Perhaps you have heard of Formosan termites; they are an invasive species of that most damaging pest.

Yes, we have our own, native termites (the eastern subterranean termite), but the Formosan termite seems to be here to stay and can cause just as much damage as its native cousins – meaning that if left unchecked it can wreak significant destruction on any wooden structure, including your home.

So, how do you keep your home from becoming a victim of Formosan termites?

The first key is detection.

After making their presence known in Georgia in the 1990s, the Formosan subterranean termite has made its home in a number of infestation sites in our state. That said, they are still relatively rare as compared to our native species.

Formosan termites can swarm (more on that below) to invade your property. But they usually come into contact with your home by way of railroad ties that get brought in for landscape uses.

The differences between the eastern subterranean termite and the Formosan termite include:


Check the swarm

Termites begin new colonies by “swarming” during the spring. Each year, young “swarmers” emerge from a termite colony and take to the air, looking for mates. Once found these termites drop their wings, mate and become king and queen of a new colony. So, if you notice swarmers take a look and be wary. Formosan termite swarmers are larger than native eastern subterranean termite swarmers. Formosans measure one-half of an inch from tip of head to tip of wings; natives are three-eighths of an inch long. Formosan termites are also caramel- to brownish yellow in color; natives are black in color. Since the Formosan termite colonies and individual termites are larger and more aggressive feeders, they can do more damage than native termites over the same period.

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When does the swarm occur?

While all termites swarm in the spring, natives actually swarm much earlier in the spring – such as February/March. Formosans, meanwhile, don’t begin to swarm until late May and/or early June. Natives also swarm during the day, whereas Formosans swarm at night and are attracted to lights. If you are on the lookout for swarmers, it is best to look for dried swarmers or their wings in windowsills, in spider webs (indoors and outdoors), and inside porch light covers.


Check the colony, specifically the soldiers

Termite colonies also include workers (to chew through and help process the cellulose in wood, which is what termites consume) and soldiers (to protect the colony). Soldiers are larger than workers and have protruding mandibles (jaws) to deliver a bite to enemies and protect the colony. Formosan termites are much more defensive minded, in other words, their colonies have far more soldiers than native colonies. In fact, 15-20 percent of a Formosan colony is made up of soldiers, while soldiers in native colonies make up just 1-3 percent of the total. You can check and tell by breaching the colony; if there are a large number of soldiers present, it’s probably a Formosan colony. Unlike natives, Formosan termite soldiers also exude a white, glue-like secretion from the top of their head when harassed. Formosan termite soldiers may also try to bite, but don’t worry, their bite is not painful or dangerous in any way.

Now that you know what to look for you should know that there are several methods of both repelling termites before they sprout a colony in your home or by eradicating any colony you may discover.

Home improvement stores offer do-it-yourself baits (prevention), as well as liquid insecticides (extermination). Each style offers pros and cons but can be used successfully if you are able and willing to maintain consistent vigilance and re-apply these control methods when they needed.

There are also numerous professionals ready to protect your home and help you keep termites out for good. Professional pest control experts can inspect each and every inch of your property and home to determine the routes that termites may invade and close those off for good. The products that we use are more effective and most companies allow the homeowner to keep a warranty on their home after treatment.

Warranties typically cover yearly inspections, no-cost retreatments if evidence is found and no-cost replacement of damage caused by termites while under warranty. These warranties are usually transferable if the home is sold and are beneficial to sellers during real estate sales. Use a professional to ensure more time to enjoy your home, rather than spending your valuable time as a makeshift exterminator.

Zone has spent years helping keep north Georgia and metro Atlanta area homes termite free. Our professionals know exactly where to look and how to react in order to keep your home from becoming a colony site for any type of Georgia termite, including Formosan termites.


Let us help provide you with peace of mind, call us today at 770-904-5432, and let us keep your home termite free – or evict any termites that we my find and keep them gone for good.

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