Help us Eradicate Conehead Termites
Through the help of an observant citizen scientist posting on Facebook, a new conehead termite infestation has been located in Dania Beach. This emphasizes the important role Dania Beach residents play in eradicating conehead termites from Florida. Prior to this recent infestation, conehead termites had not been found in the City since August of 2018. While two years without finding conehead termites is a huge success, the recent find shows that residents must stay diligent in watching for conehead termites on their property.
Watching for conehead termites will be critical for at least a few more years. When a queen and king conehead termite start a colony, they can remain hidden inside the host wood they initially infested (a tree, log, wood pile, shed, house) for several years, being protected by and eating the wood surrounding them. Once the colony’s population grows large enough, they must expand the nest and seek new sources of food. It is at that point that they build a visible nest and tunnels aboveground, making it easy for residents to find the colony. Therefore, your continued vigilance in checking for aboveground nests and tunnels on your trees, fences, wood piles, house/shed walls, etc., is critical.
Click on the FAQ link here for information on
- why FDACS is eradicating conehead termites
- how you can help eradicate them, and
- what happens if conehead termites are found on your or your neighbor’s property
REPORT CONEHEAD TERMITES
The exotic conehead termite, Nasutitermes
Conehead Termite Damage
Coneheads can wreak havoc on structures and landscapes, causing extensive damage. They eagerly consume dead wood from live or dead trees, shrubs, grasses, roots, wood in structures and furniture, and cardboard and other paper products.
Conehead Termite Identification
Unlike all other termites in South Florida, the soldier form of this termite species has a cone-shaped, dark brown head from which it secretes a pine sap-like chemical to ward off predators, including ants, lizards, and termites from another colony. Soldiers are difficult to identify with the naked eye due to their size, but the above-ground tunnels they construct (see below) are easily seen and may signify the presence of this species.
Coneheads travel to their feeding sites in narrow (usually 1/2 inch wide or less) brown tunnels, or termite highways, on the sides of trees, houses, fences or other surfaces.
In spring, winged termites, called alates or swarmers, leave their nests and fly to a new location to start another colony. This is how the termite infestation spreads. Dark wings distinguish conehead swarmers from other local termite species.
These termites build large, dark brown nests with a hard, bumpy surface. Nests can be on, in or by trees or structures, on open ground, or hidden within vegetation.
Report Conehead TermitesThe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is working diligently to prevent this invasive termite from becoming permanently established and spreading further throughout the state. FDACS asks Floridians to be on the lookout for these invasive pests and to report any suspected sightings.
CONTACT: Sue Alspach
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services