Formosan termites may be spreading thanks to climate change

The job, the marriage and the house — everything seems to be coming together. But as you look to build and protect your new home and family, you know that one particular insect could quickly eat holes through everything you’ve built.

Termites have long been a problem throughout Alabama, and the Formosan termite is the worst offender because they form colonies far larger and more aggressive than other termites. And while this insect may have been first introduced to the area shortly after WWII, climate change may now be helping it gain more territory. These termites have the ability to live above ground.

The spread of the Formosan termite

The hurricanes, flooding and strong rains associated with climate change can fuel the Formosan termite’s spread through the state. An article in Popular Science argued that hurricane flooding could put communities at greater risk of termites. It claimed the increase in the strength and frequency of wet storms leads to an abundance of damp, damaged wood for termites to eat.

Additionally, the relocation of damaged wood — or the use of infested wood in home repairs — can pull termites into new regions. From there, they just spread, taking advantage of whatever moisture they find.

Protecting your home and family

As the Formosan termite continues to ravage the southern United States, there’s no question that Alabama has seen more than its fair share. In fact, one national pest control service rated Mobile the number one termite city in the U.S. But you can still take measures to protect your home and family from the disaster of a termite infestation if you:

  • Spot them early: The tell-tale signs of termite activity include damaged wood, mud tubes, termite wood droppings and discarded wings from Formosan swarmers.
  • Reduce exposure to moisture: Fix any leaks. Keep garden plants and shrubs and wood piles far away from the house, so they don’t trap moisture next to it.
  • Seal up your house: Use physical barriers to screen vents and other entry points into your house.
  • Look into a pest control service: They can apply chemical barriers, and these barriers will need to be renewed at intervals.

It’s important to remember that termites eat and reproduce all the time, and a full-blown colony of Formosan termites can easily cause damage to your home worth thousands of dollars. If they won’t stop threatening to get at your home, you need to stay vigilant and keep reinforcing your defenses.

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