Are Termites Attracted to Light?

Are termites attracted to light sources?

As everyone is probably acutely aware, many flying insects are attracted to light. In fact, humans have found multiple ways to use this against them by creating devices that use light to attract bugs and “zap” them dead. Many people reading this ask themselves, “Are termites attracted to light?”

The answer is yes, but only for the swarmers. These members of the termite colony are the ones that have wings and look similar to flying ants.

Their attraction to light is actually extreme, bordering on obsession. This differs from most other nocturnal insects. What’s also interesting about this attraction is that winged termites prefer artificial light to natural light.

Why Do Termites Prefer Artificial Light? 

It’s been debated by termite experts (yes, those do exist) for years as to why termites are attracted to sources of artificial light over natural resources. Swarmers have been observed hovering around artificial sources while ignoring nearby natural sources.

The prevailing theory in most scientific circles is that termites have multiple lenses in their eyes. This seems to make it difficult, if not impossible, to adjust from light to dark. Therefore, termites feel safer in artificial light because natural light could blind them.

Why do termites like light?

Insects are attracted to light for a multitude of reasons, but termites are a bit harder to lock down. Most experts agree that there are three primary reasons that these wood-eating insects like light:

They’re Not Great Fliers

It’s strange to think that a creature born with wings wouldn’t be very good at flying, but that’s termites for you. They’re basically a bunch of “Wrong Way Feldmans” flying around waiting to begin their wood binge. Since they’re not very good at flying, they stay around the lights. This is also where they typically build their nests because they can’t fly far away.

Termites See Lights as Safe

Termites appear to view light as their, for lack of a better term, safe zone. If they sense some danger nearby, they’ll instinctively zip toward an artificial light source. It isn’t uncommon for someone to find these spooked termites, sometimes alive and sometimes dead, trapped in a light fixture after fleeing from a would-be predator.

Lights Help with Navigation

Another popular theory among termite experts is that light acts as a source of navigation. To back this up, it’s been discovered that swarmers use a home’s artificial lights to find their way around and seek out food. They do this whether you’re using incandescent bulbs, LEDs, or any other type of artificial light.

Other Things That Attract Termites

As you can see, termites are attracted to light. But that’s not all. It’s important to be aware of other things they’re attracted to so that you can prevent a termite infestation:

Food Sources

The most obvious thing that termites are attracted to is wood, which is their primary source of food. In addition to your home itself, they’re also drawn in by food sources in your yard, including dead trees, firewood, certain types of mulch, etc. You obviously can’t move your house anywhere, but you can keep wood materials away from the house’s exterior and conduct regular landscaping clean-up.

Water Sources

Termites are also attracted to water sources, just like any other insect. Once they see your home as a reliable source of water, they could easily find their way inside to begin their colony. If you install any new water structures in your yard, such as a fountain, don’t put them too close to your house. Also, after it rains, walk around and remove any puddles you find.

Entry Points

Termites are quite small, which means they can fit inside cracks and gaps in your house’s foundation, around the edges of your doors and windows, etc. You need to search your home for these potential entry points and get them sealed. Depending on their size and severity, you may need to use either caulk, spray foam, or weather-stripping to get the job done.

Contact ProHealth Pest Control for Professional Termite Control

The professionals at ProHealth Pest Control are very aware that termites are attracted to light, food sources, water sources, and more. If you have any questions about termite control or are in need of any pest control services, reach out to us at (727) 472-9420 today.