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Homeowners be aware that there is a new termite in town that can cause 4 times the amount of damage!

Termites have wreaked havoc in California properties for a long, long time — and now there’s a new enemy called Formosan Termites, a new “super termite” species, invade our communities.

Formosan Termite damage can be very difficult to control and costly to correct, so it’s important to catch them early! Below is some basic guidance and infestation signs to watch for.

According to the National Pest Management Association, Formosan Termites are a subterranean species of “super termites” — the most voracious and aggressive of more than 2,000 termite species. They can chew through wood, flooring, wallpaper… even electric cables.

How to Spot Formosan Termites

Knowing what type of termite you’re dealing with is essential because each species differs biologically and requires different control methods. Formosan Termite swarmers (winged reproductive) are often confused with flying ants, and it’s best to have a licensed pest control professional make the identification.

That said, Formosan Termites are pale yellow to brownish yellow in color, with translucent wings that are densely covered with small hairs. The presence of swarmers or discarded wings is a sure sign of infestation. Swarmers are often attracted to light, so keep an eye out for them or their discarded wings near windowsills, doors, lights and vents.

Another sign of Formosan Termite infestation is damaged wood that sounds hollow when tapped, or that appears to have been eaten away along the grain pattern. Other signs include mud tunnels from the ground to your home, which may appear on drywall or along floors.

Termites also leave behind droppings that look like salt and pepper, or multicolored coffee grounds. Look for these near wood trims, doorways, inside or outside windows, the sides of your garage door, or exterior walls.

“Because of their aggressive nature, Formosan Termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure,” cautions the National Pest Management Association. “In addition to structures, Formosans infest living trees and shrubs, utility poles, landscape timbers, wooden railroad trusses and even boats. They are also known to chew through the coverings of telephone and electric cable insulation, resulting in costly damage and power outages,” they add.

Control & Prevention

Formosan Termite damage can get out of hand quickly, so it’s important to catch and address the infestation as soon as possible. The American Society of Home Inspectors recommends scheduling annual termite inspections and practicing preventive habits, including the following:

  • Eliminate sources of moisture, both inside and outside the home.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of your home.
  • Check the foundation periodically for signs of mud tubes, visibly damaged wood, and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.

Though they’re classified as subterranean termites, Formosan Termites are the toughest to eliminate, requiring 400% more gas and subterranean bait. In recent weeks, Formosan Termites have been found in San Diego, San Fernando Valley, and Hollywood.

Ecola offers a Free Termite & Pest Control Inspection to help you identify what you’re dealing with. When you schedule your free inspection, we’ll send a licensed technician to your home to diagnose any issues or vulnerabilities, and educate you on your options. It won’t cost you a dime and you’ll learn a lot!

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