In South Florida there is a new invasive species to worry about: a species of termites from the Caribbean, the Nasutitermes corniger. Researchers from the University of Florida believe that the bugs must have come over on an old wooden boat:
Somewhere hidden in an abandoned South Florida lot, thousands of tiny critters crawl beneath the soil. Dr. John Warner, machete in hand, finds the first nest underneath some brush. “I’m just really good at finding termites,” Warner tells WPBF 25 News. But he isn’t searching for any kind of termites. Warner is hunting Caribbean termites.
These bugs are invading South Florida. Right now, they’re confined to an area near Dania Beach, but the concern is that they’ll spread into Palm Beach County and begin munching on more homes and businesses. Warner and researchers from the University of Florida believe the bugs came over on an old wooden boat. Every spring, the pesky termites go airborne. “So these are the ones with wings, and they’ll fly,” Warner says. “And thousands of termite alates will fly out, They’ll go to different places and become established.”
The termites are so worrisome that the Department of Agriculture has asked the state for $200,000 to eradicate the nests. Experts say if left untreated for too long, the termites could become a permanent problem. Steven Dwinell, assistant director for the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Agricultural Environmental Services, says the termites have already left their mark.