Terminix Service, Inc., the largest pest control company in the Carolinas, recently confirmed the first evidence of Formosan subterranean termites in Sumter, S.C. The newly discovered infestation comes after Formosan termites were recorded for the first time in Bamberg and Lexington counties in 2018, an indication that the presence of the destructive termite species is spreading.
“We responded to a service call and noticed the termites had unique characteristics from what Sumter usually sees,” said Kevin Hathorne, board certified entomologist and technical director for Terminix Service. “It’s important to study this economically significant pest and inform the public of any spreading to new areas.”
The Formosan subterranean termite (FST), Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki, is considered to be one of the most destructive termite species in the world today. This species is not native to the United States—it originated from areas around southern China, Formosa (Taiwan), and Japan. It is believed this termite was accidentally transported to the southeastern U.S. by ships returning from the Pacific at the end of World War II.
In South Carolina, Formosan termites are well established in the Lowcountry region and have also been found in isolated instances in York and Pickens counties. There have been reports of isolated instances in both Brunswick and Rutherford Counties in North Carolina., but they are believed to have been eliminated from these areas.
“As pest management professionals, our job is to educate the public when there are significant changes to insect activity in our area,” said Hathorne. “There’s no reason to panic and homeowners can reach out to us anytime with questions.”
Homeowners in or near these counties are encouraged to contact Terminix for a free termite inspection. Technicians are highly trained and know how to identify and treat this highly invasive species. Current Terminix customers should contact their local branch to discuss their termite protection options.