Which Group Of Termite Pests In The US Are Absent From Louisiana, And Which Termite Pest Species In The State Originate From Other Countries?

There are three types of termites in the US, and each one differs in habitat and foraging requirements. These termite groups are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites, and multiple species from each group are known for infesting structural woodwork in homes and buildings. Dampwood termite species can only be found in the western states and Florida, and due to their pronounced reliance on high-moisture conditions, they only infest woods that have decayed from excessive water absorption. The relatively small number of dampwood termite structural infestations that occur in the US often see nymphs and psueogrates (analogous to subterranean termite workers) attack unpainted, unvarnished, and sometimes, unprocessed wood, but they may inflict damage to the hardwood flooring in old homes in advanced infestation cases. Dampwood termites rarely establish economically costly infestations, and they cannot be found in Louisiana.

Many species of drywood termite have been documented in the US, and their habitat is limited solely to the southern states. A total of four drywood termite pest species attack homes and buildings in Louisiana, two of which are not native to the state. These species are commonly known as West Indian drywood powderpost termites (Cryptotermes brevis) and the western drywood termite (Incisitermes minor), and these two species may be the most destructive drywood termite pests in Louisiana. The powderpost termite has established an invasive habitat in tropical areas all over the globe, and it is the most widespread drywood termite species in the world.

Due to genetic changes resulting from this species’ worldwide establishment, determining its native origin is difficult, but most experts agree that powderpost termites are native to the neotropics. Interestingly, and unlike other drywood termite pest species, powderpost termites are never found infesting wood in the natural environment; instead, colonies are found solely in structural wood, wood furniture, and other wood items that are frequently shipped over long distances. The western drywood termite is native to the southwestern US, and it’s the most economically costly drywood termite pest in the country. This species was first discovered in Louisiana in 1999 when an infested tree branch was recovered from Louis Armstrong Park. Shortly after this branch was found, an extensive western drywood termite infestation was found spanning multiple floors in the nearby Perseverance Hall building.

Can you recognize the difference between drywood termite swarmers and subterranean termite swarmers?

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