Formosan Termites

What do Formosan termites look like?

  • Formosan termites are common in St. Johns County, Flagler County and throughout the southeastern United States. 
  • They are approximately 1/2 inch and winged reproductives are pale yellow to brownish-yellow; swarmers have two dark veins at the leading edge of their hairy wings.
  • They have a small pore (i.e., fontanelle) on the front of their heads.
  • Soldiers have an oval head with massive toothless mandibles which cross at the tips.

What are the habits of Formosan termites?

  • Formosan termites have been found in the Gulf Coast states, along the eastern seaboard from Florida heading north to North Carolina, as well as in Tennessee, California, and Hawaii.  
  • They are subterranean termites that usually live in the ground, build mud tubes, and construct carton nests which consist of soil and wood cemented together with saliva and feces.
  • Formosans swarm on warm and rainy days, around dusk, and continue into the evening and the swarmers are attracted to light.
  • An average colony contains 350,000 members however, colonies numbering into the millions of individuals are not uncommon.
  • Formosan “carton nests” retain moisture and enable colonies and satellite colonies to establish aerial nests and survive without maintaining contact with the soil.
  • Workers within a colony may forage over an area more than an acre in size and travel almost 400 feet to a food source.

What kind of damage occurs from Formosan termites? 

  • Formosan termites are the most destructive termite species to infest structures within the United States. They should only be identified and eliminated with the help of a professional pest control company such as Innotech Pest Management, Inc. of north Florida.  
  • An average-sized colony consumes 14 linear feet of pine studs in one year.
  • Within three months they can cause extensive damage to the wood in structures.

What should I look for when dealing with Formosan termites?

  • Swarmers or carton nests
  • Damage to soft-woods (that is eaten out leaving paper-thin hardwood walls behind). 
  • Visible mud tubes.
  • Obvious points of entry into the home or structure, chronic moisture problems and other conditions conducive to termite behavior. 

How do I control and kill Formosan termites?

  • Moisture conditions that knowingly exist in/around structures or homes should be corrected.  
  • Downspouts should have drainage assemblies that divert water away from structures. 
  • Scrap wood, firewood, and other wood in contact with the soil should be removed.
  • At least six inches between wood and/or foam insulation and exterior soil grade should be maintained.
  • At least 18 inches between the soil in a crawl space and the floor joists should be maintained.
  • Water leaks and situations in which there is more than 15% wood moisture content must be repaired.
  • Drainage around the structure should be designed so that there is no accumulation of water near the foundation. Particular attention should be paid to situations that might contribute to this condition, e.g., poor exterior soil grades, planter boxes, sprinkler systems, air conditioner condensate drains, lack of gutters, gutter downspouts, etc.
  • A number of strategies are available to control subterranean termites that require the services of a pest control company. They include spot treatment, barrier insecticide treatments, and baiting.
  • Termidor termiticide is highly recommended due to its 99% efficacy over a 10-year period of time and non-repellant characteristics.  

Note: Treatment for Subterranean termites should be performed only by licensed professional pest control operators such as the Innotech Pest Management team of entomologist-led technicians.