Help us Eradicate Conehead Termites

The invasive conehead termite has been potentially obliterated from The City of Dania Beach

after years of efforts to find, contain, and control this aggressive pest before it propagates and spreads in Florida and beyond. The past year has been an exciting and promising landmark for this ambitious eradication program: we know of no residual pockets of conehead termite activity in all of Dania Beach! This is a huge victory for protection of the environment on local, state, and national levels.

Before Property Cleanup 2018

After Property Cleanup 2018

Dania Beach Performs Cleanup Services to Support Conehead Termite Eradication Program. The City of Dania Beach financed the extensive cleanup of a privately owned, vacant, and heavily overgrown property. In 2015, FDACS treatments commenced on this 2/3 acre property after 26 conehead termite nests were found. The treatments have been successful in that a recent survey found only one small area with living coneheads. However, the extensive overgrowth inhibited access for surveys. To aid efforts of FDACS, the City of Dania Beach’s landscape contractor mowed and weed-whacked the overgrowth and chipped all logs and tree branches laying on the ground. This cleanup has improved visibility and access for a thorough survey and is a significant step in the eradication of conehead termites from this property; the only property in the City that had living termites in recent surveys.
Conehead Termites Property Cleanup 2018 Dania Beach - Commissioner Adam H. Putnam Weekly Division/Of
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and The City of Dania Beach are working together to help eradicate the Conehead Termites once and for all. 

The exotic conehead termite, Nasutitermes corniger, has been found in Broward County, Florida. This is the only known occurrence of conehead termites in the United States. It is assumed that conehead termites entered the state in wooden packing material from a boat that had traveled through the termite’s native range, the Caribbean and Central and South America, and docked at a local marina.

Conehead Termite Damage


Coneheads can wreak havoc on structures and landscapes, causing extensive damage. They eagerly consume dead wood from live or dead trees, shrubs, grasses, roots, wood in structures and furniture, and cardboard and other paper products.

Conehead Termite Identification 


Unlike all other termites in South Florida, the soldier form of this termite species has a cone-shaped, dark brown head from which it secretes a pine sap-like chemical to ward off predators, including ants, lizards, and termites from another colony. Soldiers are difficult to identify with the naked eye due to their size, but the above-ground tunnels they construct (see below) are easily seen and may signify the presence of this species.

Conehead swarmers (alates)

Conehead Termites

Nest at the base of an oak tree © B.L. Thorne

Nest_at_Base_of_Oak_tree Conehead Termites

Tunnel on a sea grape tree © B.L. Thorne

Tunnel_on_sea_grape_tree_arrow Conehead Termites

Tunnel on a house wall © B.L. Thorne

Tunnel_on_house_wall_arrow Conehead Termites

Nest in a sabal palm tree © B.L. Thorne

Nest_in_Sabal_Palm_Tree Conehead Termites

Tunnels 


Coneheads travel to their feeding sites in narrow (usually 1/2 inch wide or less) brown tunnels, or termite highways, on the sides of trees, houses, fences or other surfaces.

Swarmers


In spring, winged termites, called alates or swarmers, leave their nests and fly to a new location to start another colony. This is how the termite infestation spreads. Dark wings distinguish conehead swarmers from other local termite species.

Nests


These termites build large, dark brown nests with a hard, bumpy surface. Nests can be on, in or by trees or structures, on open ground, or hidden within vegetation.

Reduce the Risk of a Conehead Termite Infestation


▶ Be alert for conehead termites.

Watch for the ‘Big 4’ indicators:
  • Tunnel networks.
  • Dark-colored, cone-shaped heads on small beige bugs (1/8”) within those tunnels.
  • Bumpy, brown nests that are generally spherical or ellipsoidal.
  • Termites with charcoal colored wings flying in April - June.
If you find or think you have found conehead termites, call the Division of Plant Inspection Helpline at 1-888-397-1517.

▶ Maintain your yard.

  • Keep the lawn mowed.
  • Cut back shrubs, branches, and fronds so vegetation is not too thick or overgrown.
  • Remove dead plant debris to reduce termite food and hiding places.
  • Dispose of yard waste through curbside bulk trash pickups or call your city for the nearest Residential Yard and Bulk Waste Drop-Off Location.

▶ Prune back all vegetation surrounding your house, garage, shed, or other structure.

  • Leaves, branches, visible roots, or trunks should not be closer than 18” (3’ preferred) from any part of the building, including tree branches and palm fronds near the eaves or roof.
  • Plants touching a structure can serve as bridges to introduce wandering termites to the structure.

▶ Avoid mulch or thick leaf litter accumulation adjacent to the house.

  • Rake and weed around the entire perimeter to expose the soil surface out 18” away from the structure. This helps to discourage termites by drying out the soil immediately adjacent to the structure.
  • Coneheads like to travel within thick litter and mulch layers, so removing that condition – particularly near a building – makes it less hospitable. If they build a tunnel across the exposed soil to travel to the house, it will be far easier to see them than if they are hidden in debris.

 ▶ Reduce moisture around your house.

  • Termites are more likely to infest a building if they find water conveniently located near a structure.
  • Keep gutters clean, maintain downspouts and attach outlet extenders to direct rain water well away from the structure.
  • Slope the soil surrounding your house to eliminate water puddling near or against the structure.
  • Condensation from window or central home air conditioning units should be directed away (several feet if possible) from the house.
  • Direct lawn water sprinklers away from the walls of your house.

▶ Move stored wood and cellulose products away from buildings

  • Move all stacked fire wood or loose boards, wooden products with substantial ground contact such as palettes or crates, as well as paper and cardboard materials located outdoors (or stored under a porch or crawl space) to a distance of at least 20 feet away, or as far as possible, from any structure.
  • Also, it is not recommended to store these materials in a garage or nearby shed.
For additional information on protecting your home from termite infestations, visit FreshFromFlorida.com and search “Conehead” and/or “Florida Termite Help” or call the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Bureau of Scientific Evaluation and Technical Assistance at (850) 617-7917.
poster_what_conehead_termites_attack Conehead Termites
Conehead Termites
Conehead Termites
Conehead Termites

Report Conehead Termites

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is working diligently to prevent this invasive termite from becoming permanently established and spreading further throughout the state. FDACS asks Floridians to be on the lookout for these invasive pests and to report any suspected sightings.

To report a conehead termite infestation, call 1-888-397-1517
email DPIHelpline@FreshFromFlorida.com


CONTACT: Sue Alspach
Environmental Specialist
Division of Agricultural Environmental Services
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Sue.Alspach@FreshFromFlorida.com

Visit the Division of Agricultural Environmental Services Conehead Termite Program website

http://daniabeachfl.gov/coneheadtermites
http://facebook.com/coneheadtermites