Termites Are Considered Pests To American Fruit Crops

February 6, 2018 | Posted In: Georgia Pest & Termite Control

Termites Are Considered Pests To American Fruit Crops

It is commonly believed that termites in America only feed on dead wood. Unfortunately, there is more than one termite species in America that is known for consuming healthy wood from living trees. Some people may have first-hand experience with termites in trees. It is not uncommon for trees in both urban and rural settings to become infested with termites. Many trees that are found to be infested with termites may be dead, but in some regions of the United States, termites have proven to be highly damaging pests to living fruit trees. The fact that termites often damage trees and fruit crops in America is not well known, and some sources claim that termites dwelling within North America only feed on dead wood. In reality, termites in America have been recognized as pests to trees in fruit crops by the scientific community for nearly a century, at least.

A published document released by the now non-existent US Bureau of Entomology in 1932 described many termite infestations that had been found in trees located in numerous regions of Florida, especially in orange groves located near lake Alfred. These termites were identified as being Neotermes castaneus, which is a drywood species. In total these drywood termites had been infesting thirty five trees on seventeen different properties in Florida. This published document, entitled Termites as a Pest of Citrus Trees, also mentioned that this drywood species had been found in numerous localities that included areas as far north as central Florida. Despite the prevalence of trees that were found to be infested with drywood termites in Florida, the researchers claimed that recording all of these infestations would have been too difficult to accomplish, and so it was never done. This lack of documentation is common when it comes to termite infestations in trees, and it may be one reason for the continued controversy concerning whether or not termites are truly capable of infesting trees in America.

Drywood termites are not the only termites that feed on trees in America. For example, dampwood termites in Coachella Valley, California have been found infesting and damaging grapefruit trees. Eastern subterranean termites are the most notorious and common of all termite-tree-pests in America. Some experts are not even aware that dampwood and drywood termites also infest fruit trees. In fact, the Encyclopedia of Entomology even claims that eastern subterranean termites are the only termites in the state of Florida that damage fruit trees. However, there are numerous scientific articles that claim otherwise. Dampwood, Drywood and both western and eastern subterranean termites are all known for infesting fruit trees in America.

Do you think that drywood and subterranean termites will become a bigger problem in the southeast and southwest United States in the future?