A Sydney resident became desperate for answers after making an alarming discovery at the doorstep of their home — and it's a serious issue facing millions of Aussies each year.
"Woke up to thousands of these insects dead at my front door. What are they?" the worried Sydney local posted online on Monday alongside a photo showing a pile of winged critters.
Dozens chimed in to say the insects look like winged termites and Professor Ary Hoffmann from Melbourne University confirmed to Yahoo News Australia this is most likely the case — and there's a high chance a nest is nearby.
Termites can be harmful if inside the home causing more than $1.5 billion in damage to homes every year, a study by the University of Technology Sydney showed. Alarmingly, an estimated one in three Aussie homes face this issue each year, according to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), but in this instance, there's "no need to panic" Prof Hoffman said.
Why do termites swarm?
As the weather warms, termites leave their nesting place in search of a new home and tend to travel by the thousands, which is what's shown in the photo.
"If they are outside and there seems to be a lot of them, nests nearby is likely," he said. "You'd be concerned if they were inside, but if outside it probably indicates that you should have regular termite inspections done."
Termites have wings during their reproductive stage before they drop off, Prof Hoffman explained. During this stage of their life, they're often referred to as alates.
"They then mate to reproduce and start a new colony. So you end up getting a lot of them occurring together," he said.
Find is still 'concerning', some say
While Prof Hoffman stressed there's no need to worry if spotting swarms outside, others weren't so sure. On Reddit, where the post was shared, dozens suggested the poster get a pest inspector in immediately.
Even without evidence, termites have made their way indoors, the poster said "the suspicion is concerning" admitting they called in the experts. One said the swarm "doesn’t mean you have termites" but agreed "it's good time to spray".
"It's Australia, you are never more than 30m from a termite nest," another person wrote. "The issue is making sure they stay in your yard and not in your house."
Others said birds and even lizards love to feed on swarms of termites.
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