What Are Formosan Termites?
Formosan termites are a subterranean species of termite with three distinct castes: alates (or reproductive), soldiers and workers. Often referred to as “super termites,” they are the most voracious, aggressive and devious of over 2,000 termite species known to science, chewing through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. (Reference by PestWorld)
How to Identify a Formosan Termite
Alates, or swarmers, are about .5 inches in length, including their wings. Their bodies are pale yellow to brownish yellow in color. They have translucent wings that are covered with tiny hairs.
Color – Creamy white to brown
Legs – 6
Shape – Long, narrow and oval
Size – 1/2 inch in length
Antennae – Yes
Region – Found in Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and California
Formosan termite “soldiers” have heads that are rounded on the sides and become narrower toward the front, whereas indigenous subterranean termites have rectangular heads. They do not have teeth.
It’s important to know what type of termite is causing problems because each one is very different biologically and, therefore, requires different methods of control. Formosan termites are very similar to other subterranean termite species, like Asian subterranean termites and eastern subterranean termites, so it’s best to contact a licensed pest control professional to help with proper identification.
It’s important to note that Formosan termite swarmers are often confused with flying ants, as well. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at their waists, because termites have broad waists and flying ants have narrow ones. Termites also have straight antennae compared to bent antennae on flying ants. Lastly, termites have 4 wings that are equal in size, while flying ants have larger front wings compared to their back wings. Have you noticed flying ants or termites? Use this video from PestWorld to help: Click here
Signs of a Formosan Termite Infestation
Some red flags you have a termite infestation: The first sign that an area is infested with Formosans is the presence of swarmers, or winged insects. Swarmers are often attracted to lights, so you should keep an eye out for them (and their discarded wings) near window sills, doors, lights and vents.
Another sign of a Formosan termite infestation is damaged wood that sounds hollow when you tap on it. The wood often appears to have been eaten away along the grain pattern. To learn more about the signs of a termite infestation, click here.
How To Prevent Formosan Termites
To prevent a termite infestation, homeowners should schedule a professional termite inspection annually. There are also some things that you can do as the homeowner inside and outside.
Outside: Eliminate sources of moisture. Divert water away from the home’s foundation to prevent termite access with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home and maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
Inside: Reduce humidity in crawl spaces, attics and basements. Routinely inspect the foundation of the home for signs of mud tubes, visibly damaged wood and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. This applies to the floorboards lining the inside of the home, and your outdoor foundation lining.
How to Get Rid of Formosan Termites
If you suspect a termite infestation, please contact a licensed pest professional about Formosan termite control and treatment. It is never recommended to attempt to eliminate a termite infestation yourself with chemicals or DIY methods. Not only will it most likely be unsuccessful, it can be dangerous to your home, your lawn, and your family and pets.
Did you know that termites cause over $5 billion dollars of damage each year? Every year, termites cause more property damage in the U.S. than floods, fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes – combined! Avoid structural damage from termites by teaming up with expert technicians at Brock Lawn and Pest Control who have over 50 years of experience with preventing and controlling termites in Florida. Whether you currently have a termite infestation or just want to prevent one from occurring, we can help. With our specialized treatment techniques, you’ll be provided with both preventative and corrective termite treatments that will stop any infestation!
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