Pest Identification

Formosan Swarm

FORMOSAN TERMITES

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Coptotermes formosanus

Appearance

Formosan termites are caramel to brownish-yellow in color.  The Formosan swarmers will have wings, and can be up to 1/2 inch in length.  Also known as a subterranean termite, the Formosan termite is found in states across the southern U.S., including Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee. However, they have been found sporadically throughout the United States and even into Canada.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Formosan termites nest in the soil which is why they are known as subterranean.  Although considered "subterranean" (underground, hidden) in habit, the members of the genus "Coptotermes" regularly construct aerial nests within the structures that they infest.  The possibility of both of a subterranean nest close to the infested structure and an aerial within the structure can greatly increase the damage potential of these termites.  Any wood from your connecting to soil around your home creates a perfect entry point for these wood destroying insects. They also make tubes out of mud so they can tunnel through from the soil into your home. Formosan termites create nests designed to retain moisture. This can allow them to build nests outside of their native soil environments. Like all termites, they feast on cellulose material such as wood.

Reproduction

Each termite colony has a queen that can produce more than 1,000 eggs per day. At certain times during the reproductive cycles, Formosans create new colonies by releasing winged males and females from the colony to swarm.  As they swarm, they mate and form new colonies.

Signs of Formosan Termite Infestation

As disturbing as the termite swarms can be, they offer a great opportunity to determine if there is a Formosan termite colony inside your home.  Although Formosan Swarmers resemble winged ants, they have several distinct differences. They have straight antennas and equal-length front and hind wings and a straight waistline. Another way to determine if your home or property has been invaded is to look for signs of damage.  Sagging wood or walls along with telltale tunnels made out of soil that rise up along the side of your foundation can be indicators that your home has already been infested.