Formosan Subterranean Termite
The formosan subterranean termite is known for its exceptionally destructive habits and for the large size of its colonies, which may reach hundreds of feet in diameter. This subterranean termite species originated in East Asia and now infests regions of the US that experience a warm, moist climate. The Southeastern US, California and Hawaii are among the areas commonly affected by the formosan subterranean termite.
Like other subterranean termite species, the formosan subterranean termite typically establishes colonies under the soil outside of a dwelling before making its way into the residence through a series of mud tubes. In addition to damaging residential buildings, the formosan species may devour live timber, ships, utility structures and other sources of wood. It has been estimated that in the areas infested by the formosan termite, these pests cause approximately $1 billion in pest control and property repair. 
Characteristics of Formosan Termites
The formosan subterranean termite is found only in areas with a mild, moist climate. In the spring months, especially after a rain, the formosan species may be seen swarming around a house. These reproductive insects leave the nest during swarming season in search of mates, so that they can form new colonies elsewhere. You may also see piles of discarded insect wings inside or around your house, indicating that swarming season has begun.
Formosan termites build large colonies underground, which may take years to grow to their full size. A full-sized colony may have millions of members and extend for hundreds of feet. These subterranean insects often like to form their colonies in damp soil near a water supply and a source of wood. The species is capable of making its way through the soil into a home by building substantial mud tunnels, which may run through the foundation of a home and into the crawl space, or along the sizes of the building.
Once they’ve invaded a building, the formosan subterranean termite is capable of causing more damage than other species within a shorter period of time. After traveling from their subterranean colony and establishing themselves inside a house, these insects may form secondary colonies inside the building itself. The secondary colonies are often formed in areas of the home that offer an abundant supply of damp wood, like the wood paneling near a leaky pipe or appliance.
Killing the Formosan Termite
Because of its aggressive feeding and foraging habits, the formosan subterranean termite can cause extensive destruction within a matter of months. Eradicating this termite species quickly and efficiently is a top priority as soon as the problem has been identified. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover termite damage, which means that the homeowner may be liable for expensive repairs. As soon as you see signs of activity, contact a licensed pest control professional for an inspection of your house and the surrounding area.
Professional pest control services have access to liquid termiticides, which are applied with wands or rods into the soil or into structural fixtures of the home itself. These chemicals form a subterranean barrier which can eradicate termites as they make their way from the soil to the home. In addition to these subterranean treatments, baits may be installed in areas where the insects forage for food. These baits are constructed with a material that contains cellulose, such as wood or cardboard, and are monitored by pest control professionals.
In their search for wood containing materials, the pests devour the baits, which are implanted with chemicals that are toxic to these insects. The worker insects share these toxic substances with other colony members after they have returned to the soil. When used in conjunction with liquid termiticides, baits are an effective method for eradicating these wood destroying pests. This particular strategy of combining a chemical shield with baits may eliminate the formosan subterranean termite from your property.
When you schedule an extermination, ask your pest control provider whether it guarantees its services. While most reliable providers will not guarantee permanent extermination, many companies offer a bond, or a legal contract which ensures that the company will reapply treatments or even repair the building if an infestation recurs. Because the formosan subterranean termite is so pernicious and destructive, it is important to clarify whether the exterminator has a long term plan in place for keeping your house free from these insects.
The formosan subterranean termite is a formidable pest. If you suspect that your house has been invaded by this species or any other wood destroying insect, contact a licensed inspector immediately. A professional inspector will carefully assess the property around your house and the residence itself in search of activity. You’ll have greater peace of mind about the security of your property once you’ve discussed treatment methods with reliable, experienced professionals.
 https://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/oct98/term1098.htm 09/28/2011