Formosan subterranean termites out-reproduce, and out-compete native subterranean colonies in La Mesa. Western subterranean termites do cause damage in San Diego County; however, Western subterranean termites do not boast robust colonies. In contrast, Formosan subterranean termites are ideally suited to our tropical climate and reproduce quickly and in large numbers. They not only develop colonies underground (as do all ‘subterranean’ termites), but Formosan termites can also form satellite colonies above ground in the voids between walls, under sinks, and in tree hollows. These aerial colonies may also contain egg-laying reproductives.
Formosan termites have been known to attack over 50 species of living plants, including citrus, pepper trees, wild cherry, cherry laurel, ash, sweet gum, cedar, willow, wax myrtle, Chinese elm, live oak, and white oak. Formosan termites are aggressive eaters and have been known to chew through non-wood materials in their search for wood. They have attacked plastic, asphalt, plaster, rubber, and thin sheets of lead and copper metal. The creosote on utility poles does not deter Formosan termites and is at great risk of damage. Because Formosan termites survive in the yard as well as the house, it is important to inspect and treat the area surrounding an infested house.