The new hybridization has scientists concerned. Although there haven’t been any documented cases of hybrid colonies existing in the wild, there are colonies being observed at the University of Florida. Researchers have noted that hybrid colonies appear to be quite vigorous, growing at almost twice the rate of either parent species. They have also witnessed that Asian termite males actually prefer to mate with Formosan termite females, not females from their own species, increasing the chance of hybrid colony formation.2
While many hybrid species are sterile (e.g., the mule, a horse-donkey hybrid,) it is not yet known if offspring from a Formosan-Asian termite pair are capable of reproducing. It typically takes five to eight years for a colony to produce the winged adults that leave the nest to mate.3
However, even if the resulting offspring can't start new colonies, the damage done over the 20-year lifespan of a colony is a substantial threat to homeowners, especially in light of the increased colony-growth rate.4 As the study published by the University of Florida researchers summarizes, “a kick from a mule is as good as a kick from a donkey.5”
Researchers expect the establishment of hybrid termite colonies to dramatically increase the amount of termite damage in the affected areas.4 Matthew Messenger, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reports that hybrid termite colonies should respond to treatment like the parent colonies.3 The Sentricon® System is an effective means of eliminating Formosan and Asian termite colonies6 and is expected to eliminate "super" termite colonies, too.
Find a Certified Sentricon Specialist® in your area to learn more about how Sentricon can protect your home from threats posed by termites—even the "super" ones.