UF/IFAS Publication Outlines Termite Risk by Location – PCT

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Scientists at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) want residents, landowners and pest control operators to know where the risk is and how to limit that risk through approaches science-based proactive.

“Termite infestations are a year-round risk for landowners in the Sunshine State,” said Thomas Chouvenc, assistant professor of urban entomology at FLREC and co-author. “With 20 termite species established in Florida, knowing when, where, and which termite species have been recorded in abundance in a geographic area can help limit your risk and provide an advantage against potential property damage from an infestation.”

In the publication, the authors provide tools and resources for landowners, residents, and pest control operators. Among the tools and resources are links to an interactive online distribution map, steps to submit samples for correct termite species identification and up-to-date status, descriptions and links to native termite species and established reported in Florida.

Scientists have learned the keys to knowing the potential risk of termites in an area: the climate, identification of an established species, ownership conditions, and the distribution of species in a geographic location.

It is essential to know where you stand on the ranges of all termite species tracked on the interactive map. Scientists determined the distribution ranges using sampling efforts made over the past four decades. These samples accumulated over 6,500 termite samples from all over Florida. They obtained samples through biological surveys, pest control vendors, private residents, or UF/IFAS extension offices.

All samples were identified to species by a member of the “UF Termite Identification Team” or the “UF Insect Identification Laboratory” and placed in the University of Florida Termite Collection (UFTC ) located at the Fort Lauderdale Research Center.

Since 2016, the collection location for all termite samples has been publicly available and is regularly updated. Additional images of termites and termite damage in Florida are collected and reported by Rudolf Scheffrahn, professor of entomology at the center.

“This map is the most detailed and accurate termite distribution map in the world. However, with the spread of invasive species, it is important that consumers and pest control companies continue to provide us with samples, so that we can monitor new areas where invasive species are establishing themselves,” Chouvenc said. “This is important because once established in a new area, the entire local community is now at risk from these new invasive termites and knowing this can help homeowners prepare appropriately.”

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