What to Know About Formosan Termites in Central Florida
Formosan termites (Coptotermes Formosanus) are a species commonly found in Central Florida, Hawaii, and other parts of the US with warm climates. They are also known as introduced subterranean termites deriving from East Asia.
#1. Size & Overall Appearance
Formosan termites are around ½ inch long and have a narrow, oval shape. They are quite similar to other subterranean termite species (e.g. Asian and Eastern sub-types), so it is best to contact a professional formosan termite treatment expert to help with proper identification.
#2. Color & Distinctive Features
Generally, they are creamy white to brown, with the swarmers (alates) having translucent wings, densely covered with small hairs. Another distinctive feature of this species is the soldiers’ heads are tapered toward the front and rounded on the sides, unlike indigenous subterranean termites which have rectangular heads.
#3. Behavior, Diet, Habits
Formosan termites are fierce which means they will defend their territories. They love to snack on anything that contains wood fiber and cellulose, including crops, plants, and paper. They can also chew through thin lead and copper sheets, asphalt, plaster, and foam insulation boards.
When do formosan termites swarm in Florida?
Like other species of termites, their peak reproduction period is in late spring and early summer. They can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time, as the queen can lay up to 1,000 eggs in one day.
Signs of Infestation
- Damaged Wood – if you see wood that has been eaten away along the grain pattern and is hollow when you knock on it, that is a sure sign of infestation.
- Swarmers – one of the biggest red flags signaling your home is infested by formosan termites are swarmers, a.k.a. winged reproductives. They are attracted to light, so it is important not to invite them in by leaving your lights on
- Piles of Wings – after they reproduce, these insects discard their wings near vents, lights, doors, and windowsills.