Formosan termites are an invasive species that threatens homes across the Southern United States. These voracious insects can cause severe damage if unnoticed and left uncontrolled. Formosan termites, unlike ants, are capable of necessitating tens of thousands of dollars of needed repairs in a very short time.

    Homeowners currently or formerly dealing with Formosan termites need an effective treatment plan to protect their properties. I worked for one of the largest pest control companies in the United States, so believe me when I say you’re saving a ton of money by investing in a termite treatment plan vs. dealing with the costs of structural damages caused by Formosan termites left unchecked.

    Read on below, where I explain everything you need to know about how to get rid of Formosan termites thoroughly and safely.

    What Are Formosan Termites?

    Formosan termites (Coptotermes formosanus) are a species of underground-dwelling termite native to Asia. They were accidentally introduced in the continental United States after World War II. These termites thrive in warm climates and have spread across states like Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

    The Formosan termite is considered one of the most destructive termite species. A single large colony may contain several million worker termites that can consume up to 13 ounces of wood per day.

    Unlike termites native to the United States, Formosan termites can infest living trees and plants. They build large, ground-level carton nests that allow them to maintain moisture.

    Formosan termites swarm at night in late spring and summer. Swarmers are drawn to light and may accumulate around windows and doors. After swarming, kings and queens drop to the ground, shed their wings, and search for a nesting site. The rest of the colony remains underground.

    Signs of a Formosan Termite Infestation

    Homeowners may spot the first signs of Formosan termites when alates swarm inside their home. These winged reproducing individuals shed their wings and try to start a colony. You may find piled wings around windows, doors, and light fixtures.

    Signs of an existing colony include:

    • Mud tubes on foundation walls, support piers, and other wood structures. Termites build these tubes to travel between their nests and food sources.
    • Wood damage such as hollowed frames, wood that sounds hollow when tapped, and cracked paint or drywall. Formosan termites excavate wood from the inside out.
    • Temporary swarmers emerging inside the home, especially at night in spring and summer. These indicate an active termite colony nearby.

    Homeowners suspecting a termite infestation should contact a pest management professional promptly to schedule a termite inspection. Trained inspectors check for signs of termites in vulnerable areas such as attics, crawl spaces, and basements. Advanced tools like moisture meters and thermal imaging help detect hidden activity.

    How to Get Rid of Formosan Termites

    When it comes to Formosan termite control, homeowners have three options: liquid termiticide treatment, termite bait systems, and preventive treatments.

    Traditional termite treatments involve trenching around a home’s foundation and injecting a liquid termiticide into the soil. Termites crossing the chemical barrier are eliminated. A professional will also treat vulnerable areas inside the home.

    Liquid termiticides provide an immediate barrier against termites, but the treatment may need to be reapplied every three to five years. Some homeowners prefer to avoid harsh chemical termiticides around their properties.

    Termite baits take advantage of the pests’ natural foraging behavior. Bait stations containing cellulose material are installed around the exterior of the home and inspected regularly — if termites are present, the material is replaced with a slow-acting poison.

    Foraging termites ingest the toxin and share it with others in the colony through their mouths. This eventually kills the queen, collapsing the colony. It may take several months, but bait systems provide effective control without spraying chemicals.

    The best Formosan termite control starts before an infestation even occurs. When building a new home, install features like concrete foundations and metal mesh. Eliminate wood contact with the soil. 

    Homeowners can also reduce termite risks by:

    • Removing accumulations of mulch or debris near the foundation
    • Fixing plumbing leaks and improper drainage
    • Pruning tree branches away from the roof
    • Storing firewood off the ground and far from the home

    Taking preventive measures limits termite access and reduces the risk of costly damage. But even with diligent DIY pest control, working with a pest management professional provides a needed layer of protection.

    Professional Formosan Termite Treatment

    Dealing with a Formosan termite infestation requires professional-grade products and treatment methods.

     Pest management experts have the tools and knowledge to:

    • Pinpoint the location of colonies around your property
    • Apply targeted liquid termiticide barriers
    • Install a comprehensive termite bait system
    • Treat inaccessible areas inside your home’s walls

    Technicians are trained to safely use termiticides around families and pets. Treatment plans can also be customized based on the extent of the infestation and the home’s construction.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Professional exterminators stay up to date on the latest techniques for controlling termite pests. They know how to adjust their protocols to match the behaviors of invasive species like the Formosan termite. This expertise makes them more successful than DIYers at eliminating current infestations and preventing future ones.

    Cost to Treat Formosan Termites

    Since every home is different, termite control treatment costs can vary. That said, once termites gain entry and set up shop in your home, it doesn’t take long for termites to cause serious damage. On average, expect to invest $1,200 to $1,500 for a basic liquid termiticide treatment around a home’s perimeter. At $1,500 to $2,500, baiting systems cost more upfront but provide long-term monitoring and control without repeat applications.

    Factors impacting the price of termite treatment include:

    • Home size and foundation type
    • Extent of infestation
    • Additional indoor treatment needs
    • Termite colony location

    To determine the exact costs for your specific situation, schedule an inspection with a certified pest management professional. Most provide free, no-obligation estimates.

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    So, Is Formosan Termite Treatment Worth It?

    An infestation of Formosan termites threatens your home’s structural integrity and value. These invasive pests can cause many thousands of dollars in damage if left unchecked. The expense of professional termite treatment pales in comparison to that of repairs needed after an infestation has persisted over time.

    Investing in an annual termite inspection and control plan brings peace of mind. Stopping termites before they spread protects your valuable property. Although treatment costs seem high at first, they amount to only a few dollars per month averaged over the long term.

    For homeowners in Southern states, inspecting for and treating Formosan termites is a wise investment because many home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by termites. Work with a pest control expert to implement an integrated plan designed specifically for your property. Detecting and managing these invasive pests quickly can help avert severe destruction.

    FAQs About Getting Rid of Formosan Termites

    What is the best way to eliminate an existing Formosan termite infestation?

    A combination of liquid termiticide application and an ongoing bait system monitoring program provides the most thorough treatment. The termiticide creates an immediate lethal barrier while the bait provides long-term control.

    When is the best time to treat for Formosan termites?

    The peak swarming period is late spring to early summer. Treatment during this active season allows pest control experts to locate and target nesting sites, but inspections and treatments can be performed year round in warmer climates.

    Do it yourself pest control or hire a professional for termites?

    DIY termite treatment options are limited compared to those of professionals. Liquid termiticides available to regular consumers typically don’t provide the same level of effectiveness. Pest control experts have the proper training, tools, and products to inspect thoroughly and treat correctly. Their expertise gives professional Formosan termite treatments the best chance for success.

    Does homeowner’s insurance cover termite damage?

    Most standard policies do not cover termite damage. However, additional riders are available to cover treatment costs plus repairs in the event termites infest the dwelling. Speak with your insurance agent about your termite risks.

    How long does a termite treatment last?

    Depending on the products used, termiticide barriers can provide three to five years of protection before reapplication is needed. Termite baiting systems provide ongoing control as long as stations remain monitored and maintained. Annual inspections help ensure your past treatment is still actively protecting your home.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas

    Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas

    Expert Writer & Reviewer

    Jordan Tyler Quinn Farkas is a globetrotting content writer hailing from the USA. With a passion for pest control, he brings a unique perspective to his writing from his early years working for one of the largest pest control companies in America. Throughout his early 20s, Jordan gained valuable experience and knowledge in the field, tackling pest infestations head-on and ensuring the well-being of countless homes.

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    photo of Lee Ann Merrill

    Lee Ann Merrill

    Chicago-based Lee Ann Merrill has decades of experience writing and editing across a wide range of technical and scientific subjects. Her love of DIY, gardening, and making led her to the realm of creating and honing quality content for homeowners. When she's not working on her craft, you can find her exploring her city by bike and plotting international adventures.

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