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What happens if you see one flying termite?

Seeing a single flying termite may seem harmless at first glance. However, that one termite likely signals a much larger underlying issue – a termite infestation in or around your home. Termites are incredibly destructive pests that can cause severe damage to wooden structures. So spotting even one flying termite should prompt you to take action.

Why Was the Termite Flying?

Termites have wings and fly during a short period each year when they swarm. Swarming is the termite’s way of dispersing, leaving their nest to find mates and begin new colonies. The swarmers you see flying are reproductive termites, often called alates. After mating, they shed their wings and the queen begins laying eggs.

Seeing winged termites emerge is a sure sign that there is a mature, established colony nearby. Termites swarm when the colony reaches a certain size, often containing a million termites or more. Just one swarm may include hundreds or thousands of flying reproductive termites. So if you see one, there are likely many more in the area.

Where Are the Termites Coming From?

If you spot flying termites in or around your home, they are likely emerging from an existing termite colony on your property. This colony may be located:

  • Inside the home – in walls, floors, attics, basements, or other wood structures
  • Just outside the home – in wooden landscaping elements, fence posts, tree stumps, etc.
  • Underground – termites build tunnels and chambers in soil near the home

Termites enter homes through cracks in foundations or where pipes, wires, and vents penetrate walls. They also travel beneath concrete slabs and up through expansion joints. Outdoor colonies can reach your home by building mud tubes across foundations or other surfaces.

So seeing swarming termites means they have already accessed your home and started feeding on wood. It’s imperative to get a professional inspection to locate and eliminate their colony.

Termite Swarmers Can’t Start New Colonies Indoors

While concerning, the winged termites you see inside your home are not likely to start a new colony there. Termite swarmers seek damp soil and wood outdoors to begin nesting. And they need to shed their wings after mating in order to move through soil.

Indoor conditions are too dry for them to survive long or discard their wings. So the winged termites inside will perish within a few days. But their presence still signals an existing infestation that needs addressing.

Significant Property Damage Can Occur Undetected

Termites are cryptic pests that often go unnoticed for years while they destroy wood. Their tunnels inside walls, floors, and structures are not visible. And they cause little external evidence of damage early on. But over time, termites can severely compromise structural integrity and ruin wood elements.

Subterranean termites, the most destructive type, damage homes by eating the wood from the inside out. They feast on cellulose in framing, flooring, cabinets, and wood trim. An active colony can consume up to 13 pounds of wood per year!

By the time you see swarming termites, they may have already caused substantial damage. Don’t wait until wood shows external signs of infestation like hollow areas. Take action at the first sign of termites.

Why Prompt Termite Control is Critical

Here are key reasons taking swift action against termites is vital:

  • Prevent further damage – Eliminating the colony prevents additional destruction to your home.
  • Save on repairs – The sooner termites are gone, the less repairs will be needed and the lower your costs will be.
  • Avoid structure failure – Extensive termite damage can undermine walls, collapse portions of buildings, and create serious safety risks.
  • Prevent swarms – Destroying the colony stops swarmers from developing and spreading.
  • Protect your investment – Termites can reduce a home’s value by thousands. Treatment preserves your asset.

Taking quick action gives you the best chance to eradicate termites, limit repairs, and prevent ongoing damage. The longer an infestation goes untreated, the worse it gets.

Professional Termite Control is Strongly Advised

DIY termite treatments are often ineffective and may even spread the infestation. Getting expert help is strongly recommended. Here are benefits of professional termite control:

  • Thorough inspection to find the colony and check for damage
  • Precision application of proven termiticides
  • Better ability to reach termites hidden inside structures
  • Reduced pesticide use due to targeted application
  • Repairs to prevent termites from re-entering treated areas
  • Warranties for many post-construction treatments
  • Advice to help prevent future termite problems

Professional pest control technicians have the tools, training, and experience for optimal termite elimination. After treatment, they can also recommend structural repairs to remove termite access points in your home.

What Happens During Professional Termite Treatment?

Professional termite control involves carefully tracking down and eliminating their colony. This includes:

  • Thorough inspection of your home and yard to locate the source colony and any damage caused.
  • Applying a liquid termiticide to infested areas. Various application methods are used depending on the infestation site.
  • Providing supplementary treatments like termite baits if needed.
  • Sealing and repairing entry points to prevent reinfestation after the colony is destroyed.
  • Annual follow-up inspections for several years to ensure termites do not return.

Finding and treating every part of the termite colony is crucial for control. Professional exterminators know how to track termites back to the nest and eliminate them completely.

Termite Treatment Costs

Homeowners pay an average of $1,200 to $1,500 for professional termite treatment. But costs range widely based on factors like:

  • Size of your home
  • Extent of infestation
  • Accessibility of infested areas
  • Type of termite treatment used
  • Amount of repair work needed
  • Region – prices are higher in some areas

Termite fumigation, the most thorough treatment method, averages $2,000 – $5,000 or more due to the tenting process. Spot treatments of localized infestations cost much less. Get a written inspection report and estimate from a professional before proceeding with termite elimination.

Average Termite Treatment Prices By Method

Treatment Type Average Cost
Liquid soil treatment $1,000 – $2,500
Termite baits $500 – $1,500
Fumigation $2,000 – $5,000
Spot treatments $500 – $1,000

Prices above are general estimates only. Get a quote tailored to your specific infestation for the most accurate cost estimate.

6 Steps to Take if You See Flying Termites

Follow these key steps if you spot swarming termites:

  1. Don’t panic – Although an alarming sight, the winged termites alone don’t pose an immediate threat. Stay calm and proceed with control measures.
  2. Identify the type of termite – Confirm it is a swarming reproductive. Winged ants are often mistaken for termites.
  3. Find where they are coming from – Look for signs of mud tubes and pinholes in wood.
  4. Call a professional immediately – Have an inspection and get a treatment quote.
  5. Seal entry points – Caulk and seal cracks temporarily to reduce access.
  6. Make repairs – Once termites are gone, repair wood damage and seal vulnerable areas.

Spotting flying termites is a clear indicator that you have an active infestation requiring immediate attention. Professional termite control paired with vigilant monitoring and home maintenance helps keep these destructive pests away long-term. Don’t ignore swarmers when they appear.

Can I Eradicate Termites Myself?

Termite infestations usually require professional expertise and specialized tools to eliminate fully. But if you want to tackle termites yourself, here are some tips:

  • Use borates like Tim-Bor or Bora-Care applied according to label instructions to treat infested wood.
  • Buy termiticide concentrates to treat soil – brands like Termidor and Premise are effective when applied properly.
  • Invest in a handheld soil injection rod to reach soil around foundations.
  • Consider Termite baits like Sentricon and Trelona placed near colonies.
  • Always wear protective gear when using pesticides.
  • Learn how to locate termite tunnels and follow them to the nest.
  • Focus treatment near known infestations rather than blanket spraying.

Even with the right products and equipment, DIY termite treatment is often inadequate or only temporarily effective. Misapplication of termiticides also risks contaminating your home. For best results, work with a pest control professional if you can.

Signs of Termites

Here are common signs signaling a termite problem:

  • Mud tubes – Small mud tunnels on foundatons and walls
  • Discarded wings – Look for dropped wings from swarmers
  • Hollow wood – Tap wood to check for echoed, hollow sounds
  • Wood damage – Look for blistered or crumbling wood
  • Piles of pellets – Sawdust-like material called frass
  • Cracked paint or drywall – Mud tubes pushing surfaces apart

Catching these signs early allows treatment before extensive destruction occurs inside walls and wood framing. Don’t ignore these red flags!

Preventing Future Termite Infestations

After eliminating termites, take these steps to help avoid future problems:

  • Repair wood damage and seal vulnerable areas.
  • Install termite-proof materials like concrete foundations.
  • Keep wood off soil with at least 6-12 inches clearance.
  • Direct rainwater and sprinklers away from the home’s foundation.
  • Avoid wood mulch or debris buildup near your home’s exterior.
  • Ask pest control pros about preventative termite treatments.
  • Schedule annual termite inspections.

Proactive prevention helps keep destructive termites away long-term and protects your property investment. Stay vigilant following an infestation too – termites often reappear if conducive conditions exist.


Spotting flying termites is alarming but also your chance to catch an infestation before major damage occurs. Act quickly to pinpoint the source colony and eradicate it fully. Completely eliminating termites takes expertise – don’t delay in calling a professional. With prompt action, termites can be controlled and future problems prevented with diligent maintenance. Don’t wait until the signs of damage appear. Take the sight of just one flying termite as your cue for immediate termite control and home protection.