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Subterranean termites

Reticulitermes sp


Black bodies, white wings. These swarmers are hoping to mate with a queen who will form a new colony. These social insects have three castes. Workers, soldiers and reproductives. Swarmers are the only caste with fully formed eyes and wings.


Subterranean termites live in the soil or damp wood . Workers will feed in dry wood but must stay connected to the colony and moisture. These were swarming out of one of the posts supporting our carport. Not good!


They usually swarm after significant rains. These were unusual as they were swarming during dry weather. When they swarm predators gather to take advantage of this abundant food source. Dragonflies and birds pluck them out of the air. Many land on the ground where they are easy prey for toads, frogs, spiders, lizards, etc. In this case an anole was first in line. There were many dragonflies feeding on this swarm also. Effectively termites are turning wood into a high protein food source which they distribute across the landscape. As they swarm in spring this is a boon to birds that are feeding their young.

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Spotted by

Tallahassee, Florida, United States

Spotted on Mar 13, 2021
Submitted on Apr 1, 2021

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