What Are Formosan Termites

Formosan subterranean termites are small white insects which feed on wood. These termites are closely related to the more commonly known Eastern subterranean termite and require similarly moist conditions to survive. Formosan termites construct under ground nests called crown colonies where they infest structures from a distance. Colonies tend to be larger because Formosan termite queens produce offspring faster than any other termite species. As the crown colony grows, the crown colony acts as central hub that feed smaller satellite colonies in the space between infested structures and the primary crown colony. Formosan termites are unique in that they can create satellite colonies within the structure, commonly building satellite colonies on the second floor of a structure. They are able to do this because Formosan termites line their nests with feces to keep the moisture in, whereas their cousins, the Eastern subterranean termite do not. With our warm and sunny climate, Formosan termite infestations can happen any time throughout the year. Formosan termites usually swarm in spring when the ground warms or after rain. Protective mud tubes are the primary source of above ground transportation between the colony and the infested timber. It is common to find evidence of Formosan termites in basements, baseboards or any wood framing buried in soil.

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Formosan Termite Damage

Of the 2,000 known species of termite, Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive, and devious species of them all. Formosan termites threaten the foundation of a structure by undermining the soil and buried wood. If a Formosan termite infestation is ignored, the safety of your home or property may be compromised. Untreated infestations can cost thousands of dollars in damage and almost always require extensive repairs to be made to the concrete slab or foundation of the structure. Formosan termites will also enter a home through cracks in the cement slab or joints of the structure. After entering the home, Formosan termites typically end up in suitably moist locations such as bathrooms or showers.

Signs of a Formosan Termite Infestation

Formosan termites infest structures by drilling mud tubes through the soil to access submerged wood beams and foundations. Mud tube systems are built to tunnel towards the submerged or low to the groun parts of a structure. They will then use the structure as a source of food and to set up satellite colonies, sometimes within the home.

Termite damage is caused from the inside out. Termites hollow out wood, causing damage that is not immediately visible on the outside. If you think you have termites, try tapping the area and listening for a hollow sound. You may also notice damage such as blistering or peeling around the affected area. Termite damage sometimes appears as crack-like lines on your wall, foundation, beams, etc. Those are actually tunnels that the termite colony has eaten through. Pieces of wood or structural beams with smooth tunnels inside them is a sure sign of termite infestation. Formosan termite damage can threaten the safety of a structure by weakening support beams and foundations. They require immediate intervention to prevent structural failure.

Only a state licensed termite inspector can determine if your property has Formosan termites, but it’s time to call us if you see the following signs:

  • Mud tubes
  • Wood shaving piles
  • Termite droppings / frass
  • Moist / wet ground space near the base of the structure
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Termite Inspection Reports

If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a property in San Diego, you will need a full termite inspection report. Our licensed termite inspectors will come to your property and thoroughly investigate the structure for termite damage and signs of infestation. Once that is complete, our technicians will provide the report to the buyer and/or seller. We provide home inspections and commercial real estate inspections.

Formosan Termite Treatment Options

If subterranean termites are found during your termite inspection, fumigation may not be necessary. In these cases, we offer localized treatments to control your termites. Subterranean termites require different types of treatments because they nest within the ground, in what is known as a crown colony. These crown colonies infest buildings from a distance, setting up satellite termite colonies. Evidence of Subterranean termites can be found in sub-areas, baseboards, and attics. Subterranean termites will also enter the home through expansion joints or cracks in the cement slab.

To eliminate subterranean termites, we use combination of structural and soil treatments. Repellent termiticides provide a continuous repellent barrier which prevents termites from entering the structure. Non-repellent baits and applied treatments work within the colony to exterminate termites. Non-repellent termiticides are a newer method of termite control allowing termites to penetrate treated areas where they contact the active termiticide. The termiticide is then carried on the termite's body into the colony, spreading to other termites like a virus. Termiticide baits can also eliminate colonies around structures. Baits contain several different active ingredients; however, this technique does not immediately stop termite foraging activity within the structure.

formosan termite fumigation


During fumigation, the building is tented for 24-48 hours. Vikane gas is then pumped into the sealed structure, replacing the oxygen. Vikane penetrates hard to reach areas like walls voids, attic spaces, eaves and door frames. After treatment, our technicians will remove the tent and air out the structure. We will thoroughly inspect the structure before we allow occupants to return. Fumigation service is warrantied for 3 years after service.

formosan termite heat treatment

Heat Treatment

Heat is a relatively new treatment option for termites. Much like fumigation, heat will penetrate areas of the structure that cannot be reached by traditional pesticide applications. Heat treatments can be completed in a matter of hours and do not require occupants to be out of the house for more than an afternoon.

formosan termite local treatment

Local Treatment

Local treatment is a great option for small scale infestations or smaller budgets. After a thorough inspection is completed, our technicians may recommend localized spot treatment based on their findings. You will not need to leave the house for this treatment and prep, if any, will be minimal.

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Orange Oil

Orange oil is a non-traditional treatment option used to rid exposed wood structures of termites. It works by injecting the product into the wood structures. Orange oil destroys termites and their eggs quickly and without using traditional pesticide methods like fumigation. Service time is quick and easy and doesn’t require you to be out of the home during treatment.

Termite Wood Damage & Structural Defects

Natural forces like earthquakes and tornadoes can cause a wake of destruction. Fortunately, they have taught us something about the kind of home they are most likely to damage. It turns out that strong forces “pick on” homes and buildings that have structural defects. Homes that are well built and maintained are more likely to come through a major calamity in much better shape.

A structural defect can be the result of a design or construction flaw and makes your home weaker. Weakening can also be caused by anything that attacks the structural wood. This includes beetles, fungi, termites and carpenter ants. Unchecked, these pests can reduce the strength of wood by as much as 80%, leaving your home susceptible to widespread damage. The stronger the force, the more likely that force will cause severe, and perhaps irreparable, damage to the home.

The porch column that has a masonry exterior can conceal termite- damaged wood inside. The column could break during an earthquake. Had the wood been intact, the column may very well have come through unharmed. Be vigilant in keeping your home in good repair and free of wood-destroying pests. Don’t hesitate to have inaccessible areas opened so they can be inspected for hidden damage.

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Termite Trouble Spots

Any structure with wood looks and smells like a big juicy steak to termites. These pests have an uncanny ability to locate wood both by smell and by random searching, even when dirt, cement, or stucco hides the wood. There are certain situations that encourage problems with termites. Here are some common termite trouble spots:

  • Cracks in concrete foundations and foundation walls allow termites hidden access to wood.
  • Soil in contact with wood allows termites easy access. This includes posts set in the ground, soil pushed up against the wood in a structure, concrete porches filled with soil that rests against wood structural members, wooden porch steps that rest on soil, etc. Do-it-yourselfers often erect wooden trellises or fences with posts directly in the ground, and then connect these to the house.
  • Unsolved moisture problems like poor grading that directs water toward a structure, dripping faucets, and leaking pipes all attract termites, which need moisture to survive. Shrubbery or vines that block the airflow through ventilation openings also cause problems.
  • Extra wood like tree stumps and large dead roots, buried form boards, wood chip mulching, and firewood stacked on the ground attracts termites. The pests get started in these, then find their way into a structure.

These are just some of the many, many situations that can lead to trouble with termites. A professional termite inspection can spot these and other, less obvious conditions that can lead to problems with various wood-damaging pests.

Guaranteed Results

Both the inside and outside of your home are always under warranty. We guarantee your satisfaction between regular scheduled maintenance services. If ants should show up between services please give us a call and our protection plan offers our customers peace of mind knowing they can call us given an unforeseen invasion.

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jamul pest control san diego

10793 Jamacha Blvd Suite 101, Spring Valley, CA 91978

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