Where In Louisiana Can The Three Most Destructive Termite Species Be Found?

It is well known that the most destructive termite species in Louisiana is the invasive Formosan subterranean termite, but two other species in the state are also quite destructive. These two species are commonly known as eastern subterranean termites and southeastern drywood termites, and while they may not be as damaging to homes as Formosan subterranean termites, they infest homes just as frequently in the northern half of the state.

Eastern subterranean termites infest homes throughout Louisiana, and they are the most widespread termites in the US, as they can be found in every state east of the Mississippi River, as well as most states west of the Mississippi. These termites are ecologically beneficial due to their activity in Louisiana’s forest ecosystem where they recycle dead wood. Unfortunately, eastern subterranean termite colonies are abundant beneath homes and buildings in urban and suburban areas of the state.

Occasionally, residents witness eastern subterranean termite swarms in residential areas during the spring season in Louisiana. Winged termites are often referred to as “swarmers,” but they are actually called “alates,” and they are the only caste of termites that are visible to people. Worker, soldier, and royal termites must remain in moist soil, and if they become exposed to the dry outside air they will rapidly dessicate and die. Workers are the only termites that infest moist wood, as soldiers, nymphs and royal termites are unable to feed themselves; instead, these termites must be fed by workers.

Eastern subterranean termite alates are ⅜ of an inch in length, including their wings which are longer than their bodies. Their wings are white or translucent, and their bodies are black or dark brown in color. Swarms generally emerge in the morning during the spring season, but in New Orleans and other coastal areas they can emerge as early as January. Spotting termite alates congregating on damp wood within residential yards indicates that at least one colony is located nearby, but alates found within a home strongly indicate that an infestation has been established.

Have you ever found dead alates within your home?

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