Louisiana is home to a relatively high number of termite species, a sizable minority of which are pests that infest woodwork. At least nine termite pest species inhabit Louisiana, four of which are drywood termite species, while the other five are subterranean termite species. With the exception of both the West Indian powderpost and the southeastern drywood termite species in the south, all of these termite pests can be found throughout Louisiana. However, termite pest species are most concentrated near the coast where frequent rainfall, wet landscapes, and high humidity provide the wood-eating pests with an ideal habitat that allows them to thrive year round. The most economically costly termite pest species in Louisiana is the invasive Formosan subterranean termite, which was first discovered in the state during the mid 20th century. It was not until the late 1970s that these highly destructive pests emerged in massive numbers throughout the French Quarter, and today, this species is responsible for well over half a billion dollars in property damage annually in Louisiana alone.
Drywood termites live in colonies that are entirely contained with single pieces of wood, such as logs, fallen branches, stumps, and occasionally, structural wood in homes as well as wooden furniture and other movable wood items. Since drywood termites live entirely within single wood items, their colonies are quite small, as they grow to contain a few thousand individuals at maturity, while subterranean termite colonies that are located below the ground grow to contain between 20,000 to as many as two million individuals at maturity. Amazingly, mature Formosan subterranean termite colonies have a whopping ten million individuals. Because of this, a Formosan colony can eat away at wood at a much faster rate than a native subterranean termite colony. Also, unlike native subterranean termites, Foromosans frequently establish aerial nests in attics and other high points where they do not maintain ground contact. While subterranean termite colonies see workers invade homes from the ground up, swarming alates that emerge from Formosan colonies can establish aerial colonies from the air. Although rare, Formosan alates sometimes fly short distances off the Louisiana coast where they establish infestations in boats, piers, and harbors. Not long ago, a Formosan infestation was discovered on a boat that had not been on land for decades. The boat was ultimately fumigated at sea, which was probably one of the most difficult structural fumigations ever carried out.
Have you ever found a Formosan subterranean termite nest in a tree?Tags: Boat Termites, Termite Control, Termite Inspection