Types of Termites in Louisiana
With the hot and humid climate, Louisiana is the perfect home for several different types of termites including Eastern Subterranean, Formosan, and drywood termites. Louisiana is the most affected state for termite infestation in the United States according to Louisiana State University Agricultural Center. It’s estimated that Louisiana alone suffers $500 million in damages each year. To help you protect yourself against these invaders, those of us at Delta Pest Services have created this termite guide to explain the different types of termites.
The Eastern Subterranean Termites wreak havoc in every state in the nation except Alaska. Termite colonies are divided into workers, soldiers, and alates. Workers feed the colony, soldiers protect the colony, and alates create new colonies during the swarming season – February through May – by branching out and repopulating usually during the day.
The most differentiating aspect of the Eastern Subterranean Termites is their need to build colonies underground. These termites need access to water on a regular basis and keep that access by building their nests within moisture-infused soil. While Eastern Subterranean Termites do have differentiating habits, slightly shorter body features, and an elongated head they are extremely difficult to tell apart from Formosan Termites.
Formosan Termites prefer warmer climates and are mainly found in the Southern States. This type of termite originated in China and migrated to the United States on returning ships during WWII. With as many as 10 million termites in a single colony, this type of termite is often described as the most destructive. Formosan termites divide up their colony into workers, soldier, and alates for efficiency, and tend to be more aggressive when defending their colony.
Unlike Eastern Subterranean termites, Formosan termites can build nests above ground, which are called cartons. These cartons allow the termites to store moisture, which removes the need for them to go back underground every time they need water, allowing them to expand quickly. Formosan termites tend to have a longer body, teardrop-shaped heads on the soldiers, and have higher populations within their colonies. Soldiers in the Formosan colony are much more aggressive than the Eastern Subterranean termite and are similar in color. Formosan termites tend to swarm in May near Mother’s Day, usually at night.
Drywood termites are not as common as Formosan or Eastern Subterranean but can still be found within Louisiana. In fact, we’ve found that drywood termites account for 5 percent of the termite damage in Louisiana. In contrast to their name, drywood termites need high levels of moisture to survive because they get all the moisture they need from the wood they destroy.
While they have much smaller colonies than Formosan or Eastern Subterranean, this type of termite is often difficult to detect as they live completely inside the wood they are infesting. They are also difficult to get rid of because they typically build multiple nests within a home. Drywood termites usually swarm throughout the spring.
The termite swarming season begins in February and doesn’t end until late April or early May. With the weather warming up during these months and the rain coming in to help the flowers grow, the environment becomes the perfect combination of warm and damp for termites to thrive. While we only start to see the termites during the months of February through May, termites are continuously feeding on wood throughout the entire year.
Swarming termites are a specific type of termite that has the main purpose of venturing out and starting new colonies in different locations away from their own. While a swarming termite may only survive a few hours, it is important to remember that many more are ready to replace it and continue the expansion. If you see swarming termites near your home, it is best to call a pest control service like Delta Pest Services quickly as swarming termites are a sign of more damage later down the road.
As the main point of termite swarming season is to find new locations to build nests, it is important to make sure that your home doesn’t become their next target. Termites cause more damage costs each year than fires, floods, or storms combined. In fact, termites cause an estimated $1 billion a year in property damages, repairs, and containment services. To prevent costly damage to your property, be on the lookout for these signs of termite swarming and colonization, which leads to property damage:
- Shelter tubes – mud tubes stuck to your home
- Foraging activity – damage to trees or bushes
- Concealment tubes – mud tubes on wood such as a deck or porch
- Etching – selective damage marks in your wood
- Shoe string or drop tubes – long skinny brown tubes usually found in crawl spaces
- Ceiling drop tubes – long skinny brown tubes found on ceiling beams
What to Do When Termites Swarm
In Louisiana, we commonly have subterranean termites that enter into our homes through the exterior foundation where the earth meets the home. Whether that is behind veneer, through cracks, or through our plumbing, termites are persistent and will enter into your home wherever they can. Properly treating your home before termite swarming season begins and continually throughout the year is crucial to preventing termite damage. Remember, termites are not just active during February through May, they are active all year round. We just happen to see them more often during their swarming season when they’re expanding their colonies.
If you believe you have termites in your home, call Delta Pest Services right away. With termites’ aggressive behavior, waiting for any amount of time could mean thousands of dollars of extra damage to your home. Whether you have Formosan, Eastern Subterranean, or drywood termites, we will identify and clear your home of all termites for your safety. Call 225-230-6600 for a free consultation.