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How To Control Formosan Termites

While subterranean termites are possibly the species of termite that is the biggest threat to the homeowner, there is a subspecies within subterranean termites that is particularly troublesome--the formosan termite. formosan termites are known as “super termites” and can cause a ridiculous amount of damage due to their overly aggressive behavior. formosan termite colonies can also grown to astronomical amounts, up to 10 million in a colony.

Believed to originally come from China and parts of Asia, formosan termites were introduced to the coastal regions of the United States after WWII due to the influx of immigrants coming into the country during that time. Much like subterranean termites, formosan termite have 3 forms of termite distinctions within it’s colony – workers, soldiers and alates (swarmers). The Formosan Termite alate is .5 -.6 inches long with a yellowish-brown body. The soldier formosan stands out due to its, which is the shape of a teardrop and orangish-brown in color.

This breed of termite prefers warmer climates and their population is concentrated mainly across southern parts of the United States including Alabama, Florida, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee. Large swarms of formosan termites creep up during the spring and summer months which are the times which it is advised for homeowners to be on high alert and to conduct control programs to prevent these termites from damaging property, which formosan termites are responsible for up to 2 billion dollars in damages annually.

If you discovered that you have formosan termites infesting your home, don’t sit idle. You must take action to put a stop to potentially expensive repairs as these termites are terribly destructive and can multiply quickly. At Solutions Pest and Lawn, we can help you with expert tips and by offering the best termite control products on the market to treat the infestation.


How To Get Rid of Formosan Termites: 4 Step Process

Termite control experts will likely advise you to seek the help of a professional when dealing with an infestation of formosan termites, but they can certainly cost you a pretty penny. If you are willing to take some time out of a day and won’t be bothered by a little sweat, you can successfully take care of an infestation yourself using the same high-quality products the professionals use, minus the expensive labor fees they charge. By following the simple guide we’ve mapped out for you below, you can successfully wipe out even the most fierce of formosan termite infestations and put an end to the destruction they are inflicting upon your home.

Formosan Termites

Step 1: Identification - The formosan termite colonizes in the ground but also above ground in structures.The swarmers (or alates) are winged. Once mature they leave the original colony and a responsible for producing new colonies. The body is tan and they are approximately one-quarter inch and have two pair of wings equal in length. If you see this stage of termite inside or outside your home it should be cause for concern since it is an indication that your home is possibly infested. Next there are the reproductives known as the king and queen that stay within the colony the full span of their lives. The next member is the soldier. They are approximately one-quarter inch long, their bodies or cream-colored, their head is teardrop shaped and an orange color. They have large mandibles that cross and are used to protect the colony from intruders. Finally, you have the workers that are cream colored, about an eighth of an inch long. The workers are responsible for damaging the structure by eating the wood to collect cellulose. The majority of termites consist of worker termites.

 

Formosan Termites, also known as the “Super Termite” does an enormous amount of damage because of their very aggressive behavior. Typically found in warm, coastal states, they can be found swarming and eating between dusk and 9:30 at night.  Their main active period of the year is usually between April and July.

 

inspection mud tubes

 

Step 2: Inspection - Next we are going to want to confirm whether or not you have termites and the best way to do this is via inspection. The signs to look out for are mud tubes, frass, wings and feces. Mud tubes are pencil sized tunnels the termites create to travel to and from your home to their nest. These mud tubes will be found around wooden structures, foundations or any other structural support. Swarmer wings found in your home is an indication of the swarmer termites being active in mating and creating a new colony within the home. Finding wings is a tell-tale sign that you have a heavy infestation.

 

When doing these inspections, be sure you equip yourself with a flashlight to check dark areas like basements or attics. You should also use a screwdriver or sharp ended object to probe termite galleries. Pay close attention to all wood construction, support posts and ceiling joists or areas where soil meets wood.

 


Step 3: Control -
No matter what type of foundation you have, control of formosan termites starts with a proven method of elimination, a termite trench. Dig a trench around your home 6 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Once that is complete we recommend using a termiticide such as
Taurus SC Termiticide to mix and pour into the dug trench. Use a poly sprayer when applying the Taurus SC termiticide to the trench. Once complete, backfill. This will create a chemical barrier that will keep termites from coming up from the exterior to access the wood of your home. Next, use a Red Eye Termite Monitoring Station. This can be installed around the home to control and prevent termites. Place these in areas conducive to termites. Place them anywhere from 8 to 10 feet apart and at least 5 feet away from the drip edge. Monitoring the Red Eye is simple. There is a clear view window on the top of the station with a painted red eye on a wooden dowel. As termites come up through the bottom of the station, they will begin to feed on the wood. The red eye then drops letting you know that there is termite activity. Take FiPro Foaming Aerosol and inject it into the station. The neat thing about this product is that its a foam so the longer you inject, the deeper it travels through the galleries in the ground, providing a direct kill.

 

Next, you can move your treatment indoors. Formosan termites not only nest in the ground but also above ground in the structure where there is adequate moisture. During the inspection it is best to identify the specific areas where these carton or nests are located. Formosan use dirt, feces and other materials to form their carton. These cartons can be identified by the discoloration of sheetrock or being soft and moist to the touch. Once this carton is found you're going to want to remove the carton and sheetrock and replace any damaged wood. Next, use Fipro Aerosol to apply in all of the termite galleries. You should also inject the foaming aerosol where there is termite activity such as voids, cracks and crevices found around doors, windows, fireplaces, where plumbing meets the wall and also in holes in the sheetrock which may lead to termite galleries.

 

Preventing Formosan Termites

 

Step 4: Prevention - To prevent termites from accessing your home in the future, we suggest using Reclaim IT Insecticide as a preventative barrier treatment. Reclaim IT is a repellant and will provide many years of protection against termites. Use Reclaim and perform the trench barrier treatment which was explained in step 3. You can also use Red Eye monitoring stations and place them around the home to monitor for termite activity. Other preventative measures you can take is to reduce moisture around the house. Fix all leaky roofs and windows or plumbing issues to keep your home and yard nice and dry.

 

Shop our formosan termite control products on this page. For more information, call us at 800-479-6583, email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or live chat with us on our website for free expert help.

 

Formosan Termites: A Growing Threat

The Formosan termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is one of the most feared and dreaded infestations in the eyes of every homeowner, especially the residents of Hawaii and the southern United States. As per the report by the Department of Agriculture on Formosan Termites, they are easily ranked among one of the most destructive pests in the United States. Each year over $1 billion is spent in the U.S. for preventative and remedial treatment and to repair damage caused by Formosan termites.

Despite the constant, convincing and persistent myths to the contrary, Formosan termites can’t chew through concrete and aren’t able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. And even if they could they would not be able to go for anything more at this stage. And so, they’re usually referred to as “super-termites” because they’re a lot more aggressive compared to their other subterranean counterparts. They are also able to build multiple nests above the ground, and form an extremely large colony which differentiates them primarily from their subterranean counterparts.

Distribution

Formosan termites were originally from the villages in China and eventually managed to  migrate to North America on a variety of military transports returning from World War II which were not even sure of their little pest stowaways.

Formosan termites are rarely found further north than 35° N latitude because their eggs can’t hatch below 68°F.

 

Prevention

The best way to prevent an infestation of Formosan termites is to make your home uninviting by cutting off their access to food and water. To accomplish this goal:

  • Remove the food source which in this case would be the wooden goods.

  • Ensure that no piece of wood or furniture would be touching the floor as this is where the termites can get a feel for it.

  • Use pressure-treated wood for near ground level maintenance as the treatment would make it possible for the wood to repel the termites because of the curing..

  • Anchor all your wooden posts for fences, decks, porches, and sheds in cement. This would ensure the first contact after the ground would be cement for the termites thereby making sure the termites do not start the attack on that front as soon as they walk out of their subterranean lair.

  • Keep plants and landscaping materials at least a foot away from buildings.

  • Avoid using wood chips for mulch close to the house.

  • Install and maintain rain gutters to direct water away from the walls and roof of the house.

  • Add downspout extenders to deliver runoff at least a foot away from the foundation.

  • Repair leaks in outdoor faucets, indoor fixtures, water lines, drains, and appliances immediately.


Detection

Early detection leads to early treatment, which is critical and ideal for all homeowners before things get serious. Entomologists at the University of Hawaii have found that a colony of Formosan termites can do significant structural damage in as little as six months. And this is mainly because this is being done in the summer which in Hawaii and other nearby places is pretty warm.

If you live in or near affected areas, inspect your home and property at least once a year for the following signs:

  • Shelter Tubes: Formosan termites don’t like to be exposed, so they build shelter tubes to travel between their nest and sources of food and water. Check the foundation, as well as any wood near the ground, for signs of tubes.

  • Water Source: Examine areas surrounding outside faucets and water lines. Inside, inspect areas where moisture is found, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

  • Damage: Look for pinholes in drywall and evidence of damage to wood in any location, even the tack strips under carpeting.

  • Nests: Formosan termites build large nests made of a rock-like mass. Most of these nests are built below ground, but not all nests have contact with soil. Probe any suspect areas with an awl or screwdriver, and check any wood that feels soft or hollow. Look for bulges or depressions, discolorations, and spongy wood. Check cracks in stucco or plaster, and knots in trees.

 

Identification

Should you discover an active colony of termites, try to gather several different looking specimens from the nest, since some members of the colony are easier to identify than others. This would not only help you identify the type but also figure out contingencies as well as figure out the active colony population at least by an estimate.

Another approach is to collect them and burn them when they swarm and feast, which takes place at night from April through July, other than that it would be smarter to directly take down the queen and the drones. Like most insects, Formosan termites are attracted to light. Put any suspect insects you find in small bottles filled with rubbing alcohol and take them to a trusted exterminator, county extension office, or university entomology department for identification this can even result in a discovery about the insect or an entirely new specie in itself.


Extermination

If the samples you collect are identified as Formosan termites, it’s time to move into control. While you may be told that extermination is best left to professionals, that’s not necessarily the case. If you are armed with the right knowledge and techniques as well as the effective products to use as well as the ways to properly use those products, there won’t be a need for expensive extermination services.

Solutions Pest & Lawn has all the products you need for Formosan termite control and expert how-to advice and tutorials on our website in the form of guides, articles and videos. Check out our section on Formosan termites for helpful tips & advice and also see the best product recommendations for treatment. Click to learn more and get started shopping!


Browse our formosan termite control products on this page For more information, we have guides in our knowledge base with more detailed treatment steps for termites. You can also call us, email us or live chat with us on our website for free expert help. We are always standing by and eager to assist you.

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