This study reports the spread of 2 major invasive subterranean termite species (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) in metropolitan southeastern Florida: Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki and C. gestroi (Wasmann). Termite records from 1990 to 2015 were analyzed to determine the expansion of their distribution. Our results suggest that the ranges of their distribution have increased exponentially during this time frame. This observation raises concerns about potential structural damage in this urbanized area, which includes 6 million residents. The risk to structures located in an area with known Coptotermes infestation increased from 0.49% in 2000 to 7.3% in 2015, with some species distributional overlap. In addition, several localities that had Coptotermes records before 2000 have registered an increased density of termite infestation and swarming activity. We argue that the subterranean termite problem in metropolitan southeastern Florida is still in its early phase of invasion, and we predict that the distribution and structural infestations by Coptotermes will continue to increase in the years to come, with an estimated 50% of all structures in southeastern Florida at risk by 2040.
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Vol. 99 • No. 2