What is that new termite in Florida that also eats live trees?
Monday, April 26, 2021
It’s been tagged as the “Asian termite” because they originated in Southeast Asia, but a proper taxonomic designation is "Captotermes gestroi." This new pest in Florida poses a double threat: they consume the wood structure of buildings just like other termites, but also attack live trees. And, because Asians work from the core of the trunk outward, weakening it, the damage is not visible until a storm topples an otherwise healthy-looking tree.
Structural damage of homes from Asian subterranean termites can become severe in a short time, and the Asian's voracious consumption of cellulose is comparable to their famous cousin, the Formosan termite. They also look similar to Formosans and require examination under a magnifying glass by a pest professional to confirm identification.
Although in the news and on the radar of pest control companies lately, they were first discovered in a church in Miami back in 1996 and have been slowly spreading aross South Florida and gaining notoriety over the years. Luckily for those of us in the upper part of the state, the Asian termite’s northward march will probably end around Palm Beach Gardens because they are a tropical species.
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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:
Photo: Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, University of Florida
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