It still comes as a surprise to some people that termites are capable of swarming. Sometimes people see termite swarms, but dismiss these swarms as flying ants, or even gnats. Most people, especially those who have experienced termite infestations personally, know that termites swarm during the spring months between March and May. However, the United States is home to a variety of different damaging termite pests. The most common termite pest by far is the eastern subterranean termite. When we hear about termite swarms occurring during the spring months, we are often hearing about subterranean termite swarms. Other types of termites, such as drywood termites, are known for swarming during the fall and the spring months. When determining when a termite swarm will occur, the species of termite, as well as the geographical location of the termites, must be considered.
Drywood termites are common house-pests along the west coast. These termites are known for swarming during the fall along the west coast. In the hotter desert areas of California and Arizona, drywood termites will swarm during the summer. In the Caribbean, these termites swarm during the spring. The southeast United States mostly sees eastern subterranean termite and Formosan termite infestations. However, drywood termites are still a problem in the southeast, but the west sees the greatest amount of drywood termites. There are several different species of drywood termites that exist in the southeast. In the southeast any time of year can see a swarm of some species of drywood termites, except for the winter season. There are very few drywood termite populations in North Carolina and Virginia. The drywood termites that do cause damage in these states and nearby areas, and do not cause significant economic harm.
While eastern subterranean termites swarm primarily in the springtime, drywoods clearly swarm year round, depending on region and species. Signs of a drywood termite infestation includes finding tiny fecal pellets. Subterranean termites make themselves noticed by building mud tubes that protrude from the ground and into a structure, such as a house.
Have you always assumed that all termites swarmed during the spring, regardless of species? Have you ever spotted a termite swarm in hotter and more arid regions of the US?