Is this an Ant or Termite?
February 25, 2010
I walked out on my screen porch the other day and found a swarm of these inside the porch. They are black with white spots and about .25 inch long with long clear wings that stick out about .25 inch past the body. probably a couple hundred of them total.
Buried in Bugs in Florida
Pensacola, Florida

Subterranean Termite Alates

Dear Buried,
These are Alates, the reproductive caste of Subterranean Termites in the family Rhinotermitidae, probably in the genus Reticulitermes which is pictured on BugGuide.  They drop their wings after the nuptial flight.  It is probable that there is a colony under the screened porch which prevented these Aletes from dispersing.

Spelling Correction thanks to Eric Eaton
The March 23 post of “termite aletes” should have read “termite alates,” with another “a.”  That is the term for winged reproductives of termites and ants.

One Response to Subterranean Termite Alates

  1. Dave says:

    Termite Alates: edible, and eaten throughout the world —–

    As I continue to research the use of edible insects, I’ve found that termites are eaten not only in many parts of Africa, but in many other tropical regions and countries. In fact I had some alates from Louisiana a couple years ago (though I never got them identified, they were likely the infamous Formosan Termite, which has done a lot of damage in that area), and they were among the most delicious of the roughly 40 kinds of terrestrial arthropods I’ve sampled.


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