Formosan Termites and Eastern Subterranean Termites
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Formosan Subterranean Termites. Formosan termites are one of several termite species that threaten homes and other structures in Hawaii and the southern half of the continental United States.
Originally from mainland China, Formosans have been established in the continental U.S. for only about 50 years. Unfortunately, they are more vigorous and aggressive and successful than native termites. In fact, the Formosan termite has been called the "Super" termite because of its large colonies and its ability to consume vast amounts of wood in a relatively short time.
A mature colony of Formosan termites can number in the millions and consume as much as 13 ounces of wood per day. As a result, Formosans can severely damage a structure in as little as three months. Formosan termites are most visible during their annual mating flight. However, they actually cause more damage after the swarm is over. For this reason, it's extremely important to start a control program as soon as you find out that you have Formosan termites on your property.
Some quick facts about Formosan termites:
- Formosan colonies are big. While native subterranean termite colonies might support an average of 300,000 workers, for example, Formosan colonies can average millions of workers - all of them foraging for food (wood).
- A typical colony of Formosan termites could forage an area more than one acre in diameter.
- As Formosans infest a structure, they use soil and wood cemented together with saliva and feces to build hard nests called cartons within walls. Large cartons can actually cause walls to bulge. These nests house thousands of termites as well as hold moisture. Once established, Formosans can live indefinitely without soil contact.
- Formosan termites can also infest and destroy otherwise healthy trees.
- Swarmers are larger than native species, and they swarm in the evening and later in the year (May-June).
- Soldiers comprise about 10% of the colony.
- Formosans will even attack and destroy non-wood materials. They have been known to chew through plaster, plastics, asphalt, and even thin sheets of soft metals like lead and copper.
- Queens can produce 1,000 eggs a day.
Eastern Subterranean Termites. The Eastern Subterranean termite is the most common and most widely distributed termite in North America. It is a problem for home owners from southern Ontario in Canada, south throughout the Eastern United States and as far west as Montana.
This native American pest feeds on such cellulose materials as structural wood, wood fixtures, paper, books, and cotton. Occasionally, it will even attack the roots of shrubs and trees.
A mature colony of Eastern Subterranean termites can range from a low of 20,000 to a high of 5 million workers, with an average of 300,000. The colony's queen will add 5,000 to 10,000 eggs per year to the total.
While Eastern Sub termite colonies are not the largest termite colonies you can find, there will often be more than one of them working in a single building. Signs of Easterns include dirt-colored tubes built to serve as protected paths from the earth to the wood the termites are feeding on, and the translucent wings shed by the kings and queens during swarming. Swarming usually occurs in the spring, but other, smaller swarms can occur throughout the summer and fall.
Some quick facts about Eastern Subterranean termites:
- An average Eastern Sub termite colony can consume 5 grams of wood per day, the equivalent of 2 1/3 linear feet of a 2'x4' pine board annually.
- Colony growth is slow, and it may take years before swarmers are produced.
- Eastern Sub termites can enter buildings through cracks less than 1/16" wide.
- The termite colony is made up of different types (castes) of termites - each with separate work responsibilities.
- Although Eastern Sub termite colonies are largely located in the ground below the frost line, secondary colonies can exist above ground, and examples of true above ground colonies existing without any ground contact have been seen. However, such above ground colonies have access to moisture and often the source is a roof or plumbing leak.
- Eastern Suberranean termites will often build mud tubes for travel between their colonies and their food sources.
- The king and queen in a colony can live for 10 to 30 years, while workers live for about two years.
What can you do to exterminate termites? Carolina Exterminating will devise a plan to assist you in termite extermination along with helpful tips.
Article courtesy of Spectrum Pest Management