Bad news for the Southern states who managed to dodge Brood X: another winged invader is emerging from the ground, and, unlike cicadas, these insects are out to cause some serious damage.
It’s currently mating season for the dreaded Formosan termite, with swarms reportedly appearing in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Texas.
Originally from China, Formosan termites first appeared stateside in the 1960s. The winged insects—often called «swarmers»—gather at dusk and are strongly attracted to light. They’re known for their massive colonies and, unfortunately, their insatiable appetite for wood.
According to Texas A&M, this invasive species of subterranean termite is «considered one of the most aggressive and economically devastating» in the country.
Often confused for flying ants, Formosan termite soldiers (the ones that do the damage) have teardrop or egg-shaped heads. The wingless workers are off-white, while the winged «swarmers» (the ones responsible for reproduction) are yellowish-brown.
As Bobby Ware, president of Terminator Pest Control, explained to the Biloxi Sun Herald, the Formosan termite mating season extends from early May to early June. After pairing up, they fall to the ground, shed their wings, and find a spot in the ground to begin a new colony.
But there is good news. Swarms of the pale-yellow bugs don’t always indicate an infestation. That being said, it never hurts to have your home inspected if you’re worried.
To keep them out of your home, Ware suggests keeping lights off when possible and closing curtains and blinds.
«Swarmers do not bite, do not sting,» he told the Biloxi Sun Herald. «All their job is to reproduce and make new babies.»
At least there’s that!