Swarming Bugs

Termite Swarm on sidewalk

During the warm seasons in Kansas it is typical to see swarming bugs flying around or amassing in various locations. A large mass of winged insects near or inside your home or place of business is very startling to see. People tend to panic because there are so many insects present in a swarm. Panic is not necessary, but insect swarms should not be ignored. Insects swarm as a result of their natural biological development. The swarm will eventually dissipate, but it is best to identify the pests present and treat as necessary. The swarm could be a sign of a larger, underlying issue or just the beginning of a pest nightmare for you.

Identification

Jordan, our Staff Entomologist, looking into the microscope examining swarming bugs.

To the untrained eye, identification of insects can be very challenging. Proper identification is also crucial to figuring out what species you have and which treatment method to use. Many pesticides and materials are specific to certain insect groups, so all treatments will not be effective. Self-identification and self-treatment may not be the most efficient, safe, or fiscally responsible route to take. You may waste much of your time, energy, and money if you take on the pest issue alone. The best response is to have a professional identify the pests for you. At Patton Termite & Pest Control we have five Associate Certified Entomologists and a Staff Entomologist that can help.

Image of five Associate Certified Entomologists. Patton Termite & Pest Control's ACE team includes Mike Patton, Ryan Cocking, Tim Dahl, and Gerry Marsh.

According to our ACE’s, you can take any of the following steps for proper identification:

  1. Take a picture of the insect(s) and send it to one of our technicians.
  2. You can also bring a sample of the bug(s) into our office in a baggie or container. Please note the specific location the bug was found and the date. This can help tremendously with identification.
  3. Lastly, schedule one of our technicians to come out to inspect and assess the pest problem.

Are They Ants or Termites?

Flying Ant vs Termite Swarmer
Termite Swarmers and Flying Ants can look very similar.

The most common insects that swarm in Wichita, Kansas, and the surrounding areas are termites and ants. Termites and ants can look very similar but have a few key differences which separate the two insects. Termites have straight antennae and ants have bent, or elbowed antennae. They also have a mostly uniform body with a broad waist. Ant’s bodies are clearly segmented into three parts (head, thorax, abdomen). Ants have a distinct cinched waist unlike the uniform termite. Both insects have long, clear to white colored wings. However, termite wings are uniform in length, but ant’s front wings are longer than the hind wings. These differences can be subtle, making proper identification a challenge since the insects are fairly small. Distinguishing which insect you are dealing with, however, is important because the treatment is different for both.

Swarming Termites on a windowsill

How Do You Treat for Ants?

Treatment for ants is a multi-step process. First, we need to inspect the interior and exterior of the home. Locating the ant activity is crucial. A swarm will likely be very easy to find. However, all other signs of activity also need to be addressed. This includes ant trails, mounds, ant frass, and high moisture areas that would be conducive for nesting. Identification of the type of ants is an important part of treatment. Ultimately, our trained technicians will inspect, identify, and treat inside and out for ants.

A colony of ants on a brick

However, ant treatment is not an immediate fix. You may see ants for the next couple weeks as they are getting into the material and taking it back to the colony. This means that the treatment is effective and working how it is designed to work! If there are hundreds of ants in or around your house there may be thousands more underground that you can’t see. Ultimately, eliminating the colony, not just the visible ants, is our goal. Ant colony elimination usually takes two services to accomplish with services scheduled two weeks apart. The second service entails further inspection and treatment. Patton Termite & Pest Control has a great success rate with our two-part ant service. Termite service, however, requires an entirely different treatment process.

How Do You Treat for Termites?

termite station sentricon

Patton Termite & Pest Control treats for termites using the Sentricon® Colony Elimination System. First, we like to send one of our termite specialists out to the property to measure, inspect activity and evaluate the conditions that are conducive to termites. The termite technician will then draw up a proposal for treatment based on the evaluation. We contact U-Dig before we do any drilling on the property so that they can flag for utilities. Then, we install Sentricon® Bait Stations in the ground about 8-10 feet apart around the perimeter of the building(s).

live termites on sentricon bait

A single station has enough bait to eliminate a typical colony. The stations are placed strategically so that the termites will find and feed on them instead of your structure or home. Termites actually prefer the bait to wood. On average, a termite can travel about the length of a football field in search of food. That is why we treat the entire structure and any sheds or outbuildings as well. Sentricon® is a great system for total home protection from termites. If you have swarming termites on your property, this is a sign that you have an established termite colony. Termite swarming occurs when the colony gets large enough that new reproductive males and females need to leave and start new colonies. A termite swarm is a sign that taking-action is critical.

Swarming Bees

This image is an example of what someone would call us about in regards to swarming bugs. The bees are covering the tree and are piled up on top of one another.

Bees have a biological process that requires swarming as well, but they are not quite the same as ants and termites. They will swarm in Kansas usually in late Spring. Bees may swarm on or inside of structures or vegetation. Hundreds to thousands of bees covering parts of your property is a frightening sight. The worker bees are swarming with a queen bee to move and start a new colony. They generally dissipate after a few days and likely will not choose your property as their nesting site.

Honey Bee on a flower

At Patton Termite & Pest Control, we do what we can to protect our pollinators. We often refer customers who are experiencing a swarm of honey bees to a local beekeeper. Kansas has many beekeepers that offer swarm removal services if you need to take-action for your health or safety.  Swarming bugs are certainly not something to mess with. So, you should trust a trained professional to take care of the pest issue for you.

How Can You Prevent Flying, Swarming Bugs?

Pest Control Technician Spraying Exterior of Home for spiders and general pests

Preventative treatments are available for both ants and termites that can help you avoid flying, swarming bugs. Here at Patton Termite & Pest Control, we recommend a regular pest control program if you are worried about ants. This also covers other general pests that are active in Kansas like spiders, crickets, mice, and other occasional invaders. Our technicians are responsive to the pest pressures throughout the year. From early Spring to late Fall our technicians may also focus on ant treatment and prevention. Preventing an infestation is better than having to respond to one.

termite technician pulling termite station out of the ground to check it

As well, the Sentricon® termite treatment is not only for curative measures. Sentricon® also provides protection from future termite activity on your property. The average in Kansas is about 7-8 colonies per acre, so the threat is continuous. Getting Sentricon® installed around your property allows you to have peace of mind and know that your biggest investment is not at risk.

Be Proactive and Take Action With the Help of a Professional

Patton Termite & Pest Control service technician standing in front of Patton Truck

Pest emergencies can come out of nowhere. A quick response is crucial when these emergencies, such as flying swarming bugs in your house, arise. The pests need to be identified by a professional so they can be properly treated. Importantly, if you want to keep your property protected you should focus on prevention. You don’t need to freak out if you find swarming bugs. Remain calm and let a professional assess and treat the problem for you. Call us to assess your pest control needs and design a program that works for you! You’re in good hands with Patton Termite & Pest Control. 316-773-3825.