Hybrid invasive super termites menacing Florida

in environment on (#5W95)
Scientists at the University of Florida have confirmed the Asian and Formosan subterranean termites - both formidable non-native species - are mating in south Florida. The offspring of these species thrive by combining the strongest qualities of their parents. The two species are considered particularly damaging and difficult to control, since they travel underground and burrow up through buildings. What sort of termite do they produce? The bad news is that based on lab results, the hybrid colonies appear to grow faster than those of either species that produced them.

"The combination of genes between the two species results in highly vigorous hybridized colonies that can develop twice as fast as the two parental species," said Thomas Chouvenc, research assistant at the University of Florida's Subterranean Termite laboratory. "The establishment of hybrid termite populations is expected to result in dramatically increased damage to structures in the near future."

The annual cost of termite damage and control measures in the U.S. is estimated at $5 billion.

Re: Florida doesn't care. California though... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by reziac@pipedot.org on 2015-03-30 02:19 (#61F7)

Termites are fairly sensitive to a variety of pesticides (also to cold and dehydration). The problem is that the core of the nest, along with the queen, is usually well underground, therefore safe from the usual pesticides.

The solution is to treat the area with "Termidor" which they'll take home to mama, and eventually this kills the entire nest.

But the problem with the desert is that there are always more termites, so killing 'em off one colony at a time is an exercise in futility.
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