If you fancy yourself an insect expert, then you must surely be familiar with the Formosan subterranean termites. This termite species, which hails from Asia, is well known for its uniquely destructive capacities. Formosan termites are often cited by experts as being the most destructive termite species in the world. These termites damage both structures and some trees, but it is the damage that they cause to structures that is most significant. Formosan termites have earned their destructive reputation as a result of their ravenous eating habits. It has been demonstrated numerous times that these termites can eat lumber ten times more rapidly than other destructive termites species. This difference is due to the enormous sizes that Formosan termite colonies can reach. Typically, destructive subterranean termite species live in colonies containing tens of thousands of individual termites, but Formosan colonies can grow to contain millions of termites. It is well known that Formosan termite species have established an invasive presence in the Gulf Coast states, especially Louisiana and Florida. Unfortunately, South Carolina residents may soon encounter these termites, as recent reports have revealed large populations of Formosan termites within the state.
Just one month ago, any pest control professional operating in South Carolina would never have believed that Formosan termites could invade their state. However, the destructive pests have suddenly appeared in the state, and controlling their population is proving difficult. One pest control professional in the state has claimed that once a Formosan termite population is established in a region, it cannot be eradicated. Despite this claim, small Formosan termite colonies were eradicated in York and Pickens County, South Carolina back in 2000 and 2010 respectively. However, these were probably lucky cases, as the invading Formosans were caught early before they could spread to other countries. The termites are becoming particularly problematic in the Midlands, which is a region of South Carolina where Formosan termite populations are virtually unheard of. Formosans are hard to kill, as their nests can be difficult to find. One pest control professional operating in the Midlands claims that termite infestations in the area can always be successfully treated with soil insecticides, but Formosan termites can avoid these insecticides by building aerial nests within trees. Formosan termites can also burrow into the ground three hundred feet away from their subterranean nests. Pest control professionals in South Carolina are already having to adjust to different termite treatment methods as a result of the Formosan arrival.
Do you think that this recent influx of Formosan termites into more northern regions, like South Carolina, is a result of climate change?