SAN DIEGO - Formosan subterranean termites, often nicknamed super-termites, have been found in a number of homes in and around San Diego.
 
"Super-termites" form massive colonies - numbering up to two million - and can cause extreme damage within time frames as short as six months. Traditional dry-wood termites typically take at least 10 years to do similar damage.
 
San Diego-based company Thrasher Termite and Pest Control says it's difficult to estimate how big the problem is. San Diego officials sent out letters to 60 homeowners with warnings.
 
"Unlike native subterranean termites, the termites we observed were extremely active, didn't flee when disturbed, and the soldiers went into attack mode," Thrasher Termite owner Garrett Thrasher told ABC 10 News. "They had hollowed out large areas of structural wood, always staying just beneath the exterior paint and unnoticed by the homeowner."
 
The Formosan subterranean termite has been transported worldwide from its native range in southern China to Formosa (Taiwan, where it gets its name) and Japan. In the 20th century, it became established in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Hawaii, and the continental United States. 
 
According to the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, the infestation, first discovered in 1992, was estimated to be about ten years old. This age corresponds to a time that a family living at the epicenter of the affected area brought wood and potted plants with them when they moved to San Diego from Hawaii. 

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