Though it’s not native to North Carolina or even to the U.S., our state is now home to a termite so destructive and problematic, it’s been dubbed the “super termite.” The Formosan subterranean termite (FST), formally Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, is thought to have been brought to our part of the U.S. from ships entering Atlantic ports. It’s now causing anguish to homeowners across Rutherford County.
Formosan subterranean termites
The Formosan subterranean termite is called the “super termite” because it can grow the size of its colony much faster than native termites. With a queen that can live for 15 years, laying 2,000 eggs a day, and worker and soldier termites that can live 3-5 years, the average FST colony can house 1 million termites in a colony spanning 300 feet! And these ravenous bugs will consume a lot of wood to keep the colony going.
What do they eat and destroy?
These destructive termites will eat almost anything that contains cellulose, meaning they’ll attack the wood in buildings and structures, paper products, trees and crops. Hungry and determined, they can gnaw through plastic, plaster and even asphalt to get at the wood they need for food. One Formosan subterranean termite does not eat more than native termites, but because their colonies are so big, they collectively are more destructive.
How do I recognize Formosan termites?
FST are dark, yellowish brown in color. The soldiers have oval shaped heads, which sets them apart from native termites, which have rectangular heads, paired with dark, curving mandibles. In North Carolina, they swarm usually in April through June (learn more about termite swarming season).
In an infested house, FST will create soil tubes of .25-.5 inches in diameter, which often look like thin, crooked branches sneaking up a wall. If your walls are truly damaged, they’ll start to look like they have blisters or are peeling, as the center hollows out.
Do you need help with termites?
If you need help identifying Formosan subterranean termites, assessing damage, or ensuring that your home will not be damaged, contact the termite control specialists at Thompson Brothers Exterminating. We are experienced, trained professionals for finding, eliminating and treating termites in North Carolina. Call 828.245.2669 today.
Unfortunately, the Formosan subterranean termite also lives in South Carolina. Fortunately, Thomspon Brothers also services Upstate S.C. Call us locally at 864.578.8822.
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