What is the difference between an Alate and a flying ant?

Be informed & know what to look out for 

Termite swarmers or alates (which is their correct name) can be seen during the months of October to March during the hot humid afternoons. Termites – wingless, blind bugs – are a white creamy colour, however alates are black have two pairs of wings which are longer than the body, and the body will be a dark grey to black colour.

The alates purpose in life is to find a mate of the opposite sex and set up house. The new couple find a rotting tree stump or wood where the female can lay her eggs, raise her babies and then allow her tribe to take over the care of the colony while the initial female becomes the queen and spends the rest of her life making millions of eggs and babies for the next 20-30 years.

A swarm of winged termites suddenly appearing can be a scary thought for the homeowner as one minute everything is fine and then without warning a swarm of flying alates fills the sky. Most homeowners run for the can of fly spray in order to try to the stop the swarm. People who have been confronted by swarms of alates have explained it as though it is a scene from a horror movie!

Termite Alate or flying ant?

During the spring and early summer time there are species of ants that will also swarm. Not every insect that flies will be a termite alate so it is important to know the difference before you cause yourself unnecessary stress and concern.

Try Not To Panic.
If you happen to see a swarm of winged termites try not to panic. Seeing the alates does not mean your house is going to fall down overnight. The alates are themselves do not cause any damage to your home or to people. Alates are poor flyers and more often than not fall only a few meters of where they started from, so keep the fly spray inside, its not going to be much help!

The first sign of a termite infestation is actually active termites, and even then there is no need to get it treated right then and there, do your homework, get proper advice from a reliable pest control company & don’t take the word of the first pest controller that comes out. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Good & honest pest control companies will give you time to think about the treatment options.

However don’t leave the thinking process too long because the longer you leave it (by this I mean months or years) the greater the termite damage will be and the more expensive it will be to eradicate.

Steps you should take:

  • Call a pest control company, or even a few
  • Organise for a termite inspection if you are unsure and it has been a while since you have had an inspection done
  • Most pest control companies will offer you free active termite quoting
  • It is perfectly fine and Sydney’s Best Pest Control understand you may want to receive more than one quote
  • Don’t let companies pressure or scare you into using them
  • If the house has had previous termite activity, find out what company treated it and what their warranty periods are

Termites do more damage to Australian homes than fires, storms and earthquakes put together. Termite invasions are frustrating, costly, damaging, and downright devastating. Eating from the inside out, termite damage can be substantial by the time it is detected.

Annual termite inspections on your property by a qualified timber pest technician are highly recommended and knowing about the early signs of termite infestation is the key to a fast and long-term solution.