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Termites (swarming)


small bodied insect (looks like an ant to me) with what looks like 2 long wings, but when open in flight or by wind is actually 4 wings a long set and a small set (see second photo)


my backyard above ground garden-I have never seen these guys before. I went out in the yard and they weren't there and in less than 10min's I had a huge swarm of them on my plants and planter. The yard guys were mowing so I don't know if this caused them to move or what, but they were so bad I had to bring the kids in.


I'd like to know what these are and if they are a problem for the pest control guy or not. I am pretty sure they will kill my garden, they were all over my mint and strawberries!

1 Species ID Suggestions


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Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 8 years ago

The good news is that they aren't invading your house and raised gardens. I suppose we could suggest that it's also a very nice spotting and that we all benefited from the discussion.

LauraSaenz 8 years ago

Our pest control guy did confirm they are swarming termites. They apparently get blown around a lot with the wind and got stirred up by the lawn guys. They are all gone now. He did tell us that they have a low survival rate and that is why there are so many in the swarms. That we don't have anything to worry about since they were all outside away from the house and structure. He did check my raised bed gardens since they were hanging out there, but said it was clear and the wood was in great shape. Phew.

achmmad 8 years ago

Alates - that what common name I known til now. But they are termites also, agree with oxyjack! they live underground until breeding season coming. And if you see them like that one, they are finding mates. :) hope it help ... sorry no scientific name. I'm also have another species of it:

oxyjack 8 years ago

These look like subterranean termites. Another way to tell winged ants from winged termites is to look at the wings themselves. Termites have two pairs of identical wings with many veins. Ants have one pair of large wings, and a second smaller pair. The wings have few veins.

LauraSaenz 8 years ago

Thank you for that link, I went out and scooped two up to show the pest control guy, but the more I look into it, I am almost certain they must be termites. I am just wondering what caused them to swarm my yard so quickly. We were out playing and then in 10 minutes they were all over. We did have lawn guys out doing our lawn and our neighbors (they showed up in our back when they mowed our neighbors side yard) I went out about 10 minutes ago an there were only a few (maybe 10) so strange since there were 100's (seriously) of them just an hour or two ago...maybe they are infesting my neighbors house and not mine (yet) we shall see! Thanks again for that link!

Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 8 years ago

Take a look at I'm guessing that what you found are termites. Will be interested in what the pros suggest.

LauraSaenz 8 years ago

I was wondering if they were termites-it was my first thought! I saw one website that said that termites don't have segmented bodies-which these do. Someone else in the Species ID chat suggested "flying ant" also. I have pest control coming out for spiders Thursday, so I planned on showing them the pictures just to make sure! I will post here when I get a definitive ID.

Gordon Dietzman
Gordon Dietzman 8 years ago

Hmmm... At first glance I was thinking swarming queen ants. I photographed a swarm of queen carpenter ants in Rocky Mountain National Park a couple of years ago and they looked pretty much like this. Plus your second photo shows one shedding its wings. The problem is that ants have an "elbowed" antennae and these--based upon your photos--have straight antennae. Kind of hate to mention the other possibility, but you may want to do some research into termites and their swarming behaviors.

Spotted by

Texas, USA

Spotted on Mar 21, 2012
Submitted on Mar 21, 2012

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