Termite swarmers are special members of a colony that grow wings and fly away to establish further colonies. These males and females will fly to a new location, mating in flight along the way. Once they land, their wings come off, which indicates that they’re an “item.” The queen termite can live for 30 years after becoming queen.
Termite swarmers aren’t dangerous themselves. Because they’re specially designed for mating and propagation, they don’t have time to sit down and begin chewing up your property. Their significance lies in what they portend. If you see winged termite swarmers inside your home, that means that there is an established colony of some sort within your four walls someplace.
Seeing the swarmers outside just means that there is a termite colony on your property somewhere. Both require immediate attention, although “inside swarmers” are a much more pressing situation than outside swarmers. Because termites “do their business” largely out-of-sight, the damage they wreak can go undetected for years until part of your house collapses. Remember, it takes at least three years for a colony to mature to the point of producing its own swarmers.
It’s also important to figure out which species of termite is involved or even if the winged swarmers you see are termites at all. Many species of ants, for example, also produce winged kings and queens that fly off to create new nests. Ants cause their own problems, but they seldom cause serious structural damage. Be sure to collect any wings or dead insect carcasses you find so that you can have them examined by a professional.
Most pest control services have the entomological training to be able to identify the species and recommend the proper pest control treatments. Professionals are not only equipped to handle an infestation but also to apply preventative measures for the future. Termite removal is certainly not a do-it-yourself proposition, but professionals can instruct homeowners in helpful measures to boost the professionals’ prevention efforts, such as removing debris that contains cellulose from around your property, repairing cracks in foundations, roofs, and soffits, and keeping water away from the house with proper downspouts and clean gutters.