Formosan termites hit homes in Central Florida as exterminators respond to spike in calls

Exterminators said they are getting more calls this year about swarms of Formosan subterranean termites in Central Florida homes. 

An infestation can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Formosan termites were first reported in South Florida in the 1980s, but according to entomologists at the University of Florida, they have now been reported all across the state. 

They are resilient and can still thrive for 6 months after they've been cut off from their water source. Tina Craft, a homeowner in Seminole County, said she dealt with an infestation outside her back patio.

"I don’t know where they go or how they migrate, but they were here," Craft said. "So when I went out of the sliding glass doors to go toward the backyard, they were filled in this whole entire area."

Craft says the swarm was so giant that the motion-sensitive lights wouldn’t turn off. She called an exterminator immediately, and the swarm was removed the next day. Craft did not find any noticeable damage. Ron Kennedy, a certified pest control operator with 20/20 Pest Intervention, said the Formosan termites are "aggressive."

"They shed their wings once they arrive, and they try to set up a family so they can do thousands of dollars in damage," Kennedy said.


Kennedy said each colony can contain more than 10 million termites. Because there are so many, they can do more damage more quickly. He showed FOX 35 News an example of what it looked like when the termites chewed up the wood from a home. It was hollow and thin.

Mite-T-Tech Pest Management shared pictures with FOX 35 News of their mud tubes: termite highways connecting their nest with food. 

Kennedy said underground chemical barriers were the best way to keep them out.

"It has to be spaced properly because if not, they can come in between two of the bait stations and infest the home," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said his company would typically get a couple of monthly calls about a Formosan termite infestation. Now, it’s a few calls a week. He said this season’s unusual cicada cycle could play a role.

"It’s creating havoc in the insect world, and the animal world, so they’re feeding, and there’s a lot more going on," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said many of the calls in Seminole County are in Sanford and Longwood because older homes are surrounded by more trees. People should check any places where wood meets the ground or where there's moisture.

Exterminators said they expect more calls as we enter the rainy season when infestations will be more noticeable.