Desert termites swarming in Lubbock

Updated: Jun. 27, 2017 at 10:00 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Seeing swarms of flying bugs around town?

Viewers reached out to us asking about the insects this week, including one viewer who sent us a photo of a giant pile of bug wings near a sidewalk in North Lubbock.

Tim Gafford, President of Gafford Pest Control Services, says these wings are from swarms of what they refer to as desert termites.

He says they've never seen this many swarms Lubbock before.

"We do have them here. I've never seen them come out to this level," Gafford said.

While the word termite naturally sparks concern from homeowners, Gafford says these swarms of termites will not cause damage to your home.

He explained the difference.

"They will not do the damage that the subterranean termites that come up through the house do. I know the panic of people, one thing you can tell is these termites are bigger, and they have brown wings," Gafford said of desert termites. "Your normal subterranean termites we have around here are a smaller species; they come out generally in mid to late April through mid-part of May or later May. They will have a black smaller body with real white wings."

Gafford said desert termites like to come out following rain. They have to have the perfect combination of temperature, humidity and sunlight. That combination that triggers them to swarm, and when they swarm together, they lose their wings.

They forage on dead plants, rather than structures.

"We get them every year, usually mid-summer you'll start seeing a few swarms around town. But we've never seen anything quite like this," Gafford said.

Gafford said another bug called the harvester ant is also swarming right now. Those are red and black ants with white wings.

He says if the desert termites are a nuisance around your home, you can call a pest control service and a simple bug spray in your home and around the outside will get rid of them.

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