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Signs of Formosan Termites

Updated on: July 14, 2022

Termites are one of the most notorious pests in your home or establishment as they may cause serious destruction to its structural integrity. But not many know the variations of termite species and how they behave. One of these types is the Formosan subterranean termite – they have some differences compared to the common termites feasting on your drywood. You should know the signs of Formosan termites for immediate intervention.

So what are the signs of Formosan termites? Some signs of having Formosan subterranean termites in your home are the presence of these termites, mud tube, termite damage, hollow-sounding wood, stuck doors or windows, galleries on wood, and termite swarmers. You should also be able to tell Formosan subterranean termites apart from other species with their appearance.

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Identifying a Formosan Termite

There are other types of termites and termite colonies that property owners should know about, so they would have an idea about the right termite treatment they need. Once you sense termite activity, you should immediately seek a termite control expert. These pests are said to cause around $5 billion worth of damage to properties yearly – $30 billion if you include the damages to crops and other properties.

A Formosan subterranean termite is one of the eastern subterranean termite species, also called "super termite," due to its destructive habits and large colonies. It might look similar to other termites, but a Formosan termite still has stark differences.

Formosan termite soldiers are creamy-white to brown, sometimes passing as orange-brown, about 1/2 inch or 12 to 15 mm long, and have 6 legs. They're also oval with longer and more narrow bodies. A Formosan termite soldier has mandibles without teeth and oblong-shaped heads.

The alates or termite swarmers are about 14 to 15 mm long, with pale yellow to brownish-yellow color. Their termite wings are translucent with small hairs. They are the flying termites you see swarming your porch lights usually every summer or spring, looking for mates to start new colonies.

How to Spot a Formosan Termite Infestation

Knowing the signs of Formosan termite activity and catching them early on allows you to prevent a larger termite infestation and more expensive termite treatment procedures. It also avoids serious damage to structural wood foundations in your structure. Because of these, property owners must be vigilant about the presence of a Formosan termite colony in their structure.

Some signs of Formosan subterranean termites in your structure are the presence of a Formosan or winged termite, mud tube or shelter tube on a wooden structure, termite damage, hollow-sounding wood, stuck windows or doors, and wood galleries. You should also look into investing in reliable termite inspection services to keep your structural wood and property protected.

Presence of Formosan Termites

One of the signs of having a Formosan subterranean termite colony in your structure is the presence of the termites. You may find these pests on any structural wood you have that comes into contact with soil. Once you find them, you might want to act quickly because a Formosan termite colony can multiply into many nests with millions of members.

Mud Tube on Wooden Structure

Eastern subterranean termites, including Formosan termites, build mud tubes or shelter tubes. If you find odd strips of soil on interior and exterior walls leading to entry points in your structure, this might be a sign of termite activity. These pests build shelter tubes out of dirt, mud, frass, and debris for them to stealthily transport to their food source.

Termite Damage

Spotting damaged wood is also one of the most common signs of a Formosan termite infestation. You might see parts of your wooden structure with holes or maze-looking patterns. It might also look swollen with a scent similar to mildew or mold.

In a severe Formosan termite infestation, the termites create a nest in wall voids and hollow spaces. They mix this up with macerated wood, soil, excrement, and saliva. They usually build this near a feeding site.

Hollow-Sounding Wood

You may also try knocking on your wooden structures – if they sound hollow or papery, a Formosan termite colony might already eat them away. Termites feed on wood from the inside, so they might leave a thin layer of paint or timber. The hollow sound is because the termite colony is already infesting the wood from the inside.

Stuck Windows or Doors

Property owners wouldn't usually leave windows and doors without a perfect fit upon construction. That's why when these seem stuck all of a sudden, there's a chance an eastern subterranean termite colony is eating them away. The wood starts to swell due to mud that termites create to trap moisture and heat in their nest -- this makes it hard for your door or window to close.

How to Get Rid of Termites

Once you've spotted the signs of an eastern subterranean termite infestation, you must act quickly before the termite problem becomes severe and you’re left with costly damages. Some of the steps you can take to address your Formosan termite infestation are:

  • Installing termite bait - install termite bait at the perimeter of your home to attract foraging termites. Its slow-acting effect allows termites to bring the insecticide to termite colonies and eliminate other termites.
  • Applying termiticide barriers - apply termiticide on your home's perimeter. Termites will consume it as a non-repellent insecticide and bring the poison to their termite colony.
  • Applying direct chemicals - direct chemicals offer an immediate effect. Pour it in the crevices of your home or where you suspect termite activity. It expands into a foam and leaves a residue that eliminates termites upon contact.
  • Using nematodes - beneficial nematodes or microscopic roundworms are also recommended natural pesticides for your garden. These worms look for a host and burrow in it. They release bacteria that are lethal to termites.
  • Seeking a reliable pest control service - to ensure your structure's protection against termite infestation, seek a trusted professional for termite treatment. This prevents the termite problem from worsening and offers reliable maintenance against these wood-destroying pests.

Those are only some ways to eliminate termites from your home or property. Aside from these steps, it also goes a long way to do the necessary steps to prevent termites from invading your home. Some of these involve fixing leaky pipes, eliminating moisture and damaged wood, and keeping your space clean and tidy.

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A Formosan subterranean termite isn't called a super termite for nothing – they may expand into a larger infestation with multiple colonies, causing serious damage to your wooden structures. Termite treatment for severe infestations may cost you a hefty price on top of the needed repairs you need to cover. You should invest in a reliable pest control expert that can conduct a regular termite inspection and reliable termite treatment on your structure.

These services keep your home or structure protected from wood-destroying pests, like the Formosan subterranean pest. PermaKill Exterminating offers integrated pest management treatment solutions dedicated to keeping your home and establishment pest-free. Learn more about our Home Protection Plan and other services by filling out a form on our website or leaving us a call.

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