Formosan subterranean termites are one of the few invasive termite species that inhabit the United States. Ever since the Formosan termite was discovered in eastern Texas back in the 1960s, the species has ravaged homes and buildings all across the Gulf Coast, most notably in Louisiana and Florida. Shortly before the turn of the millenium, a program was started by the Louisiana Government to control these termites to the point where they could no longer access human populated areas. This program was called Operation Full Stop, and although it was deemed a success, Formosan termite damage is still a fact of life for those living in certain southeastern states. It is not surprising to learn that many entomologists have labeled Formosan termites as being the most destructive termites in the entire world. Luckily, Formosan termites generally cannot advance northward from their current Gulf Coast habitat, but small populations have been recorded in small areas within South Carolina. However, it now seems as though the predictions that many experts have been making about Formosan termite migrations into new territories is, indeed, coming true. Not long ago, Formosan termites were discovered within an area of the east coast where they had never been recorded as existing in before. This advancement into areas that are located farther north than their usual habitat has researchers worried about the future of Formosan termite control and damages in the future.
Recently, a pest control professional was called to a home in Lexington, South Carolina. Upon inspecting the home, the controller was amazed to find Formosan termites, as they were thought to have not existed within Lexington. This routine house call turned out to be the first time that Formosan subterranean termites had ever been found in an area this far north in the state of South Carolina. An urban entomologist from Clemson University, Dr. Eric Benson, confirmed that the species was, in fact, a Formosan termite. Shortly after this confirmation, Dr. Benson received more Formosan termite samples from Lexington, indicating that the invasive termites are in the region to stay. Dr. Benson claimed that since Formosan termites have been present within Charleston, SC for 60 years now, it is not unexpected to find that their populations growing within the state. However, the extent of the Formosan termite’s habitat range in Lexington needs to be determined before predictions concerning their future migrations to new regions can be made.
Do you think that modern science will come up with a more effective method to eradicate invasive insects?