There are more than 3,000 termite species in the world today. With China as its country of origin, the Formosan subterranean termite, however, is the most widely distributed. Entering the United States around the 1960s, a single colony of these destructive demons can contain several million termites that can forage and survive in a mere 300 feet in moist soil.
A termite colony is comprised of three primary castes:
- The workers
- The soldiers
- The reproductives
The reproductives which contain the more popular king, queen, nymphs and swarmers, are termite royalty and responsible for the longevity of the species. The greatest number of termites in any given colony belongs to the workers who seek out nutrients. Their favorite snack of choice? Any cellulose in wood they can find, of course, including homes, utility poles, ships, and living trees to name a few.
Currently reported in eleven states from Florida to Hawaii, homeowners in the northern states seem to be protected from these invaders as they are rarely found north of 35 latitude. The economic impact this species has is significant as they are the most destructive timber pests in the US today causing thousands and thousands of dollars in damage annually.
The ideal location for a colony to take formation is an area in the ground below the frost line but above the water table with constant moisture and sources of timber readily available.