Albin Exterminating  (361) 729-2370 -- 1902 S.H. 35 Bypass   Rockport, TX 78382

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Formosan Termites

What are formosan termites?  The formosan termite is a non-native termite that was first discovered in the coastal bend by Albin Exterminating in  June of 1997 (Click to read story in Caller Times).  It is classified as a subterranean termite like our native species, but it�s behavior can be quite different.

How is it different from our native subterranean termite?  It differs in many ways.  One big difference is colony size.  A large colony of native subterranean termites (reticuletermes flavipes) may have a million or more individuals in the colony.  Formosan colonies can be up to 6-8 million.  The sizes of the individual termites is very similar, but the formosan colony has a lot more mouths working on a food source.  Formosan can also live for extended periods of time even after being cut off from their water source.  They produce a  matrix of dirt, fecal material, and wood pulp called carton. (insert pic) This carton material is very good at holding moisture, and when the termites cannot reach their normal source of moisture they can live for many months off of the water in the carton material.

Since the colony size is so much larger, does this mean the damage occurs more quickly?  Yes.  It has been our experience that damage can occur at 5-8 times the rate that our native termites do damage.  That being said, it is very difficult to quantify termite damage since size of the particular colony, access to moisture, and some other things figure in to the rate at which damage progresses.

Will formosan termites eat things other than wood?  They will consume many materials that have some degree of cellulose in them.  Wallboard, cloth, cardboard, and paper are all at risk.  They will also eat through other non-cellulose materials to get to a food or water source.  Plastic pipe, foam insulation, and even this sheet metals have all been damaged or penetrated by formosan termites.

I've heard that the soldiers will actually attack people.  Is this true.  No.  If a colony is disturbed, the soldiers will take up a defensive position to guard the colony, and if provoked will latch onto your finger or skin.  This is painless and does not even break the skin.

I've heard of �flying termites�.  Do formosan termites fly?  All of our property infesting termites have a swarming stage where they fly.  The winged reproductives (alates) of formosan termites typically swarm from early May until early June.  These swarms occur following a rainy or damp time, and will occur after mid-day typically towards evening.  The swarms are usually quite large with up to several thousand termites not being unusually large.  The alates will have 4 wings of equal size that are shed shortly after swarming occurs, they will be tan or light brown in color, and they will have a single body segment.  (insert pic)   (insert Ed�s swarming footage)

Can formosan termites be controlled?  Controlled, yes.  Eliminated, no one really knows.  Even though colony elimination can be demonstrated in the lab, it cannot be proven in the field.  Treatment with liquid termiticides, baits, and termiticide foams are all effective tools in protecting property from termites, including formosans.

Do I need to tent fumigate if my house has formosans?  Except in extremely rare circumstances, no.

Do you offer a warranty on formosan termite treatments?  Yes. 

You have said that you might need to open walls when you treat for formosans, another company didn�t mention needing to do that.  Why the difference?  Remember the carton material?  We will open walls to treat and clean out the carton material.  This is more cost effective than having to repair more damage at a later point due to the carton material supporting live termites for months on end.  We are very good at treating termites, but there are others that you should contract with to do repairs.  We will work closely with your chosen contractor to assist where we can.

Do you offer termite baiting programs for formosnas?  Yes, but we also spot treat with liquid termiticides to hasten an end to ongoing damage.  Baiting programs are effective, but can sometimes take a long time to get control if used as a stand alone treatment.  We would rather treat aggressively to protect the property, and utilize the baits to further reduce the population pressure on your home.

How did Albin Exterminating get to be experts on formosan termites?  Prior to the termites being found in 1997, we had read up on them, and had learned about them from various workshops and schools that we had attended.  Dr. Roger Gold from Texas A&M University did an outstanding job of preparing us for what might be coming.  He also was the entomologist of record who confirmed our discovery of formosan termites in 1997.  We spent hours with A&M in the year following our discovery, and Drs. Gold and Howell spent much time in Rockport following the discovery.  We also flew to New Orleans and spent time with a pest management professional and an entomologist from the New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board learning about control techniques.  They had about 25 more years experience than we, so we were eager to learn from them.  We feel it was time very well spent.

 

 

 

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