Heads up, Terminix customers: Formosan termites could be coming to a town near you.

Scientists recently confirmed reports of the invasive Formosan subterranean termite species popping up in Aiken County, South Carolina.

Formosan Termites 101

Formosan termites are a subterranean termite originally hailing from southern China and southeast Asia. They initially popped up in the United States in the 1950s in port cities in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas. Since then, they’ve been slowly moving their way inward, most recently popping up in the midlands region of South Carolina.

This is only the most recent sighting of the potentially destructive pests. The Formosan termite has been found all throughout the southeast, including North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Formosan termites are known for their voracious appetites and their large colonies. They’ve earned the nickname “super termites” in some circles, given their propensity for consuming large quantities of wood in relatively short order and their massive colony sizes. 

In fact, Formosan termite swarms can become so large that they get picked up on weather radar.

In addition to their staggering population sizes (Formosan colonies are typically ten times larger than those of native species), these pests pose a very serious threat to homes and other structures in our area. Capable of consuming up to 13 ounces of wood a day, they are considered the most destructive species of termite. Formosan termite damage can destroy a structure in as little as three months.

Fortunately, according to Terminix Chief Entomologist Kevin Hathorne, there’s no reason for anyone to start panicking about these pests. The termite control experts at Terminix have the know-how and experience to help wrangle any sort of termite you run up against, Formosan or otherwise.

“It is important for homeowners to understand the risk and be sure their home’s termite protection plan covers damage from Formosan termites,” says Hawthorne. 

Worried you may have termites in your home? Learn the signs and see how you can protect your home. Or call up your local Terminix branch and schedule a free inspection with one of our professional pest technicians.

Where Are Formosan Termites in SC and NC?

In our area, the Formosan termite population is growing. After initially appearing exclusively around the coast (most likely brought in through shipping ports) during the 1950s and 60s, the invasive termite has steadily expanded their presence inwards, into the midlands, and to other parts of the Southeast.

In South Carolina, Aiken is the most recent stop on their trip inland, and represents the edge of their currently known range in SC. Any communities closer to the coast should be especially vigilant for Formosans.

Formosans subterranean termites are less common in Georgia and North Carolina, with reports mostly isolated to specific locations. In North Carolina, that’s Brunswick and Rutherford counties. In Georgia, that’s the coastal regions, especially near Savannah.  

It’s important to remember that the life cycle of termites naturally leads them to proliferate once they’ve established a colony. Just because a location hasn’t yet reported Formosan subterranean termites in the area, that’s no guarantee they won’t show up in the future.

Comparing Formosan Termites

Termites are termites, right? Not exactly.

Formosan vs. Drywood Termites

Unlike the Formosan subterranean termite, drywood termites make their nests above ground, preferably at the top of a structure. While the Formosans eat their way from the ground up, drywood termites start eating from the top down. Drywood termites are less common in the Southeast, but do require swift and drastic action to treat.

Formosan vs. Eastern Subterranean Termites

As the name suggests, both of these species are subterranean termites, meaning they make their colonies underground. The biggest difference between the Eastern subterranean termite (EST), which is native to the Southeast, and the Formosan subterranean termite is the size of their colonies. 

Formosan colonies are ten times larger than those of the EST, and thus consume wood at a much faster rate. To the untrained eye, the two species may look quite similar, but there are actually several visual differences that a trained technician is able to spot right away.

How to Treat Formosan Subterranean Termites

Terminix treats Formosan subterranean termites the same way we would for their more mundane cousins that are local to our area (the Eastern Subterranean termites). Either way, the best approach is a proactive one. Once a colony has established itself in your home, treatment and eradication aren’t tasks you can accomplish by yourself; it requires the help of trained pest professionals. 

Don’t let Formosan termites damage your home. Discover how Terminix’s termite protection plans and termite bonds can help keep your home healthy and pest free for years to come.

For Formosan Termite Control, Trust Terminix

There’s no need to worry about Formosan termites — or any termite — when you have Terminix on your side. Our local technicians are expertly trained to deal with all types of termites, as well as any other household pest you might run into.

Chat with your local Terminix office today for all things termite control, whether you’re just looking for some peace of mind with a free inspection or you’ve spotted some swarmers where they shouldn’t be.

We’ve been the name the Southeast trusts for over 75 years now. Learn more about all of our professional pest control services today.

Search the Blog