Formosan Subteranean Termite Research

The Formosan termite is a relatively recent immigrant to the United States; they have only been here for about forty years, coming over from China in the sixties. Formosan subterranean termites have been called "super termites" because they destroy wood much more quickly than native types.

They have larger colonies than most other kinds of termites - several million to the usual several hundred thousand. They are also the most aggressive wood eating termite in America. They can forage up to three hundred feet away from their nest and they have the capacity to eat nearly a pound of wood a day and in real terms that means major structural damage in less than three months. A Formosan subterranean termite colony has so far proved to be resistant to extermination, but preventative measures have worked well.

The Formosan subterranean termite is capable of infesting any type of wood from pylons to boats and even live trees. There is even a Formosan subterranean termite research unit because the threat from this termite is so great in certain areas. Education is better than cure because once a nest has been established it has never been fully eradicated. Which means if you are in an area under threat from the Formosan termite then preventative measures are the order of the day?

They are even more dangerous because they do not only ravage wood and live tress, but the subterranean Formosa termite also eats wood fiber. They have the capacity to attack crops as well especially sugar cane. They can eat cellulite which is a common component of paper. Modern research indicates that homeowners pay over a billion dollars a year treating their homes against Formosan subterranean termites. Whilst this is expensive it is no where near as expensive as losing your home. Fortunately the Formosan termite cannot hatch when the temperature drops below 70 degrees and that means that they are restricted to the Southern latitudes.

Control of these termites is not possible so the best method is taking preventative actions. One of the most effective is treating the soil so that it does not afford favorable conditions for them to nest. Poisoned bait is another popular method of control. Baits are often more effective than soil treatment on controlling Formosan subterranean termites, because the nests hold so many termites. The queen has a life span of approximately 15 years and is capable of producing up to 2,000 eggs per day, so the Formosan termite is not a welcome visitor.

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By Frank Reece. Page last modified Nov. 10, 2008.

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