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Asian subterranean termites in Tampa

Earlier this year, a new termite species was found in Tampa, Florida. This species, known as the Asian subterranean termite, is a tropical termite species known to cause critical harm to trees and severe structural damage to homes. The Tampa invasion is now the most northern point of infestation of this tropical species in the state. Read on to learn what Tampa residents need to know about this invasive species.

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Asian subterranean termites of multiple sizes with wings
Image provided by PCT

What does finding Asian subterranean termites mean for Tampa residents?

Finding a different termite species in any area is usually not ideal cause that means more termites to feed on your home. The Asian subterranean termite, known by its scientific name, Coptotermes gestroi, forges differently than other subterranean species making control for them more difficult. As a homeowner in Tampa, look out for termite tunnels and mud tubes. More importantly, check the trees on your property, as this species tends to attack trees first. Like any species of subterranean, Asian subterranean termites can cause a lot of damage to a home if not addressed quickly.

Tree with termite damage

How did they get to Florida?

Asian subterranean termites have been around in the United States since 1999. Originally from southeast Asia, it is believed that this species, like other invasive species, came in through the ports in Southern Florida. According to PCT, researchers suggest the initial infestation may have occurred almost 10 years ago, and now Asian subterranean termite activity is increasing, and so is the damage. 

Southern Florida is the primary concern with this species, as it has also been found in Riviera Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Key West. The good news is that we do not believe that the Asian subterranean termite can survive further north as this species has tropical climate requirements. 

Blue and white map showing where Asian subterranean termites have travelling in southern Florida
Image provided by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

Signs of Asian subterranean termites

The signs of Asian subterranean termites are the same as other subterranean species; however, this tropical species is usually first found in trees. Look for termite nests, tunnels (mud tubes), termite damage, and swarming (flying) termites around trees. Mud tubes on trees are one of the first signs of an active termite colony, but this species has also been reported to infest boats. Be on the lookout for swarming termites around docked boats!

Termite tunnel on decaying wood

Protect your property from termites

Early detection of termites is critical to minimizing the cost of repairs. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage annually. Annual termite inspections are essential for early detection of termite activity on your property and will help identify the infestation's location.

In addition to inspections, there are also things you can do on your own to prevent termites.

  • Fix moisture issues on your property to make your home less appealing to termites, as they need water to survive.
  • Keep mulch pulled away from your home’s foundation to eliminate direct access, as termites can tunnel through the mulch to reach your home’s wooden structure. 
  • Remove dead trees or stumps, as these are ideal sites for termites to nest in.
  • Don’t store wood against your house; this can attract termites and give them easy access to your home’s foundation.

As experts in termite control, we are always here to help. The Asian subterranean termite species is treated like other subterranean termites, but we can also treat any trees on your property to assist in control. If you spot any signs of termites on your property or want to set up an annual inspection, contact us today!


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