Understanding Baby Termites with Wings


Termites, often referred to as “silent destroyers,” are notorious for the damage they cause to homes and structures. While most people are familiar with the worker and soldier termites, there is another crucial stage in the termite life cycle that often goes unnoticed: the alates, or baby termites with wings. In this article, we will delve into the world of alates, exploring their purpose, behavior, and significance in termite colonies.

What are Alates? Alates are the reproductive members of the termite colony. They are also known as swarmers or flying termites. Alates have wings, which distinguish them from the non-reproductive members of the colony, such as workers and soldiers. These wings enable them to leave their parent colony in search of a mate and establish new colonies.

Appearance and Behavior:

Baby termites with wings, or alates, have distinct physical characteristics that set them apart from other members of the colony. They are typically larger than workers and soldiers and have two pairs of wings of equal length. These wings are shed after the alates mate, as they are no longer needed once the new colony is established.

Alates are highly attracted to light and are often seen swarming around light sources, especially during warm, humid evenings. This behavior is known as swarming, and it is the termite’s way of dispersing and finding a suitable mate. Swarms can be quite large, consisting of hundreds or even thousands of alates.

Importance in Termite Colonies:

While alates may seem like a nuisance to homeowners, their presence is crucial for the survival and expansion of termite colonies. When alates mate and establish new colonies, they contribute to the perpetuation of the species. Additionally, the formation of new colonies helps relieve overcrowding within existing colonies, reducing competition for resources.

Furthermore, termite colonies play a vital role in ecosystems by breaking down dead plant material and recycling nutrients back into the soil. Without alates and the establishment of new colonies, termite populations would decline, disrupting this important ecological process.

Prevention and Control:

For homeowners, the sight of swarming termites can be alarming, as it often indicates the presence of a nearby colony. To prevent termite infestations, it is essential to take proactive measures, such as:

  1. Regular inspections: Schedule regular termite inspections by a qualified pest control professional to detect signs of termite activity early.
  2. Moisture control: Termites are attracted to moisture, so it is essential to address any moisture issues in and around your home, such as leaky pipes or improper drainage.
  3. Termite barriers: Consider installing physical or chemical termite barriers around the perimeter of your home to prevent termites from entering.
  4. Treatment options: If termite activity is detected, various treatment options, such as liquid termiticides or bait systems, can be employed to eliminate the colony and prevent further damage.


Baby termites with wings, or alates, play a crucial role in the life cycle of termite colonies. While their swarming behavior may cause concern for homeowners, it is a natural part of the termite reproductive process. By understanding the behavior and significance of alates, homeowners can take proactive measures to prevent termite infestations and protect their homes from damage.

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