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Termite Spotlight: Formosan Subterranean Termites

Formosan Subterranean Termites

The cornucopia of household pests that thrive in South Florida’s ideal conditions certainly won’t object. While most of us are familiar with Florida’s mosquitoes, ticks, rodents and other pests that carry pathogens and transmit diseases, other pests are out to get your house and they’re pretty sneaky about it.

Formosan subterranean termites live in underground nests and tunnel into your home in search of cellulose and non-cellulose materials

Formosan subterranean termites may go unnoticed for a while in homes, because they live in underground nests in the soil, outside your home and travel through tubes in search of the cellulose in timber structures, as well as support beams in stucco and brick buildings. But they don’t stop there. Formosan subterranean termites will also attack live trees, as well as plastic, plaster, asphalt and thin sheets of metal, according to a University of Florida report.

The point is that Formosa subterranean termites are hungry and bent on expanding their populations. This invasive species is capable of growing much larger populations in a shorter amount of time than domestic subterranean termites, wreaking much more havoc on Miami’s metropolitan area, as well as Monroe, Broward and Collier County homes. So where did these aggressive termites come from?

Originating in Southern China, Formosan termites got their name from a Taiwanese description, after they were discovered in Japan

Coptotermes formosas, the Formosan subterranean termite is thought to have originated in Southern China and was transported before the 1600s to Japan but this termite takes its name from a Taiwanese description in the early 1900s. From Japan, the Formosan termite made it to Hawaii in the late 1800s. Reported in South Africa in the 1950s, by the 1960s this destructive termite species appeared in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina. “By 1980, a well-established colony was thriving in a Hallandale, Florida,” (Broward County), according to scientists at the University of Florida.

Formosan subterranean termites have piqued homeowner interests in the sheer force of these relentless insects.

With the capacity to forage for up to 300 feet, Formosan termites build primary nests, with many satellite nests that can contain populations of several million termites. By comparison, native subterranean termites produce colonies in the hundreds of thousands. Other notable differences include:

  • Increased percentage of soldier termites in comparison to native subterranean termites, with 10-15% Formosan soldiers, compared to the 1-2% soldier population in native species
  • Formosan termites can cause more structural damage than native species due to their impressive population size
  • More potential for damage to nearby structures due to their foraging range of 300 feet
  • Formosan communities, once established in an area, haven’t been eradicated to date
  • Formosan termites can chew through electrical wiring and cables, causing fire hazards

Where can these marauding subterranean termites be found in Florida today?

University of Florida entomologists report that Formosan subterranean termite activity has expanded, since the first colony in Hallandale, to include “all major urban areas of Florida,” including much of “the coastal areas of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.”

Tips for preventing Formosan termites entering your home

  • Repair leaky plumbing, replace damp wood and correct areas of your home that are prone to moisture, such as areas where air-conditioner condensation collects.
  • Make sure gutter downspouts drain away from your foundation.
  • Keep irrigation systems away from your house and foundation
  • Keep mulch at least 6” away from your foundation
  • Pile wood at least 20 feet from your house.

Get real protection with Hulett’s Annual Termite Protection program

While these measures can help deter subterranean termites, in order to really protect your home from termites in South Florida, contact a trusted, professional pest control service, such as Hulett Environmental Services to enroll in our Annual Termite Protection program.

Protect your home and loved ones with the highest quality, most environmentally responsible materials and IPM methods available. We also offer a million-dollar warranty against subterranean termites, as part of our Healthy Home Guarantee.

Contact Hulett to protect your home and loved ones from Formosan subterranean termites, as well as the vast array of household pests that thrive in the southeastern tip of the US. We will happily send a trained expert to inspect your property and diagnose the issue at no charge. With over 45 years as local leaders in responsible pest control, our skilled and trained staff, led by owner-operator and Graduate Entomologist, Tim Hulett, deliver the most convenient and effective pest control in South Florida, all day, every day, season to season, year after year!

Brace Yourselves for the ‘Super’ Termite

Brace Yourselves for the ‘Super’ Termite

What do you get when two of the most destructive species of termites breed? A potentially very big problem for homeowners, to say the least …

This is the scenario that researchers in South Florida have observed. They’ve noticed that the Asian (Coptotermes gestroi) and Formosan (Coptotermes formosanus) subterranean termite species, which cause an estimated $40 billion worth of damage worldwide each year, have been breeding with one another.

The result is a ‘super’ termite which can reproduce even more quickly than both of their parent species and can also more easily adapt to different habitats, which means more opportunities for these critters to cause serious damage.

So, you may be wondering, how is this happening? And why now?

Well, we may have ourselves to blame. It seems these termites have lived separately for hundreds of thousands of years, but humans have brought them together primarily through trade in the regions of Taiwan, Hawaii and South Florida.

Researchers will continue to investigate the possible implications of these recent findings. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional pest control company to inspect your home for signs of termites.

And if you do have termites, remember, this is not a problem you can treat on your own. There is no such thing as DIY termite control—it’s a job for the experts.

Have you had your home evaluated for termites? Does the news of a possible ‘super’ termite make you more termite conscious?

Termite Queen Found to be Genetically Immortal

Imagine marrying a woman and taking her to be your wife. As she grows old, she has another child, who looks exactly like her. Now imagine marrying that new child, and throwing away your old wife due to old age. Although it sounds a bit weird, this is exactly what Reticulitermes speratus, a special species of termites, do for their entire lives.


The termite King spends his life mating with the same female, over and over. This continues until another Queen is hatched in order to take her mother’s place. Queen termites use something called parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction, in order to create a literal clone of herself. The special thing about this clone is that this newborn queen is immune to the King’s sperm, because the little ‘hatches’ that are normally used by the King to inject his sperm, are sealed closed. Normally, if an egg is fertilized it will simply become a normal worker. However, in this case, due to the blocked off hatch, the egg produced by the Queen will have a 100% chance of turning into the next colony Queen as she grows up, because she shares the same genes as her mother. An entire colony cannot be asexually reproduced however, or else complications would arise. This is why the Queen still lays normal eggs for the King to fertilize, in order to keep producing regular workers. Queen termites can live for decades, and only begin to asexually reproduce as they age.

If left alone, these termite colonies could practically live forever, which would cause quite a lot of damage to our ecosystem. Termites are known to be extremely ravenous, and cause quite a lot of damage very fast. Leaving them alone, or allowing a colony to prosper could be very harmful. In other words, as cool or fascinating as their mating system is, termites are still a problem we’ll have to deal with. That’s why annual Termite Inspections are a must! Read more @ Screw succession: termite queen found to be genetically immortal

Warm Climate makes Termite Control in Florida Crucial

Termite Control in FloridaIt’s an unfortunate fact that people who live in warmer climates are more prone to having termite damage than those who live in cooler climates. Here in the Sunshine State, we have a warmer-than-average climate, which means that residents here must remain vigilant in their efforts to protect their homes from these swarming creatures. Here are some measures for termite control in Florida that can be taken to reduce the odds of infestation.

Limit the amount of wood along your home’s foundation. Rather than using wood to edge flowerbeds, choose stone, brick or vinyl fencing instead. Avoid adding wood mulch around shrubs or plants, as this could also attract termites. Instead, try pine straw, leaves or rubber mulch.

Keep your gutters cleaned out on a regular basis to prevent moisture from building up around your home’s foundation. Termites are more likely to thrive in moist environments, which is why it is important to keep this area dry. Make regular inspections of your home’s foundation in order to ensure water is not building up along it.

Be especially observant for signs of termite activity during the spring and summer months. Most species of termites tend to swarm in early to mid spring, so it is not unusual for you to see signs of them during this time. Even so, you should be suspicious about unusually large numbers of them, especially if they are noticed inside your home. When termites have invaded your home, you could notice bore holes in your drywall or paneling, and could even see them in your bathtub.

Termites shed their wings from time to time, so you may notice several of them near your baseboards. This can be accompanied by deteriorated wood that can also have tiny bits of mud attached to it. When tapping on a solid wall, it can sometimes have a hollow sound to it if a termite colony has taken up residence inside it.

The best way to prevent termite damage is to have regular pest inspections. Contact us soon to schedule an appointment.

Hulett provides the best Termite Control in Florida

Termite Control in FloridaWhen Florida residents discover termites in their home they know it’s important to address the situation immediately.  If left untreated an infestation of termites can cause serious damage to any house.

One of the most effective methods of eliminating a termite infestation is with a product called Termidor.  This pest control product has been designed so that its presence is undetectable by the termites.  It has been used at many different locations in Florida for termite eradication.  Termidor has proven to be safe, effective and environmentally responsible.  It can successfully eliminate termite infestations within three months or less.

Nothing is more frustrating than having termites reappear after a period of time.  Termidor is also able to keep any termite re-infestation from occurring.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has performed tests using Termidor.  At a variety of locations there were no signs of termite re-infestation years after they were treated with Termidor.

Termites aren’t able to detect Termidor.  It can kill them on contact, but is designed to have the termites spread it among other termites.  They will ingest it, touch it and Termidor will be transferred to every termite in the colony.  Termites will be eliminated as they go about their normal routines.

Termidor is used at much lower rates than any other type of insecticide.  An average home treatment may require only a small amount of active ingredient to be used.  It also has no odor.

The proper application of Termidor can only be done by a pest control professional.  They will have the proper training and equipment.  These qualified professionals will have studied and passed a certification exam on the proper handling and use of Termidor.

If you suspect you may have a termite infestation, it’s time to call the professionals who have all the knowledge and experience necessary.  Hulett Environmental Services provides the best termite control in Florida.

They also go the extra step and provide customers with a subterranean termite damage warranty.  It will cover their home as well as its contents.  Contact us today and learn more.