Currently viewing the category: "Termites"

Subject:  Flying jnsect
Geographic location of the bug:  San Diego, CA
Date: 09/30/2021
Time: 09:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found these bugs ALL OVER the kitchen today. What are they and how do I get rid of them??
How you want your letter signed:  Lene Covert

Termite Alates

Dear Lene,
You have Termite alates, swarming kings and queens that will mate and begin new colonies.  We believe they are Pacific Dampwood Termites.  We do not give extermination advice.

Subject:  Flying Insect Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Mercer Island, WA
Date: 09/25/2021
Time: 04:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
I don’t know if the pictured bug from my patio is a flying termite or flying ant.  Please help with id.  Thanks
How you want your letter signed:  Victor

Termite Alate

Dear Victor,
With both Ants and Termites, only the reproductive kings and queens have wings which they lose shortly after mating during a nuptial flight.  Workers are wingless.  This is a Termite alate, the term used for winged reproductive ants and termites both.  We believe it is a Pacific Dampwood Termite which is pictured on BugGuide.  This is not a species that is considered to be destructive when it comes to homes.

Subject:  Big Fly, Wasp, or other?
Geographic location of the bug:  Truckee, CA
Date: 06/30/2021
Time: 05:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I had this large flying insect land on my porch and it appeared to be eating a flying ant. The unknown insect almost looked like a large, elongated horse fly but it might have had a stinger. It had brightly colored orange/red legs
How you want your letter signed:  Ross

Giant Robber Fly eats Termite Alate

Dear Ross,
We enjoyed researching your query, but we are only confident with our identification of your Robber Fly to the family level, though we are gambling that we have also correctly identified the genus.  We believe this is a Giant Robber Fly in the genus
Promachus and it looks very similar to this unidentified individual posted to BugGuide as well as this unidentified individual in our own archives, both unidentified individuals having been sighted in California.  California Robbers identifies four species of Promachus from California, however none of those have red legs.  We suspect this might be either an undescribed species or possibly a species not previously identified in California.  The prey is a reproductive Termite alate, probably the Western Drywood Termite which is pictured on the UC Master Gardeners website.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide a more conclusive identification.

Thank you for the information! I found this all quite interesting!

Subject:  what’s this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  bali, indonesia
Date: 01/21/2020
Time: 02:07 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  hi, I found these bugs just chilling on my doorstep. it keeps coming even though we sprayed just a week ago with bug sprays. it’s like a colony of ants, brown and red colors, has black claws on the head. but I’m not sure its ants because of the size and proportions are not like ants I ever know, they are too fat for ants and has short legs to be a sun spider. I can’t get a detailed image with my phone though, because I’m too scared to get too close and seeing those big head with those claws (i have severe allergic reactions to insect bites) and I really want to know what are those things living on my doorstep, is it dangerous?
my door made out of wood – we living in Bali close to the beach (if that’d help)
How you want your letter signed:  Defina


Dear Defina,
This is a colony of Termites, and they are likely feeding on the wooden frame of your house.  The large heads makes us suspect they are members of the soldier caste.  You can locate additional information on Asian Scientist and on Rentokil where it states:  “Soldiers defend the colony against attack by predatory enemies such as ants, and are equipped with large jaws, sticky fluids or chemical spray to do so.”

Subject:  Western Subterranean Termite Alates
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 11/22/2018
Time: 12:30 PM EDT
For the past week, What’s That Bug? has been experiencing technical difficulties receiving images after a recent software update.  While we have been unable to post any new submissions from our readers, Daniel took some images of recent insect activity near the WTB? offices.  Los Angeles got some badly needed rain last Wednesday night, and then on Thanksgiving Day, Daniel noticed several interesting semi-circles of Termite Wings after he noticed the dreaded Argentine Ants out in large numbers.  Though this is only speculation, Daniel believes that when the winged Termite alates emerged from the wooden fence, they were attacked by the ants before they had a chance to take wing.  The beautiful day did reveal a goodly number of flying Termites getting eaten by black phoebes and other insect feeding birds.

Argentine Ants and Termite Alates with discarded Termite wings

Termite Wings


Subject:  Dead flies on the floor
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern California
Date: 10/01/2018
Time: 05:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I’ve been finding these flies on my kitchen floor a lot lately. They’re always either dead or dying and I’ve never seen them flying or anywhere else. Sometimes there will only be one or two and other times there will be as many as 20. I’d really like to put a stop to it but I guess the first step is to identify what they actually are. If you could help that would be great.  Thanks in advance!
How you want your letter signed:  David

Termite Alate

Dear David,
This is not a Fly.  It is a Termite alate, the winged reproductive caste, which would indicate you have a Termite colony in your home, possibly in wood that has had water damage due to a leaky pipe in the past.  Based on this Natural History of Orange County page, we believe it is a Western Drywood Termite,
Incisitermes minor.