Conehead termites invade Dania Beach

Species first discovered in city in 2001

DANIA BEACH, Fla. - Broward County is experiencing a major bug problem, as conehead termites are spreading throughout the area just before termite swarming season.

The conehead termites popped up in Dania Beach about 14 years ago. Since then, experts have been able to contain the species. On Tuesday they were out at several properties, destroying nests before swarming season.

Experts said the colonies of conehead termites are nestled in the trees and not visible to the naked eye.

The insect is a ravenous Caribbean termite that's easily recognizable by its pointy head. The species is also considered dangerous and highly adaptable.

"It can also get into ornamentals, fruit trees. There's almost nothing that it won't eat," science adviser Barbara Thorne said.

The species first popped up in Dania Beach in 2001.

To prevent them for spreading, experts go out once a year to try to destroy the nests in hopes of eradicating the species altogether.

"What you want to do is contain them here and kill them before they swarm to another location," Andy Rackley, with the Florida Department of Agriculture, said.

A property off of Southwest 45th Street is one of two active nesting grounds for the conehead termites. But despite that, experts believe they're doing a good job at making sure the species doesn't spread throughout the county.

Experts said once they spot a nest, they destroy and incinerate it. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of termites are expected to take to the air and find their territories during swarming season.

"This termite is very capable of spreading quickly and probably quite far in South Florida if not beyond," Thorne said.

The process of killing the termites takes about a day and a half. Once the nests are destroyed, experts will come back out to make sure no more pop up.

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