Jogging through a termite hatch

A termite hatch can be an exciting experience. Thousands of these reproductive termites, forced out of their mounds by workers, take to the sky and swarm round light sources. If you are in the midst of a hatch in the open, there will be termites all over you and you better keep your mouth closed. If the termites enter your home, attracted by the lights, they usually end up in water – either your drinks or if you are having dinner, your soup bowls. One way of control is to place basins of water under the light bulbs and they will eventually end up in the water.

Well, Steven Chong was out jogging along Lornie Road one evening in May 2008 when he witnessed a termite hatch. Thousands of these flying insects suddenly emerged from the edge of the MacRitchie Reservoir forest that borders this stretch of the road.

As he jogged along, he had several mynas flying in front of him, picking off the termites all the way. And this went on for a good kilometre and a half. All the time, more termites were appearing from the forest edge.

It must have been raining earlier, as this often triggers such masses of termite reproductive to emerge from their nests in their nuptial flight. The rain probably soften the mound to allow the workers to make openings to force the reproductive out.

Another incident was a month ago. He had just parked his car opposite the Shell petrol station at MacRitchie. Here again, he witnessed literally hundreds of termites rising from the ground. Again, there was feasting by myna birds.

Steven Chong
May 2008

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