Formosan Subterranean Termites

Compared to the native subterranean termite, the Formosan subterranean termite (FST) is more destructive.1 UF/IFAS researchers predict Formosan subterranean termites, along with Asian subterranean termites, will become an even greater threat to Florida in the decades to come.2

Like all subterranean termites, FSTs live underground, though they can build colonies above ground as well. Termites from underground colonies attack structures by entering material that touches the soil and by building tunnels called foraging tubes that connect the colony to above-ground structures.3 These tubes are a sign that a structure may be infested.1

FSTs primarily damage wood, though they may also feed on paper and cardboard and may make holes in installation and other building materials. However, FSTs do not chew through concrete—this is a myth!1

If you think you have Formosan subterranean termites in or around your home, you can have them identified at your local UF/IFAS Extension office1 or by the UF/IFAS Termite ID team.1 For more on collecting specimens and termite control, please see

  1. B. J. Cabrera, N.-Y. Su, R. H. Scheffrahn, F. M. Oi, and P. G. Koehler, Formosan Subterranean Termite, ENY216, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013,
  2. Brad Buck, “Half of South Florida structures at risk of subterranean termite infestation by 2040,” UF/IFAS News, 2016,
  3. Nan-Yao Su and Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, Formosan Subterranean Termite, Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki (Insecta: Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae), EENY121, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013,

Photo by Nan-Yao Su, University of Florida


Posted: March 21, 2016

Category: Home Management, Pests & Disease, SFYL Hot Topic, Work & Life
Tags: #ufbugs, Family Hot Topic, Formosan Subterranean Termites, Subterranean Termites, Termites

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