You may have heard of the Formosan “super termite” that has been eating through houses along the Southern U.S. Until recently this termite was thought to be the most destructive in the world. However, Nan-Yoa Su, professor of entomology at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), has just discovered a new termite ravaging houses in Florida that is even more destructive and terrifying.
This new super soldier termite, known as the Asian subterranean termite, was thought to only live in tropical climates in places such as Brazil and the West Indies. Unfortunately for us Americans, it has just been discovered in Florida, and seems to have a well-established foothold in South Florida. Scientists are puzzled by its rapid spread as they believed it could not survive in areas north of the tropics. The terrifying termite is now considered to be a serious threat to homes in Florida. Infestations have already been found in four buildings in Riviera Beach in South Florida, and officials believe there are probably more buildings infested. Officials are asking people to contact them at the UF/IFAS if they see this termite.
This new destructive termite is considered one of the most destructive pests in the tropics and now the Southern United States. Su, along with assistant professor of entomology Brian Cabrera, is working to track and hopefully stop the advance of this invasive insect.
Officials are asking residents to look out for the winged termites, which may be seen around dusk and in the evening flying around lights. The termite can be identified by its dark brown head and dorsal surface on the top of its body, which stands out in contrast to its yellow-brown underside. The “two-toned” appearance of the termite makes it fairly noticeable when compared to other termites. The termite “soldiers” can be identified by the teardrop shape of their heads and a pore on their body that secretes sticky, milk-like fluid. Officials recommend that any homeowners unsure of whether the termite has infested their homes should immediately contact a pest control professional and have them thoroughly inspect their property.
Thankfully, a successful baiting system has been developed that can control the new Asian subterranean termite. The bait system uses a chemical called noviflumuron, which is a growth regulator that stops termites from being able to molt. Without the ability to molt the worker population of the termites cannot sustain their underground colonies. We’ll beat this bad guy in no time!
Have you ever had a termite infestation in your home? How did you get rid of them?
Less Bang for Your Buck – Insects That Decrease Your Home’s Value
Insects have become masters of invading our homes. While some are simply a nuisance, others can seriously reduce the value of your home. Whether you’re planning on selling your home anytime soon or not, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye out for these expensive pests.
Termites are probably the most serious villain when it comes to destroying your property. They cause over $5 billion in property damage throughout the United States every year. What’s worse is that home insurance doesn’t generally cover termite infestations, meaning the money to fix it is going to come straight out of your pocket. Enough termite damage can cause floors and walls to sag because of the loss of structural integrity. And, you don’t want to try and deal with these guys on your own. If you have a termite infestation, immediately call in the professionals to take care of it.
Powderpost beetles are another pest that can seriously harm your home. They are small and black, specializing in boring holes into wood. This means that they will go for anything made of hardwood, including molding, flooring, cabinets, doors and other hardwood furniture. You can detect an infestation by looking for small, round holes in the wood that may have fine sawdust peeking out. These pests tend to infest newer homes. Removing the infested wood is really the only way to eradicate them.
Have you ever had to deal with a termite infestation or powderpost beetles? What did you do to get rid of them?
Termites are one of the most devastating pest problems because of the damage they cause to buildings and structures. That’s why if you have a termite problem, or suspect you may have a termite problem, you call a professional pest management company right away.
And University of Florida entomologists are predicting that termite activity will expand—so much so that by 2040 nearly half of the structures in South Florida will be at risk of infestation.
So, what is being done to get ahead of this problem?
“Facing the increasing pressure of both invasive subterranean termites in South Florida, area-wide termite management programs could be implemented to provide a long-term, sustainable solution for communities,” said Assistant Researcher Thomas Chouvenc.
Chouvenc urges that residents in South Florida monitor signs for termites often and work with a professional pest company to address a potential infestation immediately. We couldn’t agree more!
Have you ever experienced termites? Do you think the University of Florida is correct in their prediction?
Termites normally keep to themselves, working on building a colony. They don’t really focus on starting fights with other neighbors. But when danger approaches, these termites only do one thing – bang their heads on the walls.
Slamming your head against a wall may not seem very helpful, but it’s actually the vibrations that the banging does which alerts the rest of the colony. The noise travels downwards throughout the tunnels at approximately 430 feet per second, meaning that an average 3 foot tall mound would be alerted almost immediately. Termites ‘hear’ these vibrations through their legs. The leg closest to the vibration picks up the sound first, and the farthest leg picks up the noise last. It was found that termites were able to tell which leg felt the vibration first, which allowed them to learn which direction to head to.
Scientists began to wonder exactly how short the gap could be for termites to feel the vibration in between their legs. The answer? 0.20 milliseconds. In literally less than a blink of an eye, termites were able to decipher which way they should be heading – whether it be to battle, or to hide. Soldier termites would immediately head towards the vibrations in order to protect their horde, while worker termites would begin to retreat back down into their cave system in order to protect themselves. When all is said and done, the remaining termites either go back to working on their nest, or begin constructing a new mound, had they lost the battle.
As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with a high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Bodies of king and queen dampwood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker dampwood termites are up to 3/4 inch.