AVOYELLES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Spring and early summer is prime termite time in Louisiana, but this year exterminators are dealing with a species a little worse than your average wood eating pest.
It’s an invasive species called Formosan termites.
"They're also known as super-termites,” said Blake Roy, J&J Exterminating Branch Manager. “Unfortunately that's the name they've given them."
Roy said these pests were first found in Central Louisiana in 2004, but only recently became a problem.
"It's been quiet ever since then,” explained Roy. “Only one or two here and there, every so many years. And here we are in 2018 and we've had probably six or seven swarm calls just out of our branch that turned into Formosans."
He said the species is bigger than normal termites, and they also can attack homes more aggressively.
"They don't have to have ground contact,” said Roy. “They're not necessarily going to be subterranean, they can live in aerial infestations. They can build their colonies above ground. And the colony size is 10 times the size of termites we usually deal with here in Central Louisiana."
At one specific home in Avoyelles parish, a swarm was caught early.
"They actually swarmed out and that allowed her to actually find the termites in the home, otherwise they probably wouldn't have known they were here,” said Roy. “The damage could've been a lot more extensive."
But it was still a shock for the homeowner, who wanted to remain anonymous.
"We have a problem,” she said. “We need to get someone in here to take care of this and see what kind of damage is done."
Roy said there's a couple of things you can look out for when it comes to termites.
"Anything that's there for no reason, for example moisture,” explained Roy. “If there's no reason for moisture to be in a wall or a ceiling and there's no leak that you know of, chances are that there's going to be a serious situation. Also, dirt on your walls. There's only one way dirt gets on your walls or in your walls. That's if something brings it up there. So that's another place to look."
For now, Roy is using baiting stations inside and outside of the house to eliminate the termites in these homes. They're filled with a chemical that stops the reproduction process.
"So these worker termites will take this bait back to the colony,” said Roy. “So we're basically using nature against them. They'll eventually kill themselves off."
But as she waits for the process to be completed, the homeowner said she regrets not regularly having her home checked by exterminators.
"I’m nervous about the end results,” she told us. “Just ready for this whole thing to be over with and to see what's actually behind the walls."
Roy agreed that this should be a priority, especially in Louisiana.
"Thirty colonies per acre,” stated Roy. “I think every homeowner should have some sort of preventative measure taken on their home for termites. Most people who don't do that, find out once the damage is done."
He also said that most exterminating companies do not charge to come out and inspect your home. So they recommend you have your home annually checked out, just in case.