Formosan Termites

Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) are a highly destructive and invasive species of subterranean termite. They are often called “super termites” due to their ability to cause extensive damage to wooden structures and their large colonies. Identifying Formosan termites can be crucial for effective pest control. Here are the key characteristics and signs of Formosan termites:

  • Size:
    • Formosan termites are similar in size to other subterranean termite species.
    • Workers typically measure about 1/4 to 3/8 inch (6.35 to 9.5 millimeters) in length.
    • Soldiers are about the same size as workers but have larger, elongated heads and strong mandibles.
    • Reproductive alates (swarmers) are larger, often around 1/2 inch (13 millimeters) in length.
  • Coloration:
    • Formosan termite workers and soldiers are creamy white to light brown.
    • Swarmers have a darker, brownish-black body with translucent wings.
  • Antennae:
    • Both workers and soldiers have straight antennae.
  • Wings:
    • The reproductive alates (swarmers) have two pairs of wings of equal length, and they shed their wings after swarming.
  • Behavior:
    • Formosan termites are social insects that live in large colonies.
    • They build extensive underground nests that can contain millions of individuals.
  • Habitat:
    • Formosan termites can infest a wide range of wooden structures, including homes, buildings, utility poles, and trees.
    • They can also establish colonies in soil, mulch, and other organic matter.
  • Damage:
    • Formosan termites feed on cellulose, causing significant structural damage to wood, paper, and other materials.
    • They are known for their rapid feeding and ability to consume large amounts of wood.
  • Swarming:
    • Like other subterranean termites, Formosan termites reproduce through swarming. Swarmers emerge from colonies during swarming season to mate and establish new colonies.
  • Mud Tubes:
    • Formosan termites may construct mud tubes, similar to those of other subterranean termites, to protect them while traveling between their nests and food sources.
  • Carton Nests:
    • In addition to underground nests, Formosan termites can also build carton nests in wall voids or other concealed areas. These nests are made of a mixture of chewed wood, saliva, and fecal matter.

Formosan termites are particularly challenging to control and require professional pest management due to their large colonies and aggressive feeding habits. If you suspect Formosan termites infestation in your property, it is crucial to contact a licensed pest control professional for a thorough inspection and appropriate treatment. Prompt action is essential to mitigate the damage caused by these destructive termites.

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