Do Flying Termites Eat Wood? Or They don’t? Find Out Now

Flying termites in and around a home is a precursor to a possible termite infestation waiting to happen.

These termites invade homes in swarms during a particular season of the year.

Many people confuse flying termites with flying ants. They don’t know the differences and brush it off as just another flying bug.

Termites of all types, barring one, eat and destroy wood. 

But what about flying termites?

Do flying termites eat wood? Where do they come from? In which season are they most active?

And how long do flying termites live?

In this guide, you’ll find answers to all of these questions. Plus, to a lot more.

Keep reading to know it all.

Flying Termites – Know Your Enemy

Flying termites or winged termites represent a particular life stage in the termites’ life. 

And the life stage is known as alates.

Alates, which are flying termites, are reproductive termites. 

These termites are on the verge of mating and reproducing. 

So, what do flying termites look like?

Flying termites have four long wings of equal length. When the flying termites are stationary, these wings lie one over the other, covering the entire abdomen. 

These termites are blackish with transparent wings, and they’re ⅜ of an inch long. Some may be smaller or bigger. But they don’t grow beyond half an inch.

All the three major species of termites that wreak havoc in homes have alates or winged termites.

These species are drywood termites, subterranean termites, and Formosan termites.

Formosan termite, also known as the “super termite,” is a subterranean termite that is the most destructive among the three. 

Dampwood termites that mostly eat damp and rotting pieces of wood outdoors also have alates.

So, where do flying termites come from? The following section answers the question.

Where Do Flying Termites Come From?

Where do flying termites come from

Not every termite colony or nest has unlimited space to accommodate all the termites that take birth inside it. 

The flying termites come from the established termites’ colonies or nests. They’ll leave their current nest and will lookout for a new place to make a colony.

The alates will leave the nests in swarms. 

On finding a new home or structure, the flying termites will mate, lose their wings, and drill holes inside the facility to lay eggs.

That’s the reason why you see wings of flying termites lying on the floor. 

You’ll also notice dead flying termites on the floor. The reason for their death is neither can they reach the wood nor can they mate.

So, if you see dead flying termites in your home, or broken termite wings, then it should ring your alarm bells. 

Termites might have just attacked your home.

When Do Termites Swarm? The Termite Swarming Season

Different termite species have various termite swarming seasons. 

Different species of termites have different swarming seasons.

Subterranean termites swarm during the spring in broad daylight. Drywood termites invade homes only in swarms, and they swarm in the middle of late summer and fall during evening hours.

Artificial light attracts drywood termites

So, if the windows and doors of your home are open during the swarming months, then drywood termite swarms will invade your home.

Dampwood termites that infest only rotting and damp pieces of wood swarm during the summer.

During these periods, swarms of termites in the shape of flying balloons invade homes through open doors and windows.

That’s why it’s always a wise decision to install window shields with fine mesh to stop these termites, and other flying bugs, from entering your home. 

Do Flying Termites Eat Wood?

Do Flying Termites Eat Wood

Flying termites cannot do anything except mate and fly to reach a new place to infest. 

So, flying termites can’t eat. 

But there’s a catch. When flying termites mate and lose their wings, their first job is to drill a hole in a wooden structure and get inside the wood.

So, after mating, flying termites can drill in the wood. 

How Long Do Flying Termites Live?

Flying termites have a short lifespan. 

The swarm lasts for an hour at the max, and it’s during this time, they need to mate and find a new source to start a colony.

Only a few of them can make it.

So, the flying termites don’t live beyond an hour or two. That’s the reason why you’d notice both broken wings and dead flying termites on your home’s floor. 

Inside the termite nest, the worker and soldier termites can live for two years. 

The queen termite outlives every other termite in the nest. She can live for 10 years.

In these 10 years, the queen termites will spawn hundreds of eggs. 

As long as there’s a food source and no termite treatment, the queen termite will continue to lay eggs.

The newborn termites will continue destroying the structural woods of your home, ceilings, floors, books, furniture, walls, and even picture frames.

Flying Termites In House – Should You Be Worried?

Flying termites in your home should alert you about both an existing termite infestation in your home and an infestation threat.

If your home already has a termite infestation, then that’s for sure that the alates will leave their current nests.

That’s why experts believe that termite swarms near home are also a sign of possible termite infestation. 

Also, flying termites in a home can suggest that termites are invading the house. And they’re looking for a new place to start a colony.

What To Do If You See Flying Termites In And Around Your Home?

Contact a pest controller asap and him to do a termite inspection for your home. 

A professional intervention is necessary to get rid of flying termites and termite infestations.

It’s because termites are tough bugs to kill, hard to locate, and the infestation signs take time to show up. 

DIY methods of killing termites don’t amount to much. 

DIY methods like using boric acid to kill termites, termite sprays, and white vinegar work. But these methods have their limitations. 

These methods will not get rid of an entire termite infestation that cripples homes and structures.

So, if you see flying termites in the house, it’d be best to contact a professional pest controller.

Do Flying Termites Bite?

No, flying termites don’t bite humans or animals. They’re incapable of doing it. 

As you found out earlier, flying termites have a very short lifespan. 

They need to mate and find a new place to start their colony in this lifespan.


Flying termites do not eat wood. But they can drill a hole in the wood to get inside the wooden structure. 

In this guide, you found out what these flying termites are and where they come from. 

And most importantly, why you should be worried if you see flying termites in your home.

But do you know that you can easily confuse flying termites with other flying bugs?

To know more and to identify the flying termites clearly, read our post on bugs that look like flying termites.