By Chris Williams on March 3, 2017.

We just saw what I believe is a termite swarm – but it was INSIDE our house! It didn’t last very long and now all that’s left are some wings. Isn’t it too early in the year for termites to be swarming, or is this part of global warming? What should we do now? Y. N., Roslindale, MA

It might be a bit too early for an outdoor termite swarm of subterranean termites in our region. Outside swarming is tied to temperature and humidity and most often occurs after a warm spring rain. But, when termites are nesting in a protected place in or under a home, the extra heat can affect normal activity so swarming is much less predictable and can occur earlier (see When Do Termites Swarm?).


The first thing you should do is call a pest control professional for an identification of the pests (save a few specimens if you can) and an inspection of your home. The flying insects that you saw could be ants, but the fact that you are seeing shed wings is more indicative of termite swarmers.

That’s the bad news. The even worse news is that termites don’t usually swarm for the first time until the colony is 3 to 5 years old which could mean that they have been working on the wood in your house for some time. The size of the swarm is not necessarily an indication of the size of the colony, either. It’s possible that there will be additional swarms on other days or that part of the swarmers exited to the outside and weren’t seen. Indoor swarmers emerge from any tiny opening they find or from mud swarming tubes which are often hidden inside walls.


The fact that you saw the termite swarm is a good thing. While an outside termite swarm is not necessarily of concern, an indoor swarm is an alert that you have a problem. Termite swarms are a fleeting thing, often lasting only a matter of minutes, and easily missed (see Termite Swarmers Don’t Hang Around For Very Long). If you hadn’t seen this swarming event, you might have gone on for at least another year blissfully unaware that termites were feeding on your home.

Termites and their damage are usually well hidden, so in the absence of a swarm, the only way to determine whether termites are infesting your home is to have a thorough inspection by an expert. Call Colonial Pest. If you have termites, or if you have carpenter ants, our trained technicians will find the infested sites and wood damage. We can set up a treatment program that fits your situation and which may include indoor wood injection and outdoor in-ground termite bait monitors. Our job is to protect your home with the least amount of disruption for you and your family.

Photo Credit : Ronald Billings, U.S. Forest Service



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