What are these swarms of flying bugs following a rainstorm?


SAN ANTONIO – After Sunday’s rain showers, some residents in northeast Bexar Counties and Guadalupe Counties reported seeing swarms of flying insects.

Okay, I was one of them. I noticed swarms of insects all over my neighborhood and then noticed others asking about them on social media as well.

So I asked an expert for the answer.

Molly Keck is an entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County.

She says the insects are desert termites.

Don’t worry, desert termites, also known as agricultural termites, are not the kind to eat up your home.

“They don’t damage plants or structures. They feed on dead and stressed Forbes, grasses and roots, ”said Keck. “Sometimes leads to damage to the lawn, but mostly because the grass is not well watered and the roots are too short due to the shallow watering.”

Desert termites swarm after a rainstorm in the San Antonio area. (KSAT)

Desert termites are native to our area.


That there were so many of them last weekend was a combination of the right weather conditions and the biology of the insects.

“Sometimes they just decide to rave about in large numbers,” said Keck.

The breeding forms of the desert termites fly out of their colonies to mate in the spring and summer months when it is hot and very humid.

The winged versions are called swarmers or alates. You leave the colony to find locations for new colonies.

They can’t do any harm, but large flocks can leave a mess of discarded wings.

Desert termites swarm after a rainstorm in the San Antonio area. (KSAT)

If you have desert termites there is no need to call pest control. If you water your grass well, they will do no harm and are even good for the ecosystem.

“Desert termites help regulate the flow of carbon and nitrogen in an ecosystem. They process up to half of the dead roots and waste in annual and perennial grasslands, ”according to the AgriLife Extension website.


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