Love Bugs: The Mating Habits of Common Pests

ants swarm over food on the ground

Valentine’s Day is this month and to celebrate, many of us will be spending the day sharing gifts and memories with the special someone in our lives. But it’s not just humans that have rituals to express love for one another—common pests employ their own unique methods of showing their romantic interest in one another year-round. To successfully rid your house or business of nuisances such as cockroaches, termites, carpenter ants and fruit flies, it helps to understand how each of these pests reproduces. In this blog, we will uncover the different and incredibly interesting mating habits of common pests so you can fight back before they multiply.

Pests Courting Pests

Like all living things, it’s an instinct for pests to focus on reproduction. But the ways in which critters such as cockroaches, termites, ants and fruit flies find their mates differ wildly from one another. Here’s an overview of how they court one another.


cockroachAs one of the oldest known pests on Earth, cockroaches are skilled at adapting to a variety of environments to survive. These flat-bodied insects usually have two pairs of wings folded over their backs, though many species rarely fly and instead use their long legs to scurry around. Cockroaches are harmful because they can carry parasitic worms, bacteria and other pathogens and even serve as a trigger for those with asthma.

Male cockroaches are always looking to catch the wandering eye of females who are seeking a mate. To attract a female cockroach, males flap their wings and reveal their abdomens to show interest, some species even secrete a food substance from their backs to entice females further. Female cockroaches produce an egg case, and while some species keep this attached to their bodies until right before hatching, some will leave their cases in a dark, moist spot.


termitesTermites provide an important ecological function as they break down dead trees and vegetation outside. But all wood is attractive to these creatures, even the lumber made to construct your home, which can cause significant structural damage.

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites have a unique mating ritual that occurs during the spring. Termites that reproduce have wings and are called swarmers. When male and female swarmers exit their nests, female termites release mating pheromones to entice the opposite sex. When a female finds a male she fancies, the pair will break off their wings and travel together as a pair in search of a suitable nesting site. You might be tipped off to a termite infestation by noticing these winged creatures during a swarm or the wings that they leave behind.

Carpenter Ants

carpenter antAnts are found almost everywhere on Earth—according to the National Wildlife Federation, there are more than 12,000 species of ant in total. A common species of ant in our region is the carpenter ant, which can easily infest a home. Like termites, carpenter ants can cause damage to the wood structures that make up our homes.

According to the Smithsonian Institution, winged male carpenter ants mate with their female counterparts in the spring and summer. After mating happens in midair, the queen lands and breaks off her wings and retreats to seal herself in a small hole in wood until her offspring becomes workers. Males die soon after they mate. Look for these flying ants for signs of their presence.

Fruit Flies

fruit flyFruit flies are annoying pests that can breed very quickly. To mate, a male fruit fly senses pheromones that the female gives off, according to Harvard Medical School. The male fruit fly may then play a mating song for the female by sticking out one of its wings and vibrating it. That’s a whole new definition of a serenade!

There are two types of fruit flies: red-eyed fruit flies love anything associated with fermentation (like liquor bottles or overripe fruit), while dark-eyed fruit flies breed in decomposing organic material, although there is overlap in breeding sites between the two. While these flies are mostly just a nuisance, they can also spread disease and contaminate food. To keep them at bay, sanitation is key.

Control Pests with Braman

Have you noticed any of the pests on this list in your home or business? Our experienced team is ready and willing to help you eliminate these critters from your home for good. We offer one-time pest control solutions and even a MultiPest Plan in which we maintain robust pest control at your home throughout the year. Contact us to learn more today.