If you recall when I started this series, my interest in these uninvited pest terrorists; came from a conversation I had with Daddy Nick, Loyal’s President, in his office. He was reading an internet article about the Kudzu Bug. I had not seen one before. My ears stood up. I wanted to know more. He said, “Hunter, as a responsible pest control company, we, here at Loyal Termite and Pest Control; have to be ready when this species arrives in our region.” “It’s not if, but when they get here, this bug will arrive in large numbers”, he said. “We have to be ready for them, understand their habits, and learn as much as we can about how to control the effect they might have on our Loyal customers. We have to offer a practical solution to eliminate them based on the most current information and treatment methods available. Methods developed through the joint efforts of our government, the scientists, as well as, our pest control partners already attacking local infestations in their particular regions.”

Boy that got this pooch thinking. What other insects and bugs have arrived in this country doing their thing; resulting in a negative effect on our agriculture and economy? I found out there are many foreign invaders making their stand in this country. This blog series addresses in brief detail the most prominent, and currently most alarming, of this group; insects and bugs, already here in moderate to large numbers, and those very soon to arrive in our region. You will be hearing more about these bugs in the near future.

I hope you learned a bit in Part 1 about the Kudzu Bug. Part 2 referred to the Emerald Ash Borer. Now this blog, the 3rd in the series; is about the Formosan Termite (FT).

The Formosan Termite has been referred to as the “super termite” due to the fact that they are more aggressive and destructive than their termite relatives. It has been reported that the (FT’s) are responsible for nearly $2 billion in yearly property damage. That’s in addition to the collective damage caused by other termite species. In the United States, (FT’s) are commonly found in the following Southern States; Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. However, they have also been found in Arizona, Hawaii, Texas, and California as well. This species is believed to have originated from Eastern Asia, or more specifically, Taiwan and southern China, arriving in wooden shipping crates.

Mature colonies of (FT’s) can have anywhere from 1-10 million termites within them. It takes between 3 and 5 years for a colony to mature. Once a (FT) colony is mature, the damage it can cause can be massive. It has been reported that mature colonies can cover over one or more acres of land and go through roughly 13 ounces of wood in a single day. At this rate, a single colony of (FT’s) can destroy a wooden structure in approximately three months! Ouch!! The prominent regional termite at this time, the Subterranean Termite, although quite destructive, consumes wood at a much slower pace than a Formosan. (FT’s) are such ferocious eaters; in addition to cellulose in wood and paper, they have been known to attack 50 plant species and even some non-cellulose items including asphalt, plastic, mortar, rubber, creosote and soft metals; when looking for moisture and new food sources. Talking about aggressive!

What makes Formosan Termites different from Native Subterranean Termites, besides their ferocious eating habits, is the fact that they will make “carton nests” made of chewed wood, saliva, and excrement. Most of these nests are created within structures that the termites have hollowed out or used as a food source. They will make carton nests out of the wood that resembles packed cardboard inside a wall. It is not uncommon to find entire walls full of this “carton” material.

It is important now more than ever, especially with the ensuing arrival of the Formosan Termite, that you recognize any signs of termite activity including; large swarms of winged reproductive termites in the Spring and Summer evenings, hollow sounding wood, mud tubes, or carton nests inside of walls.

If you notice these signs or any other indication of active bug infestation; you really need to call a professional. Who ya’ gonna’ call? Call Loyal!! One more time so you don’t forget; Who ya’ gonna’ call? Call Loyal!! Make that call and we will set up a time for one of our highly qualified inspectors to come out and check out the situation; and remember your first inspection is FREE!!

Thank you for joining me for this week’s “dog-blog”. This is Hunter, Loyal’s K-9 Termite Detective just wondering What’s Buggin’ You? I’ll bark at you again next week, Ruff! Ruff!

Foreign Invaders: Recent Insect Arrivals that Threaten American Agriculture and Local Economies (Part 3 – The Formosan Termite) in Virginia

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