Florida’s temperate and humid conditions provide a bigger risk of pest activity compared to other parts of the United States and the lack of a cold season lets these pests thrive and multiply all year long. Asian and Formosan termites were believed to have made their way to Florida on ships and boats. They don’t consume much more wood than any other termite species, but the colonies they form can be in the millions. They come fast and in huge numbers to deliver a massive hit to a structure in very little time.
Identification of Formosan & Asian Termites
Formosan and Asian termites are non-native termites that arrived in the past few decades. Formosan termites are often referred to as “super termites”. They are the most aggressive termite species known to science and will chew through your home undetected. They are creamy white to brown in color, and about ½ inch long. Asian termites are closely related to Formosan termites and are also very damaging. They are caramel to brownish-yellow in color on the underside and dark brown to black on top. They also measure ½ inch in size. The faster they breed, the more risk there is to homes. Termite infestations are increasing in urbanized areas and if the 6 million people that live in Southeastern Florida continues to grow, the termites will continue to spread. Researchers state that infestations of termites could possibly dramatically increase to as high as 50% to 60% by the year 2040.
Termite Swarming Season
Termites are dangerous because they can eat a piece of wood for months or years before you even realize they are there. Asian and Formosan termites colonize in the ground under homes and therefore are harder to eradicate. The swarm season is April through June where you will see thousands of them filling the air. Many will die to predators but all it takes is one male and one female to start a colony. They are called the king and the queen.
Signs of Subterranean Termites
Americans spend close to five billion dollars in termite damages every year. If signs aren’t caught early enough, the damage will get worse and can affect the structure of a building. Signs you’re dealing with termites include:
• Mud shelter tubes and tunnels that termites use for protection and to move from soil to wood
• Earthen packing is a mud like substance on the surface and mostly visible on foundation walls
• Wood excavation and piles of frass. As they eat they will leave tiny pellets at entry points
• Discarded wings
• Damaged wood that is hollow or sagging
Termite Inspections & Treatment
Early and correct identification is imperative. All termites are biologically different and require different methods of control and treatment. Formosan and Asian termites need more work to eradicate than native species and usually require a soil treatment and fumigation. Do not try and eliminate termites on your own. You may inadvertently make the infestation worse if you disturb them and they move to a more hidden area to continue their destruction unchecked. Contact the professionals at Southeast Florida Pest Control as soon as you suspect you’re dealing with termites.