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Help! - Termite swarmer identification


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I'm glad I found this wonderful place!

Hope you experts here can point me to the right direction.

We've had a few outdoor termite swarm events in this area recently (yes it's spring now here in Australia) and earlier last week, at about 5pm, I saw a few (less than 10) swarmers coming out from my roof manhole cracks. Managed to catch one as sample and called a local pest inspector straight away, who came along the next day, went up to the roof void and found a few (not too many) discarded wings near the manhole. He's pretty confident they were just outdoor swarmers blown in by wind through gaps around my roof. But it's 5pm only and still very bright outside (thanks to daylight saving). How would they fly into a pitch dark roof space? Aren't they all attracted to light?

Anyway, need some help with its identification as I'm a bit scared if they are dry wood termites nesting in the roof.

The bug in the picture was the smallest one while the others were bigger.

Any advice is much appreciated!

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Swarming termites are not typical flying insects. They drop their wings and crawl into dark places.

This much I know.

Australia is home to some of the most amazing creatures in the world. Most of them live in Melbourne. [:)]

I don't recognize those critters you have there, but I would defer to the pest expert. I'm sure if you were being invaded with termites, Australian ones to boot, he would have said so.

Learn more about termites here. http://www.termite.com/termites.html

They say if you have gum trees within 100 metres of the house, you'll get swarms of termites.

PS, keep that little one away from the big ones.

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Hi,

It's definitely a termite. I'm not sure that I agree with your bug guy's assessment. Most swarmers I see just sort of hang around outside when they alight and drop their wings and they die for lack of water and nutrition quickly. It's true that swarmers will show up just about everywhere and shed their wings during swarming season but I'd be concerned if I saw them emerging from inside my structure.

Swarmers are indicators of a manture nest. If it were me, I'd get up there in that roof plane with an awl or ice pick and begin poking around to see whether they've manage to establish a colony in one or more structural members. They'll need a way to get moisture so look around for shelter tubes leading to soil.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I don't know what types they have down under, but the OP did say dry wood termites.

Yeah, I saw that, but I took it to mean he was hoping that they weren't drywood termites (because they'll be able to do damage to dry rot-free wood) but he wasn't really sure what genus they are. I suspect they've got several varieties just like we do.

That's a wimpy termite. Our PDWT's are gargantuans compared to that tiny little guy.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks fellows for your input!

Hausdok, you've got the point that I am hoping they are not drywood termites which seem to have a small number of swarmers. The pest inspector did a good probing up in the roof area and also a full inspection of the house. Nothing obvious was found, but some minor old termite damage which had been treated before ( I was aware of this as revealed in the pre-purchase inspection report years ago). The pest guy's point is that there should be a lot more discarded wings and bugs (thousands as he said) if there is a nest in the structure.

As to the species, those swarming outside appear more yellowish and uniform in terms of size. The ones coming out of roof seem a lot darker and their size varies but generally speaking smaller, look similar though. Maybe same species but a different colony? A younger or less developed colony?

Any thoughts?

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Hi,

Well, the winged reproductives migrate away from the nest in search of new fertile territory and it's only after they land that they shed their wings. They don't generally land on their own nest and shed lots of wings. I think that a few might hang around the nest and shed their wings and it's possible for a few to land just about anywhere within range of their strength, so it's possible they're just a few that landed to look around and will be dead shortly if they can't find a food/moisture source.

Every year we see them swarm here and their dispersion can be quite broad. A few here, a few there, just nosing around looking for a good food source.

(You didn't hear this from me though. Since I gave up my SPI certification, the Washington State Department of Agriculture considers me completely free of any knowledge whatsoever pertaining to wood-destroying insects and says I'm not allowed to advise folks about them. I don't think they can prevent me from offering an opinion to someone outside of their jurisdication; but you never know that guy down there does seem to like to exercise his power over inspectors.)

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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