Identifying & Preventing Formosan Termites
Posted Apr 02nd 2014 | By:
If you live in the southern states, you've probably heard of the Formosan Termite but hopefully have never had a personal encounter with them. The Formosan Termite is a nasty little critter that nests above ground in very large colonies and can wreak serious havoc on your home. It is estimated that termite treatment, prevention, and eradication costs upwards of $1,000,000,000.00 every year thanks to the presence of such beasts.
Formosan Termites are bad news for a lot of reasons. For starters, a native termite colony usually has a few hundred thousand residents while a Formosan colony numbers into the millions. This is probably due to their queen being able to live up to a couple of decades during which she will be laying about 1,000 eggs per day. They flourish in climates where it is warm due to a lack of egg viability when the temperature drops below 68 degrees, which has put the southern states on the Formosan Termite radar, with them now occupying several southern states after moving to the United States from China in the 1940's via rides hitched with the military after World War II.
The best way to fight Formosan Termite infestations is to stop them before they start. This means making your home a fortress that is inhospitable to termites. You have to hit them where it hurts by taking steps to make food and water inaccessible to them. This can be done by removing all unnecessary wood and paper from your yard, including dead trees, wooden planters, trellises, and cardboard. All wood that remains must be pressure treated and anything with a post must have that post anchored in cement due to these termites attacking upwards from the soil. Plants, landscape materials, mulch, and wood chips should be kept to a minimum and stored safely away from the house. Rainfall must be directed away from your home's roof and walls through the use of gutters that will place water at least a couple feet away from your foundation. Should gutters fail or any other sort of outdoor leak be present, such as a hose spigot, fix it immediately.
The sooner you realize you have a termite problem, the faster you can take care of it, which is essential to minimizing damage. To identify the type of termite you have, capture a few individuals for analysis. Other things to look for when it comes to termites are the tubes they build to travel between food and water sources as well as pinholes in wood or any other sort of wood damage. The nest of Formosan Termites are large and resemble a rock, but are below ground. If you are able to narrow down a suspect area, check for softness and hollowing as well as bulges or depressions as these are indicators of an active nest.
Termite treatment is often done at the hands of a professional both due to the nature of the work and because some states require a warranty and documentation of treatment. Before hiring someone, be sure that they have experience specifically with Formosan Termites. Through the use of soil termiticides and baits, an exterminator should be able to rid you of your termite problems. For your own peace of mind, feel free to shop around and get a few price bids, but be sure to do so quickly as time passed is damage done when it comes to Formosan Termites and other varieties as well.
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