Asian subterranean termites spread to West Florida

Asian subterranean termites spread to West Florida

Asian subterranean termitea tropical species not native to the United States, was first detected in Tampaone of the main cities on the west coast of Florida, outside the area where it had been previously found.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) released a statement Tuesday detailing that they confirmed. the presence of these termites, whose scientific name is Coptotermes gestroiin Hillsborough County, where Tampa is located.

He has emphasized that the finding “indicates that are expanding their territory in the state” and that researchers are concerned about the abundance of specimens that Hillsborough pest control operators found and sent for identification since early March.

“This invasive subterranean termite species is not only a major structural pest, as it also can cause serious damage to urban trees“, said Thomas Chouvenc, professor of urban entomology at the UF/IFAS Research and Education Center.

Chouvenc has said that Asian subterranean termite colonies. “often infest and hollow out large, healthy trees.”

The infestation in Tampa is of concern

Research, by Chouvenc, has confirmed that Asian subterranean termites are now established in south Tampa, a fact ratified by pest control companies using the UF/IFAS identification service.

Researchers estimate that the initial infestation may have occurred 7 to 10 years ago.although only now was it possible to detect it.

“The presence of this termite in Tampa constitutes the northernmost point of infestation in the state, implying that. other cities on the west coast of Floridasouth of Tampa, are potentially at risk of becoming established in the next few years or are already established but have not been detected,” he said.

Known as the “tropical relative” of the Formosan subterranean termite.increasingly contributes to the billions of dollars annually in structural damage caused by termites.

The termite came to Miami first

The Asian subterranean termite was detected for the first time in the late 1990s in Miami and had so far spread to four cities in southeast Florida, including Riviera Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Key West.

“Until now, Asian subterranean termite has been restricted to southeast Florida because it requires the tropical climate,” Chouvenc has said.

Regarding the Formosan subterranean termite.the communiqué emphasizes that in the last four decades it has increased its distribution area and poses a potential risk of damage in most major cities in Florida, from Miami to Jacksonville.

A mature colony including millions of termites. may produce winged termites per season that fly in large swarms.

“When winged termites fly from a docked shipthey can form colonies on the land near the ship and, if the weather is appropriate, settle and become part of the local ecosystem,” he explained.

Asian subterranean termites are initially detected in treeswhere colonies begin to form in mud tubes made of soil and wood combined with their saliva.

Researchers recommend periodic tree inspections for termite activity to promote early detection in areas where infestations are confirmed.

Kayleigh Williams