Due to its widespread distribution in the US, the native eastern subterranean termite (EST) inflicts more annual property damage than any other termite species in the country. The invasive Formosan subterranean termite’s (FST) habitat, on the other hand, is largely limited to the Gulf Coast states, particularly eastern Texas, the entirety of Louisiana, and Florida.
Since the FST inhabits relatively small areas in the US, this species naturally does not cause as much annual property damage in the country as more widespread native species. However, the FST is easily the dominant termite in every local region where it can be found. For example, Louisiana is home to eight highly destructive termite species, but the non-native FST is easily the most devastating species throughout the state, especially in southern cities, like New Orleans, Lafayette and Baton Rouge.
Although figures vary, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center states that FSTs cause 500 million dollars in property damage each year in Louisiana alone, and despite being absent from most states, FSTs cause at least 1 billion dollars in property damage each year nationwide.
The maximum size of an EST colony rarely exceeds 1 million individuals, but mature FST colonies contain ten times this amount, at least. In addition to their large colonies, FSTs outshine all other termites in the country by locating food more rapidly and tunneling through soil at higher speeds and over greater distances.
An unearthed network of foraging galleries surrounding one single FST nest in Louisiana was found to span 1.4 acres, and the total length of the galleries were measures at 1,900 feet. The depth of the foraging galleries generally varied between 5 and 117 cm below the ground, but some areas saw galleries dip as far as 3 meters. The primary nest was found 48 cm below the ground, and the nest itself was 53 cm wide and 48 cm high.
Have you ever become annoyed with FST swarming around your porch or indoor lights?
Tags: Formosan Termite Nest, Termite Nest