Insects: Formosan Termite (Coptotermes formosanus)

Origin and Date of Introduction: East Asia; about 1960s.

Pathway / Media: Shipping routes and highway corridors; wooden pallets in ships, railroad ties, and lumber.

Reason for Introduction: Accidental, to various Gulf of Mexico ports.

Preferred Habitat: Wooden structures, trees, insulation.

Ecological / Economic Damage: About $1 billion per year spent for control and damage; weakens structures, trees; adds to costs of homeownership; threatens historical structures. Invasive Formosan termites devour wood at rates far faster than native termites, and can penetrate plaster, plastic, and other materials in seeking new food source.

Control Options: Termiticides; proper disposal of old wood; elimination of moisture sources near structures.

Formosan Termite

Photo: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture

Futher Reading: USDA Invasive Species Information Center