Louisiana may not be the smallest state in terms of area, but it is not even close to being the largest either. According to an official list that ranks America’s 50 states by size in terms of area, Louisiana falls within the middle to lower half of the states at number 33. Despite Louisiana’s modest size, the state is home to an unusually high number of termite pest species. To be more specific, Louisiana contains more termite pest species than Texas, which is hard to believe considering that the area of Texas is seven times greater than that of Louisiana’s. Louisiana also beats its other neighbors, Mississippi and Arkansas, in terms of termite species diversity. Based on these comparisons, it can be inferred that populations of multiple termite species overlap in most areas within Louisiana. In other words, all residential and urban areas within Louisiana must see multiple termite species. Since termites operate below soil and beneath the surface of wood where they cannot be easily observed, estimating the population size of particular species within certain areas is not easy. However, shortly after the invasive Formosan subterranean termite species became an economically devastating insect pest in Louisiana, researchers carried out an exhaustive study that revealed which termite species are most abundant in the state, and where each species is most likely to be found.
There exists eight documented termite species that infest structures in Louisiana, the most significant of which include various subterranean and drywood species. According to a scientific survey lasting for three years during the late 90s and early 2000s, the eastern subterranean termite (R. flavipes) was found to be the most abundant termite species around homes and buildings in the state. This species was collected a total of 177 times in all areas of Louisiana, while the second most abundant species in the state, native subterranean termites (R. hageni), was collected a total of 65 times in all areas of the state. Another species that is commonly referred to as the “native subterranean termite” (R. virginicus) was collected 64 times in all areas of the state. The dreaded Formosan subterranean termite (C. formanosus) was collected 40 times, but almost never in areas farther north than Baton Rouge. However, researchers have confirmed that Formosan termite populations now cover the entirety of Louisiana, and this species likely follows only the eastern subterranean termite species in terms of population size in Louisiana today
Were you under the impression that the Formosan subterranean termite was the most abundant termite species in Louisiana?