Are Termites Attracted To Light? Yes, & Here's Why
Author: Rick Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Termite invasion is quite common, especially during the summer and spring times. However, you must have noticed these termites can often be seen around lights, as close to the bulbs as they can get. Are termites attracted to light?
Well, a bunch of species of termites are attracted to light. They swarm around the light sources, like porch lamps, motion lights, bulbs, etc. Unlike any other nocturnal insects, their attraction to light is at the extreme phase. And this is mostly seen during the warm summer seasons.
So, want to know more about termites and lights? Binge on till the very end, and you'll get all of your answers.
Why Do Termites Fly Around Lights?
Why are termites attracted to light? There is no specific scientific explanation for this question.. But there are a bunch of theories that could contain possible answers. Here are some of them:
Unlike other flying insects, termites aren't experts at flying. Their substandard flying capacity is one of the reasons they stay around lights. Moreover, due to their light wings, they can not fly far away. So, they find a suitable place to breed near their nests.
They believe having their nests near the lights would be helpful for them to breed. That's why they pile themselves around bulbs, especially in the early evenings and after rain. Also, if the insect is flying, it's not a wood mite.
Finds Light to Be Their Safe Zone
To insects, a bright light from outdoor types of light fixtures appear like a safe zone. Whenever they sense any danger, they head towards the lights instinctively. Mostly they gather around the lights that are placed higher than the risky atmosphere they were in.
The swarmers find light as a typical safety area. That's why it's not uncommon to find termites in light fixtures, live or not, after being trapped in there chasing after the light.
Light Helps With Navigation
Another theory is that swarmers use light as a navigation resource. Moreover, they judge their directions by following the natural light resources, such as the sun and the moon.
On the contrary, they use artificial lights around your homes and roads to navigate their route and even to seek food. And no matter the types of light bulbs used, the light will act as a beacon that aids in a termite's survival.
Why Do Termites Choose Artificial Lights Over Natural Ones?
The debate regarding termites' attraction to artificial lights over natural resources has been going on for years. Swarmers tend to hover around artificial lights even when natural light resources are available.
Some believe termites have multiple lenses in their eyes. That's why they are incapable of adjusting from light to dark. This is the reason why termites feel safe remaining in artificial light. Otherwise, they become almost blind and fall victim to obstacles.
Are Termites Harmful to Humans?
The actual threat termites cause to humans is still blurry to many. However, apart from damaging your furniture, this kind of insect can also cause many other severe damages.
Compromises Your Health
Although termites can bite and sting, there's no toxicity. Researchers couldn't specify any harmful diseases carried by this insect either. But people who live in a place infested with termites might face allergies and asthma. Some people might even be allergic to termite saliva.
Toxicity of Pesticides
It's ironic how the medicine turns out to be more harmful than the disease in this case. Misusing chemicals and pesticides to kill or reduce termites is the greatest health threat. While using these, you need to be very careful.
After the application, you should always leave the room and allow enough time for the chemical to go before you re-enter the room.
Other Lesser Impacts of Termites
There are other problems termites create for us, which is why we hope not to attract them with our outdoor lights. Among these are:
- Swarmers can damage wooden walls, pages of books, and thin plastic covers over chairs and tables.
- They hover around the poolside, creating an annoyance in the environment.
- Over time their small and often unnoticed impact on structural beams in our patios can cause a dangerous scenario to occur.
This leads us to our next question, which is how do we get rid of this pesky problem.
How Do You Get Rid of Flying Termites Around Lights?
Unlike bats that aren't attracted to light, termites can swarm light sources. Turning off the lights will be the simplest solution to this issue. Doing this will force them to fly away to find another source of light. However, you also need to turn the lights on eventually, right? So here're some alternative methods you can consider.
Get Their Nests Away From Your House
The most effective method of getting rid of termites is to throw their nests away. Termites don't fly over 100 meters from their nests. So if you get rid of it, you will be able to get out of this issue effectively.
Pesticides Work Good at Eliminating Termites
Nocturnal insect eliminators or pesticides can help you eliminate flying termites. But these products might contain harmful chemicals. So use a face mask to cover your nose and mouth whenever you use such eliminators.
Bug Zappers Can Be a Lifesaver
Bug zappers work pretty well to get alates out of your house. You just have to hang it on your window or door, and you'll notice these insects slowly hovering around it and being zapped. Are termites attracted to light? Yes, and that's how bug zappers work, by being an alluring light source. If you hang these on your front porch, just make sure you understand the colored porch light meanings.
DIY Solution to Removing Termites
You can make a natural solution if you want to avoid using commercial ones. Mix 1 cup of a liquid dishwasher with 3 cups of water in a bowl. Add some peppermint oil to create a natural pesticide. Now, shake it well and spray the solution onto them until they fly away.
The soap will make the termites suffocate and might penetrate the waxy membrane of their body. Make sure that you wipe the solution away after getting the termites out. However, if all your attempts fail, consider calling a professional termite control service in your area.
How Can We Prevent Termites?
Getting rid of termites can surely be a challenge. But thankfully the damages they cause us aren't immutable. So it's better that you take some measures beforehand to keep this insect away from your house.
- Close your windows and doors after a rainy day, so swarmers don't find a way to enter your house.
- Attaching mesh insect screens to window frames is a great way to prevent alates (winged termite swarmers) from entering where they shouldn't be.
- They might find an entrance under your door; you can get under-door seal protection to tackle this issue.
- Turn on the lights near windows after the early evening.
- To make the lights less obvious, draw the curtains of your windows before the sun sets.
These are some of the most simple actions we can take to minimize the attraction of termites towards our home and property in general.
What Plant Keeps Termites Away?
Yes, specific plants can keep termites away from your porch light. Marigold plant is the one that can do this job for you. Swarmers can't stand the smell of marigolds and tend to fly away immediately when they find this plant nearby.
So if you plant a tough fragrant variety of marigold plants, the scent won't let the insects near your house. If you want, you can also go with French and African marigolds.
What Types of Termites are Attracted to Light?
Do termites like light? Yes, and it's specifically alates or swarmers that are the types of termites that fly around the lights of your house. They have a darker shade in their wings compared to the usual termites. The main goal of these swarmers is to create as many large colonies as possible.
This stands as a significant problem in reducing them, as they keep growing again and again in number. Swarmers usually fly around in search of a suitable place for breeding and make colonies in certain selected places.
As we've mentioned above, the area around the lights seems safe to them for breeding. However, other termite types might be primarily responsible for damaging wooden walls and furniture, destroying the pages of books, damaging hanging show pieces, etc. But they aren't attracted to lights.
Why Do Termites Come Out at Night?
The reason termites hoover during the night is because of the high humidity. Flying termites are attracted to artificial light sources more than natural ones. This is another reason why they come out at night.
Other species of termites come out in daylight. And the dry wood termites become active after the rain.
What Time of Year Do Termites Swarm?
Warm seasons are the homely seasons for swarmers. Along with warm days, the calm wind after rainfall attracts swarmers as well. They find these specific periods safe and perfect hours to breed.
Anyway, there's another species of termites, dry wood termites. They are those specific termites that swarm after summer falls. The months are from August to November.
Are Termites Attracted to Light? Yes, They Are
Termites are one of the most disturbing insects to face during humid seasons. And seeing them roaming around the lights can be even more annoying, especially when they land on us. Are termites attracted to light? The answer is yes, so the best solution here would be to consider taking any of the measures mentioned above to get termites out of and away from your house.