Conehead Termite

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Nasutitermes corniger

Facts, Identification & Control

Appearance

Conehead termite is a common name based on the dark, cone-shaped head of the termite soldiers. Soldiers make up an unusually large portion of the total conehead termite colony – anywhere from 20-30% of the colony. Only 1-2 percent of subterranean and drywood colonies are soldiers. Another way to distinguish conehead termites is by the appearance of their tunnels. While subterranean termites also build mud tunnels, coneheads build wider and much more extensive tunnels than subterraneans. Still another distinctive characteristic is the appearance of their nest. Visible conehead termite nests are usually built in the open, perhaps in a tree, and look like a large, dark-brown “bumpy” round or oval shaped ball.

Conehead Termite
Conehead Termite image licensed under CC

Behavior, Diet & Habits

The conehead termite is an invasive species that was introduced into Florida in 2001 and now is found in the southern part of the state. The conehead termite is a drywood termite species with a native distribution in the Caribbean and Central American tropical countries such as Panama.

A newly established conehead termite colony remains hidden for several years after the colony begins, but as the colony ages and matures, visible nests are constructed above ground. The above-ground nests may show up in trees, shrubs or on buildings.

Conehead termites will eat almost anything that contains cellulose. It commonly infests and consumes trees, shrubs, roots, structural lumber, furniture, fence posts and rails and paper products.

Reproduction

Mature colonies will contain both reproductive queens and males. In addition, alates will be formed and contribute to spreading colonies as they develop wings, fly from the nest, swarm, mate and then find other places to establish new colonies.

Signs Of An Infestation

The signs of a conehead termite infestation include seeing the termite nests; an extensive system of foraging tunnels that go from their nest to feeding locations; seeing the oddly shaped conehead soldiers; and many more soldiers in the nest as compared to other termite species.

More Information

Conehead termite prevention begins with a thorough inspection conducted by your pest management professional. Based on the inspection findings, the strategy may simply be to remove all visible nests and to thoroughly treat trees, stumps, structures, foraging tunnels and any other congregation of conehead termites that are found.

Your inspection will also include proactive methods that will help prevent not only conehead termites, but other termite species, as well. Such methods include:

• Keeping shrubs and trees trimmed at least 3-5 feet away from your home

• Not using mulch around the foundation

• Keeping firewood, scrap lumber, cardboard or any other cellulose-based materials as far from your home as possible.

• Ensuring that gutters and downspouts direct water well away from the home.

Termite Control

How do you know if you have termites?

Learn the signs to look for to determine if you might have a termite infestation.

Why should you be worried?

Termites cost Americans more than $5 billion in damage each year and most insurance plans don’t cover the damage.

Schedule a FREE inspection

We’ll determine whether you actually have termites, then discuss a treatment plan including financing that works for you.

What Orkin does.

Learn what to expect from your Orkin Man and the AIM process.