Though termites engage in a lot of visible activity during swarm season, they're hard at work on their colonies all year long.
February through May is considered termite swarm season, a period of time during which termites leave their established, mature colonies in search of new areas to colonize. These months are typically characterized by warm, moist weather, which is favorable to termite swarmers.
Winged swarmers venture out and mate while looking for their next place to take up residence. A queen establishes herself during this process of colonization lays eggs in the new colony. The colony then grows and matures, and the cycle continues.
Though termites engage in a lot of visible activity during swarm season, they’re hard at work on their colonies all year long, potentially causing great damage to your home. So, keep termites in mind year-round, not just during the months of February through May.
COLONY LIFE CYCLE
Before and during swarm season (February through May)
- The colony is growing and maturing. The castes are performing their roles while the weather becomes warmer.
- Swarmers emerge to start new colonies. Most die within a few hours, but there are many more termites to replace them.
- Worker termites are still eating wood and damaging homes while the swarmers are out searching for new digs.
- Queens pair with kings once they find the right amount of food, moisture and the proper temperature.
- A colony is established. The queen starts laying eggs and caring for her brood, and the colony starts to slowly grow.
A few months after swarm season
- The queen's first brood has matured, and the offspring are taking care of themselves.
- The first generation of termites starts to care for the subsequent generations.
- After several months, there are still "only" a few hundred termites in the colony, but the numbers are rising.
One to two years after swarm season
- The queen is more proficient at laying eggs, depositing up to 10,000 eggs per year, and the colony's population takes off.
- Worker termites have established themselves and are taking care of providing for the eggs by consuming wood.
- The colony is out of sight and out of mind.
Three to five years after swarm season
- The colony is now fully mature and has grown to more than 1,000,000 termites in many cases.
- The production of swarmers begins.
- The cycle begins again.
The queen can live up to 30-plus years and the colony can survive much longer as other queens take over when previous queens die. That’s why it’s imperative to stop termites from ever establishing themselves in your home. But, it all begins with swarm season. Learn the signs of a termite infestation and what you can do to nip the problem in the bud.