Invasive Conehead Termite Working Group

Invasive Conehead Termite IPM Working Group

Mission:

To raise awareness about the importance, impacts, and control / eradication of conehead termite infestations in the United States, and to improve partnerships for implementing Integrated Pest Management projects, resulting in a long-term reduction in impacts.

Overview:

To date, two small populations of the invasive, arboreal conehead termites (Nasutitermes corniger) are established in the United States, one in Dania Beach, FL (first discovered in 2001), the other 13 miles north in Pompano Beach, FL (found in 2016). Both infestations are in Broward County in the southern portion of the Florida peninsula. The two sites, totaling approximately 55 acres, include infested forested natural areas, landscapes, fruit trees (orange, mango, avocado, papaya), native grasses, and residential and commercial structures.

If this invasive species disperses much further in Florida, agricultural operations including fruit groves, tree farms, plant nurseries, and sugar cane fields, will be at risk. Additionally, infestations in Florida prove the diversity of habitats this termite infests, demonstrating that live trees, shrubs, and grasses can be heavily damaged. Among many concerns, protected natural areas including Everglades National Park are vulnerable for substantial impacts by populations of this voracious pest.

Effective, widespread, stakeholder-supported implementation of IPM strategies does not currently exist due to limited resources and funds. Conehead containment / control / eradication efforts could be substantially escalated once stakeholders are educated on the risk of expanding populations, informed about IPM strategies for addressing and minimizing risk of infestations, and encouraged to develop collaborations focusing current personnel and equipment resources to more effectively address those risks.