Termites/Wood Destroying Insects » Formosan subterranean termites

Formosan subterranean termites


While all termites have long narrow bodies, they vary greatly in appearance depending on the termite’s role in the colony. Formosan subterranean workers are yellowish-brown and 1/8-inch long; alates, or “swarmers,” are about 1 inch long with pale white wings.


Originally from China, Formosan termites are the most voracious and aggressive of all termite species. They live in huge underground colonies and build elaborate mud nests inside the walls of buildings. In the U.S. they are found mainly in Hawaii, Florida and along the Gulf Coast, although they have been discovered in places such as San Diego, Memphis and Atlanta. Because Formosan termite colonies can contain several million members, they can damage buildings much faster than other termites. They are also more difficult to control, in part because they can establish secondary aerial nests with no connection to the ground.


Like other termite species, they feed on products containing cellulose. Unlike other wood-destroying insects, termites actually eat the wood.

Termite control: Formosan subterranean termites

Because of their aggressive nature, Formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure. Prevention is key. Eliminate wood contact with soil. Make sure at least four inches of foundation can be seen all around the home. Avoid water accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning gutters, downspouts and splash blocks. Fix all roof and plumbing leaks as soon as possible.

Options for controlling existing infestations include placing a pesticide barrier in the soil to prevent access to wood structures, above-ground bait stations, and fumigating the entire structure.

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