Termites in Louisiana
Are there Termites in Louisiana? Yes, Louisiana homes and buildings sustain more termite damage each year than buildings and homes in any other state. Greater New Orleans alone sustains termite damage to homes and businesses, costing around $300 million a year for repairs and pest control due to Formosan termites and Subterranean termites.
Louisiana is in TIP zone 1 (very heavy). Meaning the potential for termite damage is significant. In New Orleans, Operation Full Stop was set up and funded by the government to help control Subterranean and Formosan termites in Louisiana. Scientists researching the program have shared their results with pest control professionals nationwide. The program has been successful, with a bait system for pest control of Formosan termites.
What are termites?
They are small wood-eating insects that live in colonies within a caste system. Each member of a colony has a specific role. They are active in every continent except Antarctica because it is too cold for them.
Workers: Forage for wood which they digest to remove cellulose. The workers feed the cellulose to other members of the colony.
Soldiers: They have the role of defending the nests from attack. When nests are under attack, soldiers will block holes in the nests and mud tunnels to prevent attacks.
Queen: The queen has the sole duty to reproduce and will do so for her entire life, which can be up to twenty years and beyond.
What common types of termites cause termite infestations in Louisiana?
There are two common species of termites in Louisiana. These are Eastern subterranean termites and Formosan termites. Eastern subterranean termite infestations cause the vast majority of damaged wood in Louisiana.
Eastern subterranean termites in Louisiana
Eastern subterranean termites are social insects and build their colonies under the ground in moist soil. These termites need moisture to survive, so they make mud tubes to keep them moist as they travel to wood from their colony. If you see shelter tubes, you might have a termite nest nearby. This species of termite prefers softwood to feed on, like pine.
Their colonies can contain fifty thousand termites up to several hundred thousand termites.
How quickly do termites eat wood?
Eastern subterranean termites can eat a foot of two by four in one hundred and twenty days. Formosan termites cause more damage and can eat the same amount of wood in nineteen days. Drywood termites eat wood at a slower rate; it could be years before a small area of wood is damaged and discovered.
Formosan termites in Louisiana have exceptionally large colonies; one single colony could have several million members. Formosan termites are aggressive in their feeding habits, causing more termite damage in a shorter space of time than other types of termites. They are unique because they build their nests under the ground and above.
Drywood termites are always found living in dry wood; unlike other species of termites, they do not need soil or outside moisture to thrive. Therefore, they do not need to build shelter tubes. Drywood termites build galleries inside the wood and produce dry fecal pellets with six sides. The fecal pellets are pushed out of the nests.
Drywood termites have a much smaller colony than a Subterranean termite colony. Their colonies usually have a few hundred up to a few thousand active termites.
What are the signs of termite damage and termite infestation?
Subterranean termites build shelter tunnels from mud for traveling. Look out for them near your home’s foundation and in the basement.
Look for blistered wood and sagging floors.
Termite frass looks like sawdust. It is actually termite droppings.
Discarded wings could indicate a mature colony nearby if you notice piles of termite wings.
Hollow-sounding wood, when you tap it, could be a sign of termite damage.
When do Formosan termites, Drywood termites, and Eastern subterranean termites swarm in Louisiana?
Swarming termites are also known as flying termites and are often mistaken for flying ants during swarms. Flying termites leave a colony to mate and produce new colonies with a new termite queen. Louisiana has a very warm and humid climate; different termite species will swarm at other times of the year.
The most common species of termites in Louisiana and their swarming habits are listed below:
The Formosan termite swarms in the evenings during late spring.
Eastern subterranean termites will usually swarm from February to May. This species swarms in the mornings.
Arid-land subterranean termites swarm in the spring and fall during the day.
The dark southeastern subterranean termite swarms in March and June during the day.
The light southeastern subterranean termite swarms in the fall during daylight.
The south-eastern drywood termite swarms in the spring at night.
Western drywood termites swarm in the summer afternoons.
Dark southern drywood termites swarm in the summer afternoons.
Tropical rough-headed drywood termites will swarm at night between April and July.
How to lower the risk of Louisiana termites
A few things can be done around the house to prevent infestations. The main task is to reduce moisture in and around the home.
Ventilate crawl spaces well. Install ventilation in humid rooms of the house, such as the kitchen and bathroom. Use a dehumidifier in the house to reduce moisture levels.
Check the home’s foundations regularly for termites in Louisiana homes
Some termites enter structures through mud tubes they build to a home’s foundation. Inspect the foundations and walls regularly for cracks and for signs of mud tubes.
Keeping the soil dry near the foundation will help to prevent termite infestations. Avoid using mulch, which is moisture rich and contains wood chips, and ensure sprinklers and irrigation systems do not point toward the foundations.
Avoid leaving piles of wood and firewood near the foundations. Remove fallen trees, tree stumps, and leaves from the yard to prevent termites from living in them.
Check that branches are not touching the roof, which can encourage these pests to access your home. Trim back bushes and shrubs that touch the walls and foundations of your property.
Eliminate debris from gutters like leaves and pine needles. Clogged gutters and drains provide the moisture termites love.
Have a regular termite inspection and termite control program
While termites are very active and widespread in a lot of states like Louisiana, it is essential to maintain termite control and a control program. If you are a homeowner in Louisiana, speak to a termite control expert about things you can do to protect your home from termite infestations and property damage.
How often should treatments be used by homeowners living in Louisiana?
Louisiana termites are active all over the state, from Monroe, Shreveport, and Lake Charles to Baton Rouge to New Orleans, Louisiana. You can still prevent Louisiana termites by purchasing and placing bait stations once a year and placing liquid termiticide around the foundations of your property every five years.
A pest control expert will be able to investigate the termite infestation for you and determine the best methods to use.
We presented our article, ‘Termites in Louisiana.’ We discussed swarming termites and when they swarm, how to identify a termite infestation and ways to protect your home against a termite infestation potential damage from termites in Louisiana. Hopefully, you have found the article helpful.
Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively.