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Are Termites Attracted To Light?

If you’re dealing with a termite infestation, you’re probably trying to figure out how to keep the bugs as far away from you as possible until you can completely eradicate the problem. 

And this often leads many people to wonder, are termites attracted to light?

Yes, certain termites are attracted to light. Specifically, the class of termites called swarmers, or alates, often prefer to stay around light sources. However, most termites don’t care about light sources because they are completely blind. 

What Kinds Of Termites Are Attracted To Light?

A light bulb turned on in the dark.

Only swarmer termites, also called alates, are attracted to light. 

But what exactly are swarmer termites?

Well, not all termites are the same. 

Even termites from the same species can look quite different from each other. 

Basically, termites live in colonies, much like ants, and each type of termite has a different job. 

For example, soldier termites use their large pincers to keep the colony safe from predators. 

Meanwhile, swarmer termites are the reproductive class, and their job is to fly away from their current colony and mate so that they can start a new colony elsewhere. 

And it is solely these termites that gravitate toward sources of light. 

Why Are Swarmer Termites Attracted To Light?

Unfortunately, scientists don’t know exactly why swarmer termites, or any other types of bugs, are attracted to light. 

One theory claims that these insects move towards light because they tend to use the light from the moon to help them navigate. 

But because our artificial lights are more apparent than the light from the moon, the insects get confused and just keep circling around the man-made light source. 

Another hypothesis speculates that insects prefer to stay near light because it is easier to see predators there than in the dark. 

Overall though, no one really knows for sure why insects like swarmer termites and moths are attracted to lights. 

Are Other Termites Attracted To Light?

Close-up photo of black termites.

No, other termites are not attracted to light. 

Most termites are either workers or soldiers, and they are both completely blind. 

Therefore, they’re not even able to tell if there are lights anywhere around them. 

Meanwhile, the king and queen termites do have weak eyes, just like swarmer termites, but these insects do not leave their nests. 

That’s why these are not the bugs you’ll find annoyingly dancing around your lights. 

How Can I Keep Swarmer Termites Away From My Lights?

Few things can kill a quiet evening outside like being attacked by insects. 

Thankfully though, there are a few methods you can use to keep the swarmers away from you and your lights. 

Try Installing A Yellow Light 

Most so-called “bug” bulbs give off a yellowish hue. 

The purpose of this coloring is that it emits a wide range of light waves, making it difficult for most insects to see with their rudimentary eyes. 

Therefore, if swarmer termites won’t leave you alone, you may want to try using one of these bulbs instead of the more standard white ones. 

Light Candles 

Did you know that certain scents are known to repel insects?

You can use this fact to your advantage. 

So, if you’re trying to repel swarmer termites, try lighting candles that contain some of the smells they hate, such as: 

  • Mint 
  • Cedarwood 
  • Peppermint 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Orange 
  • Tea tree 

Hang A Birdhouse 

If you want a more environmentally friendly solution to your termite problem, you can also place  a birdhouse outside your home. 

Many bird species eat termites, so the birds you attract to your yard can get rid of them for you naturally. 

Just remember that when picking a spot, be careful not to put the birdhouse too close to where you will be sitting. 

If you do, the birds may feel threatened by you, causing them to resist making a home there. 

Get A Bug Zapper 

Bug zappers attract insects by giving off an appealing light and then killing the insects once they get close enough. 

Overall, bug zappers are one of the most effective ways to control insect populations in your yard. 

However, keep in mind that a bug zapper will also leave a pile of dead insects behind which you will have to clean up periodically. 

Install A Ceiling Fan 

Although this option can be a bit pricier than the others, a ceiling fan can be a great way to keep insects away when you’re sitting on your porch. 

A ceiling fan can also help to blow away discarded swarmer wings, which tend to pile up on porches. 

Screen Your Porch In

This option can also cost some money, but it will keep swarmer termites and other insects from congregating near your porch lights effectively. 

Since swarmer termites aren’t particularly small, they will not be able to get through the screen’s screen’s tiny holes to your porch, meaning they won’t be able to bother you. 

When Is Swarmer Season?

Close-up photo of a swarmer.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t a time of year when termite swarmers tend to swarm more than others. 

It really depends on the particular species, as some prefer to swarm in the spring, while others come more frequently during the summer, and others in the fall. 

In general, though, spring is when termite swarmers are usually the most active. 

April and May in particular tend to be when swarmers come out most often. 

You may also see termite swarms during the summer months, depending on where you live, but typically the swarmers don’t come out again until late summer or early fall. 

August until November are the preferred months for fall swarmers, and they tend to emerge on warm, wet days. 

If I Keep My Lights Off, Will Termites Stay Away From Me?

If you want to keep swarmer termites away from you when you’re outside, turning off any lights will help to keep them away, because there won’t be anything to attract them. 

However, if you are inside and worried about termites swarming you, turning off your lights won’t do much to help. 

This is because your home is a relatively small space, meaning the termites won’t have many places to go. 

Therefore, you probably won’t be able to get rid of them just by turning off the lights. 

When it comes to non-flying termites, such as workers and soldiers, they can’t detect light, so they won’t care if the lights are on or off. 

Luckily, you probably won’t see many of these termites since they prefer to stay in isolated areas, such as inside walls. 

Do Termites Bite?

Close-up photo of a swarmer.

If you deal with termites regularly, you may begin to wonder if they bite. 

Well, soldier and worker termites do bite, but not very often. 

Typically, termites only bite if they feel they are in danger. 

So in general, if you leave termites alone, they will also leave you alone. 

You can also rest assured that termite bites are not poisonous. 

Most people who have experienced termite bites say that they don’t hurt much, and the pain doesn’t last that long. 

You can also be thankful that flying termites do not bite or sting, so you don’t have to worry about these types of pests harming you. 

Do Termites Only Swarm At Night?

Whether termites tend to swarm during the day or at night depends on the specific species. 


Only swarmer termites are attracted to light. 

The more common termites, like workers and soldiers, are blind and therefore don’t care about light. 

Even though swarmers only make up a tiny fraction of the termite colony, they can still be irritating pests that like to hang out around outdoor lights.