Alan Hardy is suspicious of anything wooden arriving from Hawaii.
Hardy is a Sacramento-based specialist on insects with the state Department of Food and Agriculture.
He works with customs and border inspectors to keep out unwanted insects.
This includes what he terms the "tremendously destructive" Formosan termite now established in Hawaii. Colonies have also been found in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Texas, but Hardy is more concerned with a possible infestation from Hawaii.
The Formosan termite eats and breeds faster than the local varieties, he explained. Physically, the Formosan termite looks much like local varieties. It would have to be identified by a professional.
Although termites can arrive in any wooden object, including wooden legs and tiki figurines, the most probable form of entry, Hardy said, would be in furniture or wooden shipping crates.