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Termites (Formosan Termites)
Termites (Formosan Termites)

Termites (Formosan Termites)


  • Size: 1/2 inch.
  • Color: 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.

Formosan Termite Habits:

  • Formosan termites have been found in the Gulf Coast states, along the eastern seaboard north to North Carolina, as well as in Tennessee, California, and Hawaii.
  • They are subterranean termites which usually live in the ground, build mud tubes, and construct carton nests which consist of soil and wood cemented together with saliva and feces.
  • Swarms occur on warm and rainy days, around dusk, and continue into the evening.
  • Swarmers are attracted to light.
  • An average colony contains 350,000 individuals, but colonies which contain millions of individuals are not uncommon.
  • Their 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.

Damage From Formosan Termites:

  • This is the most destructive termite species to infest structures within the United States.
  • An average-sized colony consumes 14 linear feet of pine studs in one year.
  • Within three months they can cause extensive damage to wood in structures.

Look for:

  • Swarmers.
  • Carton nests.
  • Wood damage, i.e., the spring or soft wood is eaten out leaving paper-thin walls between the galleries.Formosan termite
  • Mud tubes.
  • Points of entry into the structure, moisture problems and other contributing factors.

How to Control and Kill Formosan Termites:

  • Any scrap wood, firewood, and any other wood materials 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 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 which 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.
  • Infested wood should be removed and replace it with treated wood; however, this usually does not stop the termites from continuing to gain access to wood within the structure.
  • A number of strategies are available to control Formosan termites that require the services of a pest control company. They include fumigation, spot-treatment, residual insecticides, and baiting.

Note: Treatment for Formosan termites should be performed only by licensed professional pest control operators.