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How Formosan Subterranean Termites Led To The Development Of Highly Effective Termite Baits

While Formosan subterranean termites are the most common subterranean termites in Louisiana, as well as the most destructive, three other subterranean termites can also be found infesting structures in the state. Unlike the Formosan subterranean termite, all subterranean termite pests in Louisiana are native to the state, and as many homeowners in Louisiana have learned from experience, Formosan subterranean termites are quite different from native subterranean termites in terms of pest behavior. This is understandable given the Formosan subterranean termite’s non-native and invasive status in the US. In fact, Formosan subterranean termites and native subterranean termites do not even belong to the same genus. Formosans belong to the Coptotermes genus, while native subterranean termites belong to the Reticulermes genus.

Coptotermes termite species are well known to be a particularly destructive group of termites, and the genus comprises more than 70 species, most of which can be found in Asia and Australia. While Reticulermes species can also be found in Asia, these species are particularly abundant in more temperate regions of the world, notably the United States. Unsurprisingly, when the Formosan subterranean termite first invaded New Orleans in large numbers during the 1980s, pest control professionals were at a loss as to how these exotic termites could be controlled. Luckily, numerous pest control methods that adequately control Formosans have been developed in recent years, and although Formosans remain difficult to control, some termite control remedies eliminate Formosan subterranean termite infestations more effectively than native subterranean termite infestations.

Early insecticides that had long been effective for controlling native subterranean termites quickly proved ineffective for controlling Formosan subterranean termites, and the Formosan remains relatively resistant to insecticides to this day. However, researchers have found that Formosan workers tend to stick with one food source until the source is depleted, while native subterranean termite workers are more apt to jump from food source to food source. This makes baits particularly effective for exterminating Formosan colonies, as Formosans are less likely than native subterranean termites to abandon bait sources once they are discovered by foraging workers. Today, baits are one of the most effective and environmentally friendly methods of eliminating all subterranean termite species, and their development can be largely attributed to the initial challenge of eliminating Formosans with traditional insecticides.

Do you have experience with both Formosan and native subterranean termite pest issues?

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