COLUMBIA, S.C. — Formosan termites were confirmed for the first time in Lexington County, S.C.
Rodney Dorn, an inspector with Modern Exterminating, Columbia, S.C., made the discovery during a termite inspection of a residential location on June 20, 2018. The homeowner called with suspicions of termite swarming activity, and when Dorn arrived, he noticed that the termites did not look like the eastern subterranean termite typically found in the Midlands. “The characteristics of the insect and situation did not match the termite we are used to seeing, so I submitted my findings to Clemson University’s [entomology program] right away,” said Dorn.
Dr. Eric Benson, urban entomologist at Clemson University’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, confirmed that the termites found were, in fact, Formosan termites. While Dorn’s sample was the first confirmed findings, Benson noted that he has since received another sample of Formosan termites from Lexington County that were collected and saved by a homeowner last year.
Benson said that Formosan subterranean termites have been in the Charleston area for 60 years, and have been in Orangeburg since the 1990s. “We found them in York County around 2000 and in Pickens County around 2010, but we believe the infestations in those counties were eliminated. We know they are established in Charleston, Beaufort, Dorchester, Berkeley, Colleton and Orangeburg Counties. It appears that this year, Bamberg and Lexington Counties now have them.”
Benson shared the news with Modern Exterminating President Glenn Matthews III. “We are very proud of Rodney and our team here at Modern Exterminating,” he said. “Our family continuously strives to be the best in pest control and stay ahead of the curve in our industry. This discovery is definitely something we are excited and anxious to share with the community.”
Benson noted that this discovery does not mean Formosan subterranean termites are found uniformly throughout a county; rather, it just means locations in that county have been found to have established infestations at some locations. “It really isn’t unexpected to find the range of Formosan termites in S.C., has increased over time. Eventually, they may spread to other areas of the state, but it is impossible to predict exactly when or where,” he said.