Formosan Termite Swarmer
Formosan termites are non-native pests that were first found in the state in 1984. Today, they occur in portions of 25 southern Mississippi counties and their range is slowly expanding. The damage they cause is similar to that of native, eastern subterranean termites, but Formosan termites have larger colonies, are more aggressive in attacking buildings and can cause more damage in less time. Formosan termite swarmers are light brown in color and, including their wings, are about ½ inch long. Swarm season is usually around late April to mid-May. Unlike eastern subterranean termites, which swarm during the day, Formosan termite usually swarm shortly after dark and the swarmers are attracted to lights. In heavily infested neighborhoods, huge numbers of swarmers may be seen flying around street lights. Seeing large numbers of swarmers inside a building is an indication that the building has an active termite infestation and needs to be professionally treated. Seeing large numbers of Formosan termite swarmers flying in areas outside a building is an indication that Formosan termites are present in the area and that all buildings in the area need to be properly protected from termites.
Control: Treatment for Formosan termites is similar to that for eastern subterranean termites, but if you live in an area where Formosan termites are established, it is especially important to be sure your home is protected from termites. Termite control is not a do-it-yourself project! You need to hire a licensed commercial pest control company for this job. See Extension Publication 2568, Protect Your House from Termites for information on termite biology, how to hire a pest control company, and how to avoid conditions that increase risks of termite attack. Page 7 of this publication contains a map showing counties where Formosan termites are known to occur. If you plan on building a house soon, see Extension Publication 2765, What Homebuilders Need To Know About Termites.
Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service.
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