea to refer to a pest control specialist to tackle your termite problem and put your mind at ease. Don’t waste time worrying about an infestation; stomp it out today.

FAQs: How to Prevent Termite Swarmers

How Often Should I Conduct Termite Inspections?

Regular termite inspections are crucial for early detection. Homeowners should ideally schedule inspections annually, especially before and after the termite swarming season. If there’s a history of termite issues or you live in an area prone to termite activity, more frequent inspections may be necessary.

Are Termite-Resistant Materials Worth the Investment?

Investing in termite-resistant materials can be a wise decision. These materials, such as treated wood or concrete, act as a deterrent against termite infestations, providing long-term protection for your property. While the initial cost may be higher, the prevention benefits often outweigh potential repair costs.

Do Natural Remedies Work Against Termite Swarmers?

Natural remedies like beneficial nematodes, diatomaceous earth, neem oil, and certain essential oils can act as deterrents. While these remedies may offer some level of protection, they are often more effective as complementary measures. Professional intervention is still recommended for comprehensive termite prevention.