Scientifically known as Nasutitermes Corniger, Conehead termites are native to the Caribbean and Central America, but were recently introduced to Florida and are now found throughout the southern part of the state. When it was discovered in Florida in 2001,the Conehead was nicknamed “tree termite”primarily because it always lived and nested in or on trees. However, preferring dry wood to snack on, these terminates will nest wherever there is food, even on the open ground.
The name conehead came from their looks—due to the large cone or teardrop-shape of the head of the soldier caste. Their bodies are cream in color with dark colored heads, and long and narrow (about 3-4mm in length) with 6 legs.
Coneheads live in brown mud tunnels about half-inch wide. These tunnels are typically created above ground and can be seen on trees,walls, houses or almost any surface.The nest has a hard surface of chewed wood and can be upwards of 3 feet in diameter. The initial phase of construction produces a nest about the size of a softball, but a healthy colony will expand their home so that the nest may grow to the size of a basketball or even larger within months, and construct swarmers within a year.
Around the home, the galleries can be tracked along long lines such as the roof eaves, junction between a house wall or mortar joints between layers of brick. A nest can remain hidden for many years due to its small size, only once a colony has become more established will a nest grow and become noticeable to humans. Because of the ability to remain inconspicuous for so long, large amounts of damage can be done to a home or wherever they choose to nest—damage that can be so far gone that the object cannot be repaired.
How to Identify a Conehead Infestation
Due to the damages that these pests can create, any live Coneheads must be treated, whether they’re in a yard, house, or even in an abandoned building where they are feeding on items that’s of little to no value. There are a few ways to tell if there is an infestation: can you see a nest, are there tunnels present, and are these insects seen crawling around? These are questions that must be answered when searching for termite infestation, however, with Conehead termites the signs can be tricky. Coneheads build tunnels which are different from the ordinary termite tunnel. They build highly elaborate burrows on almost any surface which look like little brown tubes, and if broken open they will run out and scatter.
How to Treat Conehead Termite Infestations
If a nest is spotted, along with the tunnels in and around the nest, then an infestation could be present, and a Pest Control Company needs to be called right away. Though these termites don’t sting or bite, do not try to treat them on your own because the colony may move to another area rather than die.
Conehead termites are a major problem that needs to be stopped as soon as they are identified. If the infestation gets out of hand it can populate new territories. Coneheads attempt to colonize new areas, in other parts of Florida or beyond, but must be foiled by preventing the transport of shrubs and trees and shrubs, furniture and wood debris out of the infested (high risk) locations. More caution should be taken by keeping vigilant watch to quickly spot them and treat immediately.
Though this type of termite may seem easy to handle, they are not, and should be treated by professionals and reported to the state hotline. Prevention is key—checking your home, yard and other areas for signs of an infestation is key to the eradication of this highly destructive termite species. If you suspect anything, always call a professional pest control service company for help—they will be able to assess the situation and properly get rid of them.Acting swiftly and decisively, and committing to inspection and treatment for many years ahead, will be vital to eradicating the current Conehead Termite invasion and preventing the population of future generations.