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What to Expect From Formosan Subterranean Termite Damage

Updated on: May 25, 2022

A termite infestation is a bad news for any property - but especially Formosan termites, which can quickly chew their way through any structure. As a subterranean termite species, they're not the easiest to reach with most conventional methods of insect removal, and in many cases, you may already be dealing with a mature colony by the time you can act. As one of the most destructive termite species, you can expect significant damage if you have an active termite infestation on your hands.

So what can you expect from Formosan subterranean termite damage? Given the large termite populations, this particular species can cause significant damage in a very short amount of time. Remedial treatment is not enough - you need to quickly treat the infested structure before it spreads to any nearby structures that can provide them with food and shelter.


What Damage Can Formosan Termites Inflict On My Property?

Formosan termites can cause significant structural damage, but they can also inflict severe damage to any wooden structures around the area. They don't have to be structures - any wood like oak trees and other cellulose-rich materials can all create ideal conditions for Formosan termites to nest.

Since these are also subterranean insects, an uncontrolled infestation can damage important structural parts of your home, like foundations and exterior walls. They can inflict even more damage if they have access to water since it's one of their primary needs for creating their huge colonies.

The Formosan termite feeds on any cellulose-rich material in the vicinity, so any wood or paper products that you may have are automatically at risk. With a large enough infestation, they can also chew through other related materials like rubber, plastic, and even some soft metal like copper sheeting.

Even if they're considered a subterranean species, Formosan termites can also create their carton nests above ground - most notably in some wood structures close to sources of moisture like your gutter. Known as an aerial nest, these structures are a good indication that you're dealing with a large colony.

Overall, the damage that Formosan termites can inflict on your property can be quite considerable, and you may need to tear out, replace, and repair huge patches of your home if you leave one unattended. That's why it's crucial to start termite treatment as soon as you see signs of their activity.

What Signs Should I Look For With Formosan Termite Infestation?

As a subterranean species, the damage that Formosan termites can leave might not be noticeable immediately - and traces of their activity are even more difficult to find. This is why most pest control experts recommend that you have a yearly inspection for any termite activity to make sure that initial infestations can be caught quickly.

Here are some signs to watch out for that signal a possible Formosan termite infestation:

1. Damaged Wood

One sign to look out for is cracks, discolorations, or weakened wood around the house. Check for areas that have access or are exposed to moisture and are away from light, since they make the ideal conditions for Formosan termites to spawn.

In many cases, these termites will often nest within crawl spaces or other places that have a rich amount of wood and fiber for them to chew on. Because they're greedy eaters, you'll most likely see the signs of their activity long before you see an actual termite.

2. Swarmers

Formosan termite reproductives often come out around the spring and summer months to mate, fluttering around light sources and looking for partners. Once they reach critical mass, they spread to nearby buildings and other sources of food and shelter to start colonies of their own.

Swarmers are easy to spot - they're large masses of winged termites, and they're usually located around a bright light source like your porch light. The bigger the swarm, the larger the colony where it came from.

3. Mud Shelter Tubes

If you find tubes of soil protruding from the damp ground around your area, you've most likely found active tubes for Formosan termites. They're usually located around the side of your foundations and are the main access point that termites use to get inside your property.

In some cases, these tubes can lead you right to the nest of the colony, allowing you an easy way to deliver termiticide or other poisons. Be careful with breaking these tubes - they often contain termite swarmers just waiting to get out.

Different Control Methods for Dealing With Formosan Termites

So what do you do once you find a colony that’s damaging your home? Aside from calling professionals, here are a few things you can try:

1. Wood and Soil Treatment

If you're looking to thin the numbers of an active infestation while also preventing any further severe damage, you can try treating the wood and soil around nearby areas to slow down the spread of the colony. Since this is a species that feeds on wood and makes its home in the ground, this control method can work to limit their growth.

Keep in mind that this method has limited efficacy if your active infestation is large enough to create aerial nests, which can bypass this treatment entirely. It can still slow down the growth of your colony, but you'll likely not have enough to treat all the building materials this species uses to build their homes.

2. Termiticide Exclusion

If you're fairly confident that your infestation is only located belowground and hasn't entered your property yet, termiticide exclusion can work for you. This is particularly handy if you're found an isolated infestation - usually located in a dead tree or similarly damaged wood outdoors - since they can force the termite swarms to stay away from your home, where they can feed better on more material.

However, this approach won't work during the seasons when the termites swarm, since they can bypass your chemical barrier and form initial infestations elsewhere. Ideally, this control method should only be used to give you more time to deal with the initial colony quickly and decisively.

3. Baiting Systems

If you're dealing with a large Formosan termite infestation, you can try baiting stations and other baiting systems to deal significant damage to their numbers. Since Formosan termites are voracious eaters, using bait can be a great way to put a dent into their numbers, especially if you use a delayed-action bait so more termites can be affected.

You just need to keep up the baits for a while to make sure that you get as many termites as possible. Consistent baiting should be enough to drastically thin a colony's numbers - enough to make sure that other control methods or pest professionals can get the job done.

When Should I Call Professionals?

The individual homeowner might be rightly worried about any severe damage to their home because of termites - but most of the time they also need to balance that with the potential costs for termite removal. But for a devastating termite species like the Formosan termite, when should you call in professionals?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself about contacting a pest control operator:

  • Have I noticed extensive wood damage on my property?
  • Are there aerial nests or aerial colonies around my area?
  • Am I getting huge swarms of termites even in the off-season?
  • Is my place surrounded by cellulose-based materials like oak trees?
  • Has it been a while since I got my place last checked for termites?
  • Has a termite infestation in the neighborhood been recently discovered?
  • Am I seeing signs that termite colonies have been established in the area?

If your answers to these questions are yes, you should contact professional pest control to check your property.

Control Formosan Termites and Other Subterranean Termites and Pests With Permakill Exterminating

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Formosan termites can do significant damage to any structure if left unattended, so you should start treatments as soon as possible to prevent any damage to your property. Pay close attention to wood structures in the area, like trees and other similar materials that Formosan termites can nest and use as food sources. If an infestation becomes too big for you, call in pest management professionals to help.

Homeowners have long trusted Permakill Exterminating to help them with termites, ants, and other insects that infest their homes. We believe in thorough pest extermination with a variety of methods, with quick identification and treatments of any infestation. Whether it's a single colony or exclusion methods to prevent any further termite attacks, we're the professionals to call.

Contact us today to get a free estimate on any pest removal you might need.


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