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Formosan Termite Facts

  • Scientific NameCoptotermes formosanus
  • Size: Formosan termite colonies consist of one queen and one king, with multiple generations of workers, soldiers and reproductives, that all measure around 1/8 to 1/4 inch in length.
  • Color and Appearance: Wingless Formosan workers are cream-colored. Formosan soldiers have elongated brown heads, brownish-yellow undersides and strong jaws. Primary reproductives have wings and range from brown to black in color, while supplementary Formosan reproductives are lighter in color.

Formosan Termite Behavior

Thought to have been introduced in port cities throughout the Southeastern US from Chinese and southern Asian cargo ships in the 1960s, Formosan termnites are one of the most destructive termite species in the Southeastern US. Formosan termites are an invasive, aggressive, subterranean termite species. Subterranean termites cause the most damage to structures worldwide.

Deemed “super termites,” Formosan termites are aggressive, building giant underground nests that can contain millions of termites that, along with their voracious appetites for wood and their rapid reproduction rates render these subterranean termites “formidable foes.”

Formosan termites not only attack and destroy structural timbers but have also been known to attack live trees and utility poles. With enough time, Formosan termites can weaken utility poles to the point where they could possibly even fall over, causing a service interruption. Attacking the wood on boats and barges, as well, Formosan termites can destroy ships and barges in a matter of months.

Formosan termites swarm in the morning or early evening usually after a rain in the spring, but can swarm at any time of the year.

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