Formosan Termites: Signs, Damage, Control, & Treatment Cost

Formosan subterranean termites are considered the most economically devastating and aggressive species of termite, especially in the United States.

Similar to other types of subterranean species, Formosan termites also feed on stuff that is cellulose based. Moreover, due to their big colony, these termites usually invade large amounts of wood more rapidly. For that reason, Formosan termites are dubbed as “super termites”.

Nonetheless, they aren’t dangerous to human, but they’re extremely dangerous to your home’s structure and other buildings.

What Do Formosan Termites Look Like?

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formosan termite picture

Like other species of termites, these species of termites are categorized in three castes: swarmers or winged reproductives, workers, and soldiers.

  • Soldiers

Soldiers have a big orangish-brown elongated-shaped head and are off-white in color. These termites also have a curved jawbone which they can utilize to protect their colony and themselves.

  • Swarmers or Winged Reproductive

Swarmers or winged reproductive are 12mm to 15mm or about ½” in length and yellowish-brown. Moreover, they have transparent wings which are concealed with small hairs.

  • Workers

The Formosan termite workers, on the other hand, look much like the workers of other termite species. Meaning to say, they are about ¼” or less in length and are cream or white.

Signs of Formosan Termites Infestation

  • Shelter Tubes

Formosan subterranean termites tend to build shelter tubes, which are made of soil develop from the soil up to the foundation’s side. Thus, if you see mud tubes around your home, meaning Formosan termite infestation is present in your property.

  • Nests

Often, these termites made aerial nests that are made of fecal, saliva, soil, and chewed wood materials. The nests can be located in above ground level or in the soil, and they are big in size.

  • Damaged Wood

Upon early inspection, damaged wood isn’t apparent, but it’s one of the most common signs that there is infestation in your property.

  • Swarmers

Swarming termites near your indoor fixtures or window sill is a common indication of infestation. The existence of termite swarms shows that there’s a colony nearby or striking a neighboring tree.

Formosan Termite Damage

Formosans perform all their damage inside wooden materials. As a result, spotting a termite infestation in early stages can be very hard.

formosan termite damage

Image credit: architecture.tulane.edu

For instance, a Formosan damaged wood looks perfectly fine in the outside, but its interior is hiding a lot of issues. Possibly, it’s filled with tunnels or almost entirely hollow.

Formosan termite damage may reduce the wood’s structural integrity. And if the damage is left untreated, your property may become unlivable. Most importantly, the treatment cost can be very expensive.

What Do They Eat?

Formosan termites, generally eat fabrics as well as wood that is made from plants. However, when these termites eat trees that are already dead, they are actually helping the environment and create spaces for fresh/new plant life.

Where Do They Live?

  • In-House/Yard/Ground

Formosans tend to live in big underground colonies and even in buildings and boats. They are also building a nest in the walls of your property. On the other hand, they attack structures directly from the soil over the wood to ground contact. Or using mud tubes, they made using soil as their material.

  • In the United States

In the US, they’re commonly living in:

  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • Louisiana
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Alabama

Also, you can find them in California, Texas, Hawaii, and Arizona.

Habits of Formosan Termites

  • Colony Size

Formosans have an average colony size of 10 million. The biggest colony of Formosans was discovered in Algiers, Louisiana. Nevertheless, the termite colony overdid seventy million termites and weighed about 600lbs.

  • Aggressiveness

Compared to other termites, Formosan termites are more aggressive. They can eat 1000lbs of wood every year. Also, they will go over electric power lines, PVC pipe, mortar, and even thin sheets of metal just to get to cellulosic or wood material.

  • Adaptability

Formosans are extremely adaptable, and they are not ground-reliant for humidity. Moreover, they can survivor off water reduction even at roof space levels.

How Did I Get Them?

Formosans tend to get into your properties over the crevices as well as cracks found in the exterior and foundation. Since they are fascinated to moisture, Formosan termites are found invading some areas of your home that are rich in moisture such as under the sinks, crawl spaces, attics, laundry rooms, and basements.

Formosan Termites Treatment Cost

The treatment cost for the damages made by Formosans depends on the company and treatment you choose.

  • Chemical Treatments – it will range from $1300-$1500.
  • Bait Systems – it will range from $800-$3200
  • Termite Fumigation – $1300-$3500 (it’s the costliest treatment)
  • Micro Treatments – around $1150
  • Heat Extermination – $1300-$2500

The foundation and size of your property, as well as the severity of the infestation also affect the treatment cost.

How to Get Rid of Formosan Termites

  • Fumigation

In this method, your whole property will be covered with a cover that looks like a tent. If you opt for fumigation, you need to leave your house for a couple of days.

Nevertheless, fumigation is perfect for killing aboveground Formosan termites. Also, it’s very effective in eliminating the infestation, but it provides no long-term safeguard after the extermination.

  • Bait Methods

Another common method that you can use to get rid of Formosan termites. Here, you’ll need to make a tamper-resistant bait. Then palace around the infested areas like walls, floors, and patches of the soil around your home.

Furthermore, it’s a popular method, because if fumigation fails, bait methods offer another chance to eliminate these destructive termites.

Tips for Formosan Termite Control

  1. Trim trees and foliage found on your property
  2. Keep wooden structures mulch fresh
  3. Make sure to eliminate and moisture levels in your home’s foundation and other areas that have high levels of moisture.

Prevention of Formosan Termites

  1. Reduce moisture levels in your home using an air conditioner or dehumidifiers.
  2. Make sure that your gutters aren’t clogged and working properly
  3. Seal crevices and crack as soon as you found them in exterior walls or home’s foundation.
  4. Replace or remove wood that has been damaged by water
  5. Conduct a termite inspection annually

Conclusion

Formosan termites are extremely dangerous and damaging species of subterranean termites. That is why having enough background about them is very important so that you’ll not end up spending thousands of dollars for the damage they cause. Also, if you notice some signs of infestation, make sure to treat it as soon as possible.

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