Millions of termites swarm the Bay Area searching for love

Luz Pena Image
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Bay Area rain has millions of termites searching for love
Experts say the first rainfall of the season has turned Bay Area soil into the perfect mating opportunity for termites.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area residents are reporting swarms of termites around their properties after the first rainfall of the season.

A University of California Entomologist explains when you should be concerned and schedule an inspection.

Millions of termites are coming out of the moist soil looking to build new colonies across the Bay Area.

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"Millions and millions. Each mature colony you can have hundreds and up to 1,000 swarmers. At the site I was at today in Richmond we counted probably 40 different colonies that were emerging," said Dr. Andrew Sutherland, SF Bay Area Urban integrated pest management advisor.

University of California, Entomologist Dr. Andrew Sutherland says the first rainfall of the season followed by sunny weather turned this week into the perfect time for termites.

Dr. Sutherland says the termites flying around your home are searching for a mate.

"What they are doing is looking for love. This is their chance to leave their colony as virgin queens and kings to find love on the wing or on the ground after they land and start their own colony," said Dr. Sutherland.

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Novato resident Steve Nicholes woke up to termites in his backyard.

"I thought they were flying ants, but they turned out to be a flying termite and they were just in its hatched stage," said Nicholes.

One of his neighbors Al Powell shot a video where you can see hundreds of termites. Al found seven clusters in his backyard. Steve found three clusters.

"My first instinct was right next to the foundation of my house which they can get into and cause destruction. As I walked around the backyard I saw them in flight and on the side-yard so I started looking around again and I found more," said Nicholes.

Luz Pena: "When should homeowners be concerned?"

Dr. Sutherland: "If they see a swarm coming out of the ground or a piece of wood very close to their home or another wooden structure. Within a meter or two of your home. That may suggest there is a mature colony that could be attacking your home."

That's when Dr. Sutherland says you should schedule an inspection. Otherwise wait, "Most of them die. Most of them get eaten by predators or they don't find a mate," said Sutherland.