Are Invasive Formosan Termites More Damaging Than Eastern Subterranean Termites In The US?

Are Invasive Formosan Termites More Damaging Than Eastern Subterranean Termites In The US?Termites Consuming Bloated Wood

Termites are social insects that, unlike all other social insects, are not a part of the Hymenoptera order of animals. Termites belong to the order known as Isoptera. Termites are actually more closely related to cockroaches than they are to any other type of social insect, like bees or ants. The two major termite groups include subterranean termites and dampwood termites. Drywood or powderpost termites are often treated like a third group. Subterranean termites are typically the most damaging of all types of termites, but invasive termites are often the most damaging of all. Invasive termites are free to wreck an ecosystem without consequence due to the lack of natural predators that exist within their non-native, or unnatural environment. Without natural predators to keep invasive termite population numbers in check, invasive termites are free to proliferate in non-native environments without hindrance. Naturally, invasive termite populations tend to grow to enormous sizes, which makes them even more of a threat to nearby man-made structures. Sometimes the most damaging termite species within a particular region are native termite species, and not necessarily invasive species.

It can be difficult to determine which type of termite is truly the most damaging to property within a particular region or country. For example, in the United States eastern subterranean termites are considered the most damaging, as most termite infestations are caused by them. These termites are also the most economically costly of all US-dwelling termites. Then again, the invasive Formosan subterranean termite can eat through wood more rapidly than native eastern subterranean termites. Formosan termite populations are also out of control in the Gulf region of the US. Formosan termite colonies can contain millions of individual termites. Ultimately, Formosan termites cause far less damage to structures than eastern subterranean termites do within a year. This is because Formosan termite habitats are limited solely to the Gulf region and a few southeastern states. When considering termites from a global perspective, Formosan termites may be the most damaging of all termite species. This is because Formosan termites are considered the most destructive termite pests in most countries where they are native.

If you moved to the Gulf region of the US tomorrow, would you worry about Formosan termite infestations more so than you worried about eastern subterranean termites in your original home?


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