When it comes to flying termites, most Texans fear swarms of Formosan termites. According to KHOU 11, Formosan subterranean termites happen to be the most aggressive termite species in the U.S.

Not native to the U.S., the first sightings occurred in 1956. Many believe the termites traveled with wooden shoring timbers from the Far East.

Why are Formosan subterranean termites so dangerous?

Formosan termites have a higher reproductive capacity than native termites. An average colony may have more than one million insects. While they attack wood, like any termite, they can feed on it faster and cause damage at a higher rate. Additionally, they can chew through soft metal, plaster, rubber, plastic and asphalt. Their ability to eat a variety of materials and to travel in large swarms make them an economic threat to all homeowners.

How can you identify subterranean termites?

Many people have difficulty distinguishing between Formosan termites from native termites. To tell the difference, look at the shape of the bodies. Termite soldiers have tear-drop-shaped heads rather than rectangular heads. The wingless workers have off-white or white coloring and the winged termites have a yellow-brown coloring.

You may have a termite infestation if you see mud shelter tubes made from wings, soil, and damaged wood. If you tap wood and it sounds hollow, you may have an infestation inside.

To kill individual termites, many people use lemon juice and vinegar or hairspray. You should only use these means to kill termites if you have one or two that end up in your home. Damage from termites and termite infestations require the help of professionals.