Pest Issues

How to Identify and Get Rid of Flying Termites (Alates)

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With rains and colder weather hitting Australia this winter, flying termites are a real threat to every homeowner. As you know, seeing termites in or around your property isn’t a good thing. It may mean that somewhere near your property, or worse – on your property, there is an ongoing termite infestation.

The damage termites can inflict on your property is tremendous, and can sometimes exceed tens of thousands of dollars to be fixed.

As these insects swarm in such weather, let’s take a look at what flying termites really are, and how you can protect your home from an infestation.

In this article...

What are flying termites


Flying or winged termites are normal termites they are just the reproductive stage of the insect. Both male and female termites emerge from already existing colonies in order to reproduce.

If you find multiple of them in your home, or around your property, this may indicate an ongoing termite infestation in, or around your property, which can be pretty bad.

In order to protect your property, you should be able to differentiate flying termites from flying ants. The differences are small, but here are some key points:

  • Flying termites have a straight-sided waist while winged ants have a constricted waist.
  • The termites have four wings that are of equal size.
  • Flying termites have straight antennae, while the antennae of the winged ants are bend at 90 degrees.

If you come across a winged termite-resembling creature we suggest you study it carefully and determine the species of the creature.

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How to recognise a flying termite

Flying termites have an elongated body. Depending on the species they can reach anywhere from half a centimetre to near a centimetre in length.

Also known as alates, winged termites can range in colour from light to dark brown. The darker colours allow the pest to retain water. This is also the reason why they are able to leave the colony and reproduce outside.

As we already mentioned, alates are equipped with four, equal-length wings.

When do termites fly?

Most alates swarm after big rains, and in warmer weather. Considering Australian winter isn’t famous for its harsh winters, you may see some swarmers looking for warmth inside your home.

When termites begin flying, they are looking for a new place to begin their next colony. It’s best to make sure that’s not your home.

Do I have an infestation if I see alates in my home?

Can’t be said for sure, but your property may still be safe. Alates appear after a colony is around three to five years old, which means that it’s a big one. However, the flying termites can fly from somewhere around your property. 

The initial colony may be in a neighbouring property, or somewhere around your home. As the colony has to be well developed in order for it to produce aerates, we suggest you contact a pest controller to inspect your property.

At the least, you will be sure there isn’t an infestation in your home. Or, if there is, you will know you have to get rid of them.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

As a pest control company, we often get questions about winged termites. We want to clarify that every case of an infestation is different, so contact your local pest controller to book an inspection in order to be sure.

Are Flying Termites Harmful to Humans?

While termites don’t pose an immediate threat to humans, these bugs are known to bite and sting. They aren’t toxic, and there are no known cases of termites carrying diseases.

However, there are known cases where people who live in termite infested houses can have asthma attacks. As long as you and your family don’t suffer from asthma, termites can’t affect your health.

How to Proof Your Home from Alates?

Unlike normal termites, alates, or flying termites, are attracted by warmth and light. Homemade DIY methods rarely work. What we suggest is you inspect the seals of your windows, around the doors and the door trims, and of course, the roof. Those are the most likely entry points.

If you have swarms of alates outside your house invest in zappers. Flying termites love the light and are easily attracted to them. Make sure the zapper is the only light source in proximity and leave it on for the night.

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How to Get Rid of Flying Termites

If you’re finding it hard to deal with alates, we suggest you contact professional pest controllers to come and inspect the problem. If there is an ongoing infestation in your home, then you should act fast.

Termites can cause a lot of damage to your home. In some cases, depending on where the infestation is, it can cost upwards of AU$ 10,000 to fix the damage.

Because of the nature of the infestation, we do not recommend wasting time with DIY methods. Professionals have their ways neutralising the infestation, which often includes the occupants of the property to leave while the pest control session lasts.

Termites don’t fly for too long. Once they find a suitable place for their next colony, termites shed their wings and begin establishing it. If the pest finds your home suitable, you and your property are in big trouble.

While sealing possible entries will limit the entrance points to your home, if there are termites swarming around your home, they will most likely find their way in.

Our professional pest controllers suggest that, if you find alates in or around your home, you should contact a professional pest controller.

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Darlin D. Aviles
Darlin D. Aviles
3 years ago

There are different ways to get rid of termites, as you’ve read in the article. Fogger is one of them and when it comes to its performance I can definitely say that thing helps get rid of these insects perfectly, I’ve used it myself. Who cares if the effect is temporary, at least you will be able to spend a few hours outdoors without being bitten.

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