A suspected flying termite
A suspected flying termite

Rain triggers swarms of ‘silent destroyers’ to Gympie homes

RAINFALL over the past week has triggered short-lived but intense swarms of small flying insects with long golden brown wings in parts of the Gympie region, wings which were then discarded on kitchen benches and floors.

The phenomenon is either flying ants or flying termites, the latter and more concerning apparently triggered by the time of year, rising humidity and rain - and a threat to local homes that should not be taken lightly, according to pest controllers.

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The Pest-Ex website described the flying termites as usually light gold in colour and with six legs.

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“They have two tiny antennae which are most often straight with a slight curve to them, and can normally be identified by their thick body which is made of only one part. They have two large, translucent wings on either side of their body, sometimes as large as 3cm per wing and have a veiny appearance,” it states.

“As the season changes from winter into spring and summer, and the humidity levels begin to rise, so does the increase risk of a termite infestation within your home. Subterranean termites are able to build colonies in the underground in order to infiltrate your property and cause damage of mass destruction – causing more damage to homes in Australia than fire, floods and storms combined. Known as the ‘silent destroyers’ termites are able to hide away for years, silently munching away at your much-loved home. Given the chance, the subterranean termite will eat your home to the ground.

An image of a flying termite taken from the Pest-Ex site.
An image of a flying termite taken from the Pest-Ex site.

“One key factor to be on the lookout for in regards to a termite infestation is the presence of flying termites swarming in large clusters. One of the triggers of a termite swarm is the combination of the increase in temperature with a heavy rain fall.

“If you see swarms of flying termites around your home, it should alert you as a warning sign of two potential dangers: that you already have an existing termite issue; or your home is at risk from a potential infestation of termites.

“If you see flying termites around your property call a professional termite inspector as soon as possible,” the website states.

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“The flying termite can be found all over Australia. Warm conditions are ideal for termite colonies as they prefer an average temperature of 25-28 degrees.

“In Australia as the summer season approaches, the tropical downpours are the perfect breeding ground for termites. A termite colony is made up of three groups and the subterranean termite is the type of that species which is able to develop wings and fly.

“This group of termite is the only able to develop sexually and become the future queens and kings of the next season’s termite colonies.”

The pegasus pest control website said flying termites outside your home is a good indicator of an established colony within a few hundred metres.

Preventative steps to ensure they won’t end up in your home include ensuring your termite treatments are effective and up-to-date, and termite barriers are in place and intact.

Gympie Times


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