Termite Alates (Flying Termites) Facts: All You Need To Know

In this article, we talk about some interesting facts regarding Termite Alates

Termite alates (winged termites) are one of the most avoided pests of all time.

These insects will wreak havoc in your homes by destroying furniture and other wooden structures. 

It is tough to get rid of them without properly identifying the type of termites you are dealing with.

This article will list a few important details that will help you deal with these troublesome insects better.

It will also highlight points that will help you identify the winged termites accurately.

Termite Alates
Termite Alate


What Are Flying Termites?

Flying termites are the ones who are responsible for reproduction and starting new colonies. 

These insects are notorious for their capacity to cause extensive damage to homes and household products. 

They develop a pair of wings that they use to locate suitable spots to build nests. 

Once they land at a good spot, they lose the wings and start boring through the wooden structures present nearby. 

What Do They Look Like?

Termites with wings are called termite swarmers. These pests use their wings to enter homes and look similar to winged ants. 

A termite can grow up to 0.25 inches in length and are usually dark brown in color. However, a worker termite has a comparatively lighter body color than a soldier termite. 

Also, these reproductive termites have transparent and short antennae. 

Termites live in massive termite colonies where different types of termites have their own roles to fulfill. 

For example, the workers gather food and help in constructing and repairing the nest while the soldiers protect the colony. 


How Long Do They Live?

The queen of the colony can live up to a decade. The soldier and the workers on the other can survive for one or two years. Survival depends highly on climatic conditions. 

What Do They Eat? Do They Eat Wood? 

Winged termites do not consume wood when they have wings. These insects shed wings once they land in a suitable spot. Once the wings are gone, these termites will get straight into infesting wooden structures. 

Therefore, as long the termites have wings, they won’t cause any harm to the wooden furniture in your house. 

Can Humans Eat Flying Termites?

It might sound bizarre and disgusting, but in many parts of the world, termites are considered a delicacy

People from Thailand, South Asia, and Africa love to consume alates, especially during monsoon. 

These insects are also consumed in some parts of India. The Madiga community in Telangana, India, eats them as a Monsoon snack. 

In Zimbabwe, they are called Ishwa. There it is the second most popular insect cuisine and is heavily consumed by the people in Masvingo, Harare, and Mashonaland East.


Are Termite Alates Attracted To Light?

Yes, alates are attracted to light sources. You might see a bunch of this pest swarming around a light source in your house. 

If you want to get rid of these insects, switch on the lights in your house, and try to locate the nest. 

They usually tend to nest in wooden corners and window frames. You can also use a light source to lure these insects to fall into traps. 

How To Get Rid of Flying Termites?

To be able efficiently to eliminate termites, you must know the types of termites you are dealing with. 

For example, using ground bait for drywood termites is completely useful. Similarly, fuming will not help you get rid of subterranean termites. 

Therefore instead of handling them on your own, call an expert to identify the termites. 

They can use suitable methods like 

  • Termite bait station, 
  • Tent fumigation, 
  • No tent termite treatment, 
  • Trench and treat termite treatment, and 
  • Termite spot treatment to get rid of the rid termites. 

Formosan Termite
Formosan Termite


Other Bugs That Look Like Flying Termites 

Termites are small insects whose build is similar to many other common insects. It might be difficult to identify a winged termite at first glance. 

Before going out on all-out fumigation drive and calling in the big guns, go through this list of other insects that look like flying termites, and determine that what you are looking at is actually the real deal.

Acrobat ants

They get the name due to their acrobatic ability to lift their abdomen over their heads. They tend to make this move when they are disturbed or threatened. 

Like damp wood termites, acrobat ants prefer to infest moist wooden items. They like to live in wooden frames of houses, windows, and doors. 

Despite the similarities, you will notice that the abdomen of an acrobat ant is comparatively narrower than winged termites. Adding to this, these ants have longer front wings. 

Carpenter ants

As the name suggests, carpenter ants are bad news for homes with a lot of wooden furniture.

These ants are comparatively bigger than termites and are reddish-brown in color. 

These insects are worst than termites and acrobat ants.

They cause heavy damage to wooden structures by tunneling through them and making them hollow.

They, too, have bent antennae, which are different from the various species of termites. 

Carpenter bees

Unlike different types of termites, carpenter bees do not live in colonies.

These insects are solitary in nature, which is why they usually can’t dig deep into wooden structures.

These insects are like bumblebees without stripes on their body. 

Male Carpenter Bee


Flying ants

As mentioned earlier, flying ants look a lot similar to termites. But, the similarities are mostly appearance-related.

In terms of behavior, the two species are quite different.

Termites are known for causing extensive damage to wooden structures, but most flying ants do not attack wood. These insects usually swarm around food. 


Mayflies are insects that stay active during spring and summer. Similar to a termite swarm, mayflies also swarm during the rainy season.

These insects are attracted to light sources and enter homes through windows and other existing gaps.

Mayflies are bigger than termites and prefer to lay eggs in water bodies. 

Powderpost beetles

Powderpost beetles and termites are almost similar in size.

These insects are also harmful to wooden structures as the larvae reside in wood and feed on its until they become an adult. 

However, adults do not consume wood. Only the larvae of powderpost beetles are a threat to wood. 


Lacewings are not pests. In fact, these insects are highly beneficial for your garden.

They are experts in hunting down harmful pests that destroy crops in a garden.

They have green-colored bodies which turn brown during the winter. 

Brown Lacewing


Wrap Up

Winged termites are absolute destroyers of wooden structures, and you must do everything in your power to keep these pests away from your beloved home. 

These insects will infest the wooden furniture in your house and will entirely transform into something hideous. 

Use the methods given in this article to drive these pests away from your home. And remember, it is wise to seek expert help to get better results. 

Thank you for reading the article. 

Reader Emails

Flying termites in the house can be very bothersome, not the least, because they are a clear sign that your home is now infested. 

Go through some letters from our readers in the previous years to understand what they look like and why they are such a big nuisance.

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