Hungry Termites Swarm Southern States as Mating Season Kicks Off


Bad news for the southerners who managed to dodge Brood X: Another winged invader emerges from the ground, and unlike cicadas, these insects are out to cause serious damage.

It is currently mating season for the dreaded Formosa termite, with schools reportedly appearing in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.

Originally from China, Formosa termites first appeared in the United States in the 1960s. The winged insects – often also called “swarmers” – gather at dusk and are strongly attracted to the light. They are known for their huge colonies and, unfortunately, for their insatiable appetite for wood.

According to Texas A&M, this invasive subterranean termite species is considered “one of the most aggressive and economically devastating” in the country.

Formosa termite soldiers (the ones who cause the damage) are often mistaken for flying ants and have teardrop or egg-shaped heads. The wingless workers are cream-colored, while the winged “hawkers” (responsible for reproduction) are yellowish-brown.

As Bobby Ware, president of Terminator Pest Control, told the Biloxi Sun Herald, the termite mating season in Formosa runs from early May to early June. After mating, they fall to the ground, lose their wings, and find a place in the ground to start a new colony.

Hawkmoth termites

NeagoneFo / Getty Images

But there is good news. Swarms of the pale yellow beetles do not always indicate an infestation. That being said, it never hurts to have your home inspected if you are concerned.

To keep them away from your home, Ware recommends turning off lights and closing curtains and blinds whenever possible.

“Swarmers don’t bite, don’t sting,” he told the Biloxi Sun Herald. “Your whole job is to reproduce and make new babies.”

At least there is!