Florida experiences $40 billion in economic loss each year caused by two of the most destructive termite species, the Asian and Formosan subterranean termite. According to experts those numbers are expected to rise. Why? Because the Asian and Formosan termites are swarming simultaneously and creating hybrid colonies that are growing at an alarming rate in Florida and which have the potential to also migrate to neighboring states.
Super Termite; Hybrid Formosan & Asian Subterranean Termite
Entomologists at the University of Florida have recently documented that both the Asian and Formosan subterranean termites produce literally hundreds of thousands of winged males and reproducing females (alates). While both species have evolved and existed separately for literally thousands of years, they have recently had the opportunity to mate and begin a new super species. Researches have yet to determine if the offspring from the new hybrid species will be fertile or sterile until the new colonies reach approximately 5 years of age which is when the new kings and queens will begin to reproduce. Entomologists caution that even without fertile offspring the potential damage of the hybrid colony will be extreme.
Scientists at the University of Florida previously believed that the two species of termite had very distinct swarming seasons that prevented any interaction. New studies and the associated research indicates that not only is there a period where the two species meet and interbreed, it also indicates that the male Asian termites are mating with Formosan females rather than the females of their own species. In time this intermingling will exponentially increase the risk of hybridization.
Increased Termite Populations Means More Damage to Florida Homes
Researchers are concerned that the combination of genes between the two species will result in colonies that will be capable of developing at twice the rate of the original species which in turn will result in an increase to future property damage. If these new hybridized colonies are capable of producing fertile offspring, this offspring could inherit the invasive traits of both its parents increasing the probability of its ability to swarm and infest other states. Research supports new data that predicts that the new hybrid species is capable of supporting colonies that contain 160 individuals as opposed to the 60 individuals in a single-species colony.
Invasive Species of Termites
Both the Asian and Formosan termites have already spread across many areas around the world. Originating in China, the Formosan subterranean termite is now firmly established throughout the southeastern Unites States. The Asian subterranean termite is a tropical species originally from Southeast Asia and is prevalent in Brazil and the Caribbean Islands, giving it the potential to become the most invasive termite in the world.
Termite Pest Inspections, Prevention, Control & Removal in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Estero and Naples, Florida
Despite their extremely destructive nature, the experts at PestMax have various solutions to protect your home from the invasion of termites as well as treat your home if it is already infested. At PestMax our technicians are educated on new, improved and safe treatment techniques which are available to protect and eradicate termites from local Florida communities. While the threat of a new hybrid species is extremely real, the experts at PestMax are by your side to help educate you and you see through. Contact us today to schedule your termite inspection!