Formosan termites are on the rise in the South Carolina and homeowners in the area would be well served to take notice. These invasive, wood-hungry insects are, by all relevant metrics, more dangerous than any other termite you’d expect to find locally. 

Currently, they represent the most significant pest threat in the area.

So, why are Formosan subterranean termites considered to be so dangerous? And why should you trust Terminix to help manage them? These answers and more below.

Formosan termites were first identified in Taiwan (then known as The Republic of Formosa) in the early part of the 20th century, though they are thought to be indigenous to southern China originally. In the years since they were first described, they have spread to a number of different parts of the world, including Japan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and—most worrying to us—the continental United States.

Stateside, the invasive species has been identified in 11 states, including all three of our service areas in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. 

Since arriving in the U.S. many decades back, Formosan termites have earned a fearsome reputation for their massive colony sizes, impressive appetites, and the rapid rate at which they can damage or destroy a structure. 

All that is to say: Formosan termites pose a uniquely serious threat to homeowners across the Southeast. They’re more dangerous, more destructive, and all-around costlier to deal with. In fact, in some circles, Formosans are also known as ‘super termites.’ Keep reading to find out why.

Why Formosans Are Called ‘Super Termites’ (Formosan Termites vs. Eastern Subterranean Termites)

If you’re trying to wrap your head around the potential for Formosan termite damage, it can be helpful to consider them in juxtaposition to the indigenous Eastern subterranean termite . Compared to the Eastern subterranean termites native to the Southeast, the Formosan subterranean termite is much more dangerous to homes and structures.

Formosan Colonies Are Larger

The main factor that differentiates Formosan termite colonies is their size. A Formosan colony can be home to up to 10 times as many termites as the local Eastern subterranean termite colonies in the area. While a mature Eastern subterranean termite colony has a population ranging from 50,000 to 250,000 on average, the mature Formosan termite colony is home to anywhere from 350,000 to a staggering two million workers.

Formosan Colonies Grow Faster

Part of the reason Formosan termite colonies are so large is that they grow and expand at a much faster rate than the Eastern subterranean colony. In at least one instance, a Formosan colony population grew from two—a queen and her mate—to two million in only three years.

Formosan Colonies Eat More 

Pound for pound, an individual termite eats wood at approximately the same rate regardless of species. But because of their larger populations, Formosan subterranean termites colonies devour more wood more quickly than your run-of-the-mill Eastern subterranean termite one.

To put that in perspective: if an average Eastern subterranean termite colony of 80,000 workers can consume five feet of 2×4 boards a year, a small Formosan colony of 400,000 could eat that same length of wood in just two-and-a-half months. In a year, that small Formosan colony would have consumed 25 feet of that same 2×4 plank. That’s a lot of termite damage.

Formosan Subterranean Termites are on the Move, Confirmed in Aiken County

Local entomologists recently announced the discovery of Formosan termites for the first time in Aiken County. While subterranean termites are common in the Palmetto State, the Formosan subterranean termite species, Coptotermes formosanus, is considered the most destructive, as they often have colonies ten times larger than other native subterranean termite species.

“Formosan termites can cause significantly more damage in a shorter amount of time than our native species,” said Terminix Technical Director and Board Certified Entomologist Kevin Hathorne. “For this reason, it’s important to have your home inspected by a trained and licensed termite professional that understands the biology and behavior of Formosan termites.”

“South Carolina has the ideal climate for termites, with consistently high temperatures and humidity,” said Hathorne. “The discovery of Formosan termites in Aiken County isn’t a reason to panic. However, it is important for homeowners to understand the risk and be sure their home’s termite protection plan covers damage from Formosan termites.”

Formosan Termites in South Carolina: A Comprehensive FAQ

All termites pose a massive threat to homeowners. But did you know there is one species of termite that is more dangerous than others? In fact, a recent discovery by our team confirms that these termites, known as Formosan termites, are spreading across South Carolina. Here are some Formosan fast facts so you can be better prepared.

1. What Are They and Where Are They From?

The Formosan subterranean termite (FST), Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, is considered to be one of the most destructive termite species in the world today. This species is not native to the United States—it originated from areas around southern China, Formosa (Taiwan), and Japan. It is believed this termite was accidentally transported to the southeastern U.S. by ships returning from the Pacific at the end of World War II. 

2. How and Where Were They Recently Found?

Terminix professionals responded to a service call in Sumter, S.C. and noticed the termites had unique characteristics from what Sumter usually sees. Our trained technicians, in conjunction with Clemson University ran tests to confirm that these were in fact, Formosan subterranean termites, the first time they had been recorded in the Sumter area.

3. Have They Been in South Carolina Before?

In South Carolina, Formosan termites are well established in the Lowcountry region and have also been found in isolated instances in York and Pickens counties. There have been reports of isolated instances in both Brunswick and Rutherford Counties in North Carolina., but they are believed to have been eliminated from these areas.

4. What Can I Do To Stop Them From Invading My Home?

Homeowners in or near these counties are encouraged to contact Terminix for a free termite inspection. Technicians are highly trained and know how to identify and treat this highly invasive species. 

Current Terminix customers should contact their local branch to discuss their termite protection options.

While this new discovery about the wood-destroying insects may be shocking, have no fear. Going on the offensive with an established termite control company like Terminix will stop even Formosan termites in their tracks.

Formosan Termite Treatment Techniques That Work

As if their potential for damage weren’t reason enough to worry about Formosan termites, the fact that they are difficult to treat for and control against is what really seals the deal. In fact, many pest control providers are currently unequipped and unable to deal with Formosan termites, period. As in, they won’t come out if you’ve got a Formosan termite infestation in your home or yard.

It’s bad enough that they’ll eat so much so quickly, but what’s a homeowner to do if typical industry-standard termite spray treatments won’t work?

Well, for starters, you’ll need to find someone who does offer Formosan termite protection—that is to say, someone like Terminix.

Unlike the liquid bait-based termite control options other companies rely on, the Sentricon system used by Terminix has been shown to be one of the few effective measures for controlling and protecting against Formosan subterranean termites.

It’s also why Terminix is unique in being able to offer a Formosan-inclusive protection plan.

Formosan Termite Coverage You Can Trust

If you’re serious about protecting your home from termites, you’re probably already familiar with the benefits of termite bonds. But, as it turns out, not all termite damage policies are created equal. Most pest control companies only offer coverage against Eastern subterranean termites. If your home is affected by Formosans, you’re flat out of luck.

Terminix isn’t one of those companies. We’re equipped with proper treatment tools and have the experience to back that up. We know how to get rid of termites of all sorts, including the dreaded Formosan. Plus, Terminix technicians have been successfully treating and protecting against Formosans for years now, which is why we are able to offer industry-leading coverage against these invasive wood-eaters.

With a Formosan termite prevention and protection plan from Terminix, single-family homes are covered by an unlimited repair warranty, so homeowners can feel confident that their investment is protected. 

Trust Terminix for Formosan Termites 

There’s no two ways about it: Formosan termites are a serious threat that homeowners in the Southeast should absolutely be concerned about. But with Terminix on your side, you won’t need to lose sleep worrying over what would happen if these pests pop up on your property. When it comes to Formosan termites, Terminix offers the Southeast the best protection and peace of mind.
Don’t let termite worries keep you up at night. Call Terminix to learn more about our Formosan termite protection policy and request a FREE termite inspection today.

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