Americans May Be Facing A New Type Of Destructive Termite
Many Americans have become well acquainted with Formosan subterranean termites. These termites are not just problematic in America, as structures located in several other countries also see heavy damages caused by Formosan termites. Formosan termites were accidentally introduced to America back in the 1960s. If these termites were not damaging enough, a second invasive termite species later arrived in the US. This second species is known as Asian subterranean termites. Researchers have known for several years that these two termite species can mate to create a hybrid termite species, and this blog has mentioned these hybrid termites in the past. However, only now are scientists beginning to understand the consequences of having Formosan and Asian subterranean termites inhabiting the same region in America.
Although Formosan and Asian subterranean termites are both invasive, these two termites require very specific environmental conditions in order to thrive. This is a good thing, as the hybrid offspring of these two termites are even more destructive than their parents. It seems that nature did not want to allow these two destructive termite species to mate. However, due to human intervention, these two termite species are reproducing within the state of Florida. As it turns out, Florida contains the right type of environment to allow for the coexistence and mating of these two species. With the exception of Taiwan and Hawaii, southern Florida is the only region where these two termite species can successfully produce hybrid offspring.
A recent study has revealed that male termites from the Asian species prefer to mate with females from the Formosan species even more so than females of their own species. This is not good news for the residents of Florida, as the resulting hybrid offspring are even more destructive than the Formosan and Asian species of termite. In fact, hybrid offspring build colonies more rapidly than their parent species. Researchers have noted that both Formosan and Asian termites are beginning to swarm together at the same time of year. This makes interspecies reproduction common. Scientists believe these two destructive termite species began swarming together as a natural consequence of climate change.
Do you believe that hybrid termites will eventually migrate to other US states besides Florida?