What to Know About Formosan Termites in New Orleans


Thriving in Louisiana’s humid climate, termites munch through wood, posing a real danger to the city’s cherished historical sites.

They cause more havoc than any other termite in the U.S., making it crucial for local homeowners, pest experts, and officials to fight back and protect the city’s heritage.

Stick around as we explore more on protecting New Orleans from these destructive bugs.

Key Takeaways

  • Formosan termites are highly destructive pests known for their aggressive wood-eating habits, which are found in warm climates like New Orleans.
  • These termites are identifiable by their creamy white workers, yellowish-brown soldier heads, and honey-brown winged alates, each with straight, bead-like segmented antennae.
  • Formosan termites often live undetected in homes, with signs of infestation including wood damage, mud tubes on walls, and discarded wings from swarming termites.
  • You can prevent Formosan termite infestations by managing moisture, maintaining their property, and using barriers to deter termites.
  • Professional pest control services, offering specialized treatments and long-term maintenance plans, are crucial for effectively combating Formosan termite infestations.


Known for their aggressive wood-eating habits and formidable colonies, the Formosan subterranean termites are a serious concern in the New Orleans area.

This termite species has distinct characteristics that set it apart.

Key IdentifiersDescription
SizeWorkers and soldiers are approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch long; alates, including wings, can be up to an inch.
ColorWorkers are creamy white; soldiers have a yellowish-brown head; alates are honey-brown.
AntennaeStraight with a string of bead-like segments.
WingsAlates have two pairs of long, translucent wings of equal size.

Where Do They Live?

Where Do formosan termites live

The LSU AgCenter notes that Formosan termites thrive in warm climates and have a strong presence in Louisiana, including Metairie, Tangipahoa, and Lake Charles.

They establish massive underground termite colonies and can infiltrate homes, often undetected. You can observe the early warning signs in common locations within homes, such as:

  • Wooden structures and foundation beams.
  • Inside walls, mainly where there is moisture.
  • Beneath floors, especially under leaky fixtures.
  • Around door and window frames where wood is accessible.
  • In attics, especially in older homes with wooden frames.
  • Landscaping features such as wooden mulch or trellises close to the home.


Formosan termites are notorious for the extensive damage they cause and their distinctive swarming habits.

Consequently, recognizing the signs of these infestations during the termite swarming season is crucial for early intervention.

Visible Damage to Structures

As aggressive wood destroyers, their presence is often first noticed by the damage they inflict on structures. So, you should be aware of wood-related signs, including:

Signs of TermitesDescription
Drywood Termite PelletsFound on window sills
Wood DamageSpecifically from drywood termites
Kick Out HolesTiny holes in hardwood by drywood termites
Mud TubesPresent on any interior wall
Clicking SoundsSlight sounds inside the wood
Water Damage-like SignsResembles water damage
Honeycomb IndentsVisible in baseboards
Splintering Wood BeamsIndicative of termite presence

Swarming Behavior

Swarming is a critical phase in the Formosan termite life cycle, commonly observed in the balmy evenings at the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Swarms usually occur around Mother’s Day and can continue through the season. So, look out for these swarming-related indicators:

  • Look out for winged termites converging around streetlights and porch lights.
  • Discarded wings indicate swarmers have shed their wings after mating.
  • Sudden appearance of many swarming termites may indicate new colonies.


Formosan termites in New Orleans pose a serious threat to homes. Hence, tackling these pests requires effective prevention strategies and professional intervention to minimize termite damage.

DIY Prevention Techniques

As homeowners, you can take steps to prevent Formosan termite infestations by regularly inspecting your properties and managing your moisture.

Here’s a closer look at critical actions that you can take:

Prevention StrategyDetails
Create a barrierUse a 12-18 inch crushed rock barrier between the foundation and soil or mulch.
Eliminate moistureFix leaky pipes, fixtures, and areas with standing water near the home.
Repair air conditioning unitsAddress units that cause water to pool near the foundation.
Maintain guttersClean gutters regularly to prevent rainwater buildup.
Manage landscapingAvoid over-planting near the foundation; let the sun dry the soil.
Use exhaust fansInstall in kitchens and bathrooms to reduce home moisture.
Fix structural damagesRepair any damages to the foundation, walls, or roof.
Inspect wooden itemsCheck antique wooden furniture and other items for termites before bringing them in.
Remove damp or rotting wood outdoorsClear leaf piles, wood mulch, fallen trees, and tree stumps.
Dispose of potential food sourcesRegularly dispose of garbage and avoid storing wood or cardboard in the house.


Professional pest control is essential for effectively addressing Formosan termite issues. At LaJaunie’s Pest Control, we provide a comprehensive treatment plan beyond the scope of DIY methods.

Here’s an overview of what our experts do:

Termite Pretreatment

  • Initiation: The customer will contact us before pouring concrete slabs for new construction.
  • First Treatment: Treat the area beneath where the slab will be poured to prevent termites from entering.
  • Final Step: Post-construction, we return to perform a no-charge perimeter treatment by trenching around the home to establish a protective barrier.

Termite Control

  • Active Infestation: Upon notification of live termites, our outside sales rep inspects, documents, and provides treatment quotes.
  • Implementation: Our technician installs bait stations and bath traps for slab homes, typically within 24 hours after payment.
  • Maintenance: Annual inspections to check and replace bait stations as necessary, ensuring long-term protection against termites.

Termite Prevention

  • If the home lacks termite protection or previous protection has expired, quotes are based on the home’s linear footage.
  • Satellite imagery is used for slab homes; raised homes require an in-person visit due to specific vulnerabilities.


Like the native subterranean termites, Formosan termites are not the guests you want at your New Orleans jamboree. They’re notorious for turning mighty oaks into snack sticks and houses into all-you-can-eat buffets.

So, if the sawdust starts settling like confetti at a termite fiesta, it’s probably high time you think about ringing up pest control companies.

Whether you’re in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, seeking expert help should be easy. For immediate intervention for a severe infestation, let Lajaunie’s termite control specialists tailor a solution that’s right for your home.

For more information about the areas we service, visit our location page.