Now that we are approaching the end of May it is safe to say that several termite species are now swarming within every region of Louisiana. This time of year sees the greatest degree of termite swarm activity in the state, which means that many residents are now being reminded that winged termites (alates) can be serious pests in their own right. Swarming alates may not pose a threat to your home’s structural wood, as foraging worker termites do, but frequent swarms can become particularly annoying to homeowners in Louisiana who have found themselves in the middle of indoor swarming events in the past. Massive swarms of multiple termite species can be hard to ignore when they emerge simultaneously within urban and residential areas, but Louisiana residents are probably more concerned with the growing Formosan subterranean termite presence within the state.
If you have ever spent a summer within any Gulf Coast state, then there is a good chance that you have heard of Formosan subterranean termites. Unlike native termite species, the invasive Formosan termite infests a wide variety of tree species as well as structural woods. Formosans generally limit their infestations of natural wood sources to dead trees only, but the destructive capacity of these termites have caused many of New Orleans’ beloved oak trees to become weak, wilted, defoliated and discolored.
Before the invasive Formosan termite population exploded in New Orleans, the majestic oak trees that proudly lined the city’s streets provided residents with a picturesque view of the surrounding urban landscape. These days, it is clear that past and ongoing Formosan termite infestations have destroyed a large number of these oak trees. Many infested trees have been removed in order to protect the public from being crushed by specimens that can barely stand due the damage inflicted by the termites. Despite these frequent tree removals, the city is full of oaks that are ready to fall over at any time.
A few months ago, an infested oak tree finally fell over and landed in a Lakeside resident’s yard. The resident told reporters that the tree had been infested with termites and that it was only a matter of time before it fell over. This situation could have been far more tragic, as the resident’s daughter had been playing within the yard only 20 minutes before the tree fell over.
Were you aware that trees in the US could become infested with termites?