Louisiana is known and loved for its warm climate by many—including one of the most destructive termite species, the Formosan termite. This termite species is common in southern states and have been known to cause substantial damage when their colonies are allowed to flourish. The Formosan termite has very distinct behaviors, diets and caste systems. Understanding how they function can make it easier to identify them and address an infestation promptly.
Formosan termites are a form of subterranean termite, because of this they choose to nest in the soil. They build mud tunnels so they can move safely between their shelter and food source. Their tunnels help keep them safe and away from other predators like ants and spiders. They are essentially blind, and only know how to distinguish light and dark so being exposed to outside sources can be dangerous for them. They look for wood or cellulose with no distinct search pattern. The colony will branch out their search from the nest until they land on a acceptable food source.
Identification and Reproduction Habits
The queen of a Formosan termite colony can produce more than 1,000 eggs a day. Their colonies can grow to include up to 10 million termites. The size of their colonies means they can eat A LOT of wood. The swarmer termites in the colony are attracted to lights and swarm during periods of high humidity. They are about 1/25” and their body is a pale yellow brown. The soldiers have large mandibles. When they are disturbed or stressed the fontanelle emits a sticky latex substance, which can be used to trap ants.
The Formosan termite is one of the most aggressive and destructive pest in the United States. They commonly cause power failures because they chew through electrical cabling. Formosan termites are known for chewing through utility poles, trees, buildings and timber structures like ships and barges. Its estimated they cost over $1 billion in preventive treatments, remedial treatments and damage repair every year.
Pest Control Solutions
If you identify mud tunnels or wood in your home that looks wavy or ribbed on the surface you should have you home inspected by a professional. Because Formosan termites damage wood at a much faster rate than most species they should be treated as soon as possible. To prevent termite infestation you can try to reduce moisture in your home and eliminate any junction where wood touches soil.