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  Termite ControlFormosan Termites    March 17, 2018

The Formosan termite is a subterranean termite that has made a long trip to get to the United States. It is native to southern China. From there it was transported to Formosa, Taiwan - thus the name Formosan termite. From there it was transported to Japan, South Africa, Hawaii, and finally to the continental United States.

It is called the "Super Termite" because it is very destructive and lives in colonies that can contain several million termites. To put that into perspective, most other subterranean termite species only have several hundred thousand in a colony. They can tunnel up to 300 feet into the soil and can consume 13 ounces of wood per day. That can cause extreme damage to a structure in as little as three months. On top of all these characteristics that give this termite its nickname, once a colony is well-established in an area, there is no getting rid of them; they put up permanent residence.

The Formosan termite is not a picky eater. Colonies will infest boats, condominiums, houses, trees, and anything containing wood fiber, even some plants. After treatment and insurance repairs, the damage this little insect causes can be very costly.

They are rarely found above the 35 degree north latitude because the eggs will not hatch in an environment below 68 F. They have been located in 11 southern states from California to North Carolina. So the northern states can breathe easy about an infestation, at least from the Formosan termite.

Termites live in what is called a caste system, which is a social order in which individuals are born into a specific role. Termite's caste system consists of: a king, a queen, workers, soldiers, and reproductives. The workers are responsible for providing food for the colony, the soldiers are responsible for defending the colony, the reproductives -the only ones with wings- are responsible for breeding the colony. The queen can live up to 15 years and can produce up to 2000 eggs per day.

To form a new colony a reproductive, or alate, will leave the current colony and fly to another location. The male follows and when a suitable location is found, the alate sheds her wings and the pair will then burrow down and build the royal chamber. Soon they begin to lay eggs to start the new colony. It can take up to five years for the colony to be large enough to cause substantial damage and to produce alates.

For such a tiny little creature, the Formosan termite is formidable indeed. As a colony they can destroy quickly, send out many alates to start new colonies in the area, and eat anything that contains cellulose. It really is no wonder that the Formosan termite is called the "Super Termite".

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