Conehead termites, an invasive species native to the Caribbean, were first introduced to the U.S. in 2001. Originally called “tree termites,” they were renamed conehead termites to alleviate the misconception that this pest is only found in trees. Though the species was believed to have been eradicated in the U.S. in 2003, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) recently confirmed the reemergence of this pest in Broward County, Florida.
Unlike most termites, the conehead termite does not rely on underground tunneling to travel. Instead, they forage on the ground like ants, allowing them to spread quickly. They build dark brown “mud” tubes and freestanding nests on the ground, in trees or in wooden structures. The nests can be up to 3 feet in diameter and have a hard surface of chewed wood.
Conehead termites are an extremely aggressive termite species known for causing widespread property damage in a short period of time. Additional research into the species and treatment options are critical to controlling this destructive pest’s spread, or else millions of dollars in damage can be expected.