New ‘super termite’ moving in

Florida’s list of non-native bugs causing problems continues to grow, including one nicknamed the “super termite,” also known as the Formosan subterranean termite.

So far the termite hasn’t hit St. Johns County, but it has arrived in Putnam and Duval counties.

“They were first discovered (in the U.S.) in South Florida near Hallandale and then they were discovered in the Panhandle around Fort Walton. From there they’ve just moved in,” said Bruce McCowan, an entomologist with Florida Pest Control in Gainesville.

The Hallandale discovery was made in 1980. University of Florida researchers estimate the termites were actually there five to 10 years earlier.

The Formosan termite has been found in areas around the state in Ocala in Marion County and Leon County and well as Putnam and Duval counties.

The good news about the termite is that “they don’t seem to travel very well. It’s unfortunate if you’ve got them. It’s fortunate they don’t spread very well,” McCowan said.

The Formosan subterranean termite is actually a native of Southern China that was transported to Formosa, Taiwan, where it picked up its name. From there it went to Japan prior to the 1600s. It has slowly spread since, with the first colonies in the U.S. found in the 1960s in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina.

The South is likely to remain the major target of the Formosan termites since they prefer warmer climates and their eggs don’t hatch at temperatures below 68 degrees.

McCowan said the Formosan termite is “very similar in habits” to native subterranean termites that plague Florida. While their appetites are about the same what’s different is the size of the termite colonies. A subterranean colony can have up to 500,000 termites. The Formosa termite colony can have several million termites.

“There’s that many more mouths in the same amount of space. They really do damage, it’s just the sheer number that do the damage,” he said.

Treatments are available.

“It’s something you don’t want to try yourself. As professionals we do have the ability to control them for you,” he said.

Tenting is rarely needed, he said, noting that’s for dry wood termites, a different breed. Soil treatments are the most common means for controlling the Formosa termites.

“The peculiar thing about Formosa termites is that once they get above ground, if they find moisture from a roof leak or a leaking pipe, they can survive even a soil treatment,” said McCowan.

About Formosan termites

* Sometimes referred to as the “Super Termite”

* Resemble the native subterranean species.

* Colonies can have several million termites

* Found in structures including boats and high-rise condominiums.

* Most aggressive and destructive timber pests in the U.S.

* Also attack non-cellulose materials including plaster and asphalt looking for food and moisture.

* As of 2010, found in Alabama, California (an isolated infestation in San Diego County), Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Source: www.floridabugs.com and http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/termites/formosan_termite.htm

Read More: http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2011-02-22/new-super-termite-moving

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2 Responses to “New ‘super termite’ moving in”

  1. Tweets that mention New ‘super termite’ moving in « Al Hoffer's South Florida Pest Blog -- Topsy.com Says:

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  2. Palm Beach County Lawn Care Pest & Termite Control | Green Pest & Termite Control Solutions Says:

    […] New ‘super termite’ moving in […]

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