Southwest Florida Residents Seeing ‘Super’ Hybrid Termite & Interest, Fears are Growing
Southwest Florida is home to an alarming number of pests and invasive species, for better or for worse.
And now two of the most destructive pests found in the area have generated a new pest that will leave homeowners shaking in their boots.
University of Florida scientists discovered in 2015 that Formosan and Asian subterranean termites mated and produced a hybrid termite that could cause more damage than its parents.
“This is pretty rare in the pest world, but obviously it does happen,” said Catseye Pest Control lead technician Paul Dube, A.C.E. “Now all we can do is learn as much as possible about this new species and work to limit the damage they cause, just like any other termite type.”
On their own, Asian termites and Formosan termites are very destructive.
These wood-munching insects have contributed to billions of dollars in structural issues caused by termite damage every year.
What are Formosan & Asian Termites?
Formosan and Asian termites are subterranean termites that are not native to the United States.
Formosan termites were transported from Taiwan and Japan to Hawaii and the continental United States in the 1900s. The first recorded appearance in the continental United States was in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1957.
Asian termites are believed to have arrived in Southwest Florida on yachts and other ocean-bound ships in 1996.
Since their first appearances, both species of subterranean termites have been happily proliferating in the tropical Florida climate for many years.
Creating a Hybrid Termite
Formosan and Asian termites don’t usually swarm and mate at the same time. But, in recent years, conditions were just right in Fort Lauderdale for both species to swarm simultaneously.
After University of Florida scientists discovered that these termites were swarming together, the subterranean termites were back to the lab where scientists were astonished to see the two species mate and reproduce.
The resulting hybrid termite species colonized quickly. In fact, it was twice as quickly as the termite parents in some instances.
Because of the rapid reproduction, it could lead to more termite damage in a shorter period of time.
Should I Worry About the Hybrid Termite?
In short, yes.
Homeowners and business owners should always be mindful of wood-munching insects, whether it’s subterranean termites or a hybrid.
While damage caused by termites isn’t always noticed immediately, it can be quite problematic and a costly issue to repair.
Mating between Formosan termites and Asian termites has been a growing issue since 2013, and have resulted in vigorous colonies. Research is underway to determine fertility and mortality rates of this new super species.
Preventing Termite Damage
Every home and office building are unique, and the solutions to prevent termite damage the pest professionals at Catseye Pest Control implement are unique to the structure(s). Knowing the species of termite causing damage to your property is an important part in eliminating the issue.
Formosan termites are particularly challenging to manage because their colonies are gigantic.
A single termite colony can have millions of termites that could forage as far as 300 feet from the nest. This can be quite problematic, especially if there are other structures in close proximity.
Our mission is to protect your family, home, and business investment against potential termite damage. Catseye’s multifaceted termite treatment and control includes creating a customized solution tailored to your needs, a long-lasting termite defense system, and world-class pest solutions.
If you suspect your home or business is suffering from termite damage, contact a pest control professional today for a free inspection.