Formosan Termites – Aggressive Subterranean Pests

The Formosan termite’s name comes from Formosa, Taiwan, one of the countries it originated from. It was also found in Southern China and parts of Japan. In the scientific world it is known as Coptotermes Formosanus Shiraki. It is believed to have made its way to the United States on ships returning from the Pacific Theatre after World War Two. This termite is restricted to southern areas since their eggs will not hatch at temperatures over 68 degrees Farhenheit.

The Fomosan termite is in the subterranean family. Formosan termites builds their nests below the surface of the soil. Sometimes they build their termitarea (nest) above ground in a tubular fashion. The nests are connected through extensive burrows in wood, mounds or coverways. Nests can also be found on the exterior surfaces of trees, wooden buildings or posts. The termites feed off of dead and living vegetable material like debris, fungi, leaves and wood. If it is made of wood then they will eat it. They are very destructive on farms and can ruin the fences and other buildings made from wood quickly. They have a 400 foot feeding radius and can really damage a forest, doing the most damage than any other single subterranean colony.

The Formosan termite is very destructive. Their colonies are extremely hard to destroy, unlike other subbterranean termites. Some people call these little insects the “super termite” since they consume wood at a very rapid pace. One colony can consist of several million colonists, (regular subterranean has several thousand colonists). A Formosan colony can consume up to 13oz of wood in a single day and can badly damamge a wooden structure in three months to six months.

Formosan termites have a pale yellow body, translucent milky colored wings and dark hard veins on the forwing. The soldier’s head is round and tapered with fontanelle (frontal gland pore).