Thursday, September 22, 2011

Flying Termites

There are certain times of the year when termites take wing and look for new places to expand their colonies. Even if you don't have any termites inside your jungalow right now, they are looking for any crevice or crack or knothole to fly or crawl inside.  The better sealed your jungalow is from the outside, the better chance you have of resisting termites and other intrusive bugs.  There are even some termites that can live in the ground. Mid-spring to mid-fall is the season for termite swarms.

They seem to like to come out at night, and are attracted to light sources and water.  At night, they will linger by the bedroom lamp or the bathroom sink. After shedding their wings, they can live for at least an hour, and are looking for their next meal. They prefer wood, but if they can't find a nice piece of wood, then they will eat any kind of natural fiber to survive. This includes: cotton, jute or sisal rugs, even wicker.  Actually, they really like wicker!  If they find your clothing, they may eat a tiny 'puka' (Hawaiian for hole) before dying.

 Silly me, I always thought termites only ate wood.

At night, the swarms can make tinkling sounds, as they alternately land, crawl around, and lift off, flickering against surfaces. As a child, I remember putting out bowls of water underneath the ceiling lamp. The flying termites would be attracted to the reflection of the light and drown. This may give you an immediate feeling of satisfaction in having killed a few termites, but in the long run is not terribly effective.

If you find wings in the morning, but not termite bodies, then it means they survived long enough to find something to eat. 

This short video shows one of our cats watching the termites.

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1 comment:

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