• Stéphanie Périquet

When the rain gives you wings...

Updated: Jan 21

Every year after the first significant rains, we are witnesses to one of Nature's fantastic shows: the flight of termites. This is the time when alates (individuals with wings) leave their colonies to mate and start new colonies of their own. These are the only individuals who can reproduce, as all the other termites are asexual.




In 2021, this happened on the 21st of December, after 108mm of rain had fallen on Ongava since the beginning of the rainy season. Just after sunset, alates of several termite species took to the sky. In a frenzy, they left the safety of their nests and took off in search of mates. But these are very risky times! A multitude of predators lie in wait: from bat-eared foxes to solifugids, scorpions and spiders. Numerous species take advantage of this burst of food that only lasts a night or two. And during the day, birds such as bee-eaters and kites, join the feasts as well. Then they must wait until next year for their next batch of alates…







And the next morning, all is left of them is a carpet of wings...