Wood Destroying Insects
Common Wood-Destroying Organisms Of The Southeast
Formosan Subterranean Termites (Coptotermes formosanus)
The Formosan subterranean termite is one of the most destructive termite species in the world today. It was first discovered in the mainland of the USA in 1957 in Charleston, South Carolina and has since spread to many other areas of the United States. Formosan termites usually swarm in the late Spring, during warm and humid evenings. Swarms are quite large with up to tens of thousands of alates. The swarmers are attracted to lights and are often found around windows, light fixtures, windowsills, and spider webs in lighted areas. Other differences from native subterranean termites are the size of mature colonies. It is generally believed that their colony strength can reach as high as five million individuals compared with about one million termites in native subterranean termite colonies. They frequently create nests called carton, made primarily of chewed wood and their own saliva, to establish colonies above the ground without contact to soil.
Eastern Subterranean Termites (Reticulitermes spp)
These termites are small, yellow-white/ brown insects that live in the large colonies in soil. They require wood for food and soil for moisture. Subterranean termites are naturally present in forested areas. Colonies often live in stumps and decaying logs, but are capable of invading buildings and feeding on structural wood. Subterranean termite colonies consist of many individuals divided into king and queen, workers and soldiers. The queen typically lives for many years, producing eggs throughout her life. The soldiers defend the colony from enemies while the workers feed on wood and care for other members of the colony. In the spring (and fall for some sub-species), a mature colony may produce swarms of winged termites (new kings and queens). These adults fly off, mate, then form new colonies nearby. The presence of swarmer termites in a building is often the first indication to the inhabitants of an infestation.