Formosan termites are a pale cream color. Workers are uniform in color with small mandibles. Soldier termites have a larger, darker colored head and large black mandibles.
Swarming termites have long, narrow translucent wings.
Formosan termites are a pest common to the American South; however, smaller colonies of termites have been located in many northern states, some as far north as the border to Canada.
The Formosan termite is originally a native of East Africa. They were introduced to the United States after World War II and were thought to have entered the country by way of sea ports, carried by ships returning from overseas. They travelled and continue to travel throughout the US on cargo shipments cellulose based good such as lumber, paper and wood.
Colonies of Formosan termites are quite large compared to the colonies of other species. This mean that they are much more destructive than other types of termites, and are widely considered the species with the most destructive power in the United States.
Formosan termite colonies take three to five years to reach their full size. A colony that starts out quite small may expand to house over a million insects within this time period. Shortly after the colony reaches its full size, winged reproductive “swarmers” set out from it to form new colonies in the vicinity. Swarmers leave the colony by the thousands and attempt to mate with termites from another colony. This most often occurs in the evening after warm, rainy day in the summer or spring.