Facts About Termites

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Background Info

The most common kind of termite in New Orleans is the Formosan subterranean termite, which locates in temperate and subtropical regions (Su 2003) and is limited by temperature and humidity requirements.  Populations of Formosan subterranean termites are typically located within the global area 35° north and south of the equator (Su and Tamashiro 1987.)

The Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, was introduced into United States port cities, such as New Orleans and Lake Charles, from eastern Asia after World War II by way of infested wooden cargo crates and pallets (La Fage 1987).  After initial introduction into shipping ports, Formosan subterranean termite populations are often moved further inland by human transport.

In New Orleans, Formosan subterranean termite populations are well-established in the metro area.  This species has replaced the native subterranean termite species as the primary structural pest in the greater New Orleans area.

Locations In Louisiana

There are now Formosan subterranean termite infestations occurring in the following Louisiana parishes: Avoyelles, Cameron, Concordia, Jefferson Davis, Livingston, Evangeline, Rapides, St. James, Tangipahoa, Vernon, Washington, and West Baton Rouge.

Termite Impact

Formosan subterranean termite colonies can cause millions of dollars worth of damage each year in New Orleans (Lax and Osbrink 2003).  Formosan subterranean colonies are more aggressive and contain more individuals than native U.S. species.  It has been estimated that Formosan subterranean termite colonies can consist of one to four million foraging termites (Su et al. 1984), nearly 10 times the size of a native subterranean termite colony.  Colonies are capable of producing foraging galleries that extend over 300 feet in length and connect multiple feeding sites (King and Spink 1969).

Termite Control

See Tips for Home Termite Control to learn how you can minimize termites in your home.

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Termite Identification

Download Termite Species of Louisiana: An Identification Guide or visit the Identify Your Bug form to request assistance from Board experts in identifying a pest or animal.