Experts Warn South Mississippians Against New Breed Of Termites

Each year Formosan subterranean termites infest more than a dozen southern states. But leaders in Biloxi are making sure people are ready to ward off the pests.

"Since 1950 or so there's been a particular termite that was introduced through two particular ports. One in South Carolina and the other port in New Orleans. It's called a Formosan termite," says Gordon Redd, owner of Redd Pest Solutions.

He says no home is exempt from termites.

"Down here there's basically two houses, one that has termites and one that will have termites," says Redd.

That's why homeowners organized a public meeting to educate people about the bugs.

"The best analogy to compare Formosan Termite is it's analogous to a black bear and a grizzly bear. They are both bears, it's just that one is bigger and more aggressive than the other," says Blake Layton, an entomologist with Mississippi State University.

Layton says there are obvious differences between the eastern subterranean termite and the Formosan termite. Formosans swarm at night near light, eastern subs swarm in the morning. They are also present around late May to June, whereas eastern subterranean termites begin swarming in late February. But for some, the lesson comes a little too late.

"After Hurricane Katrina when I was doing repair work on my home, the contractors noticed termite infestation and it turns out they were Formosan termites," says homeowner Steve Delahousey.

Many homeowners experienced termite infestation after Hurricane Katrina because moisture and debris harbor the insects. Bottom line, if you want you want your home protected, call your pest control company.

Experts say people have until around Mother's Day before the Formosa Termites hit the coast. Some companies like Terminator Pest Control say they'll inspect your home for termites at no cost. Of course treatment is additional.