Termites are small, easy to miss insects but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Drywood termites and other wood-destroying insects can cause significant damage. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars in damage are caused by termites and homeowners are unaware they even have an infestation. Pestguard Commercial Services is a leading expert in termite control and fumigation, serving the gulf coast of Florida for over 25 years. Below is a list of everything you need to know about termites in South Florida– from where they live, when they’re most active, how to treat them, and more.
What Are Termites?
A small, pale, soft-bodied insect that lives in large colonies with several different castes, typically within a mound of cemented earth. Many kinds feed on wood and can be highly destructive to trees and timber. The queen in a colony can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day, which means it doesn’t take long for a few termites to reach the millions, and a million termites can cause serious damage fast. Damage will start as soon as the swarmers have mated, which can take up to a few days after landing near your home.
- Subterranean termites are just as they suggest, they are formed in and live underneath the ground. This type will build elaborate tunnel systems and mud tunnels through which they access above-ground food sources. Subterranean termites live in massive colonies made up of millions of termites and have caused more damage to homes in the US than storms and fires combined.
- Drywood termites live within the wood they consume and oftentimes infest walls and furniture. This type of termite is commonly mistaken for flying ants, but the two have very different body types. Termites are thin elongated bodies and ants have a segmented body. These termites do not dig tubes and require less moisture.
What Time of Year Are Termites Active?
Termites are active year-round. There is a reproductive season called “Swarm Season” where you may notice signs of infestation. Swarming season generally occurs during the warm, damp spring weather. Most common months are May through September.
What Are the Warning Signs of Termite Damage?
- Mud tubes– termites build mud tubes as a way of ensuring they have access to moisture while collecting more food. These tubes will allow termites to travel from the nest to wood, soil, and moisture sources.
- Hollow wood– termites thrive in dark, moist areas. To be more comfortable, termites will work their way from the inside of the wood out, leaving hollow areas in the center of the wood. This is a sign that termites have already started to cause serious damage! Use extra caution on any structures you suspect may be damaged and contact a termite control expert as soon as possible.
- Small piles of wings. When swarmers settle on a place to colonize, they drop their wings and get to work. Piles of wings mean an infestation is close by or on its way.
- Sagging floors and ceilings. Another sign that termites have already begun damaging your home, sagging floors and ceilings are the result of weakened beams.
- Cracked paint. As wood becomes damaged and distorted, paint will begin to chip from the surface. Paint chips, especially on basement or shed windows, usually indicate termite damage on the inside of the wood.
How Can I Help Prevent Termites?
While termites are common in Florida and can go unnoticed for a long time, use these tips to help prevent an infestation.
- Eliminate as much wood to soil contact as possible. If laying mulch, try to avoid getting to close to your home.
- Store fire wood at least 25 feet away from your structures.
- Opt for plastic or concrete lawn furniture and ornaments
- Immediately repair any leaks or moisture problems
- Drain water away from your foundation. Gutter extensions are a great tool!
- Keep stucco and wood or vinyl siding above the finished soil level. Ensure there is at least a six-inch clearance.
What do I do if I Have Termites?
Call Pestguard Commercial Services for a complimentary inspection! Our experts have been serving the Gulf Coast of Florida for over 25 years and will specifically design your treatment based on a thorough inspection and specific needs to your home, community or condominium. Drywood and Subterranean termites are treated differently.
Treatments can include:
- PCS Total Protection Plan – Our state of the art pest protection program and warranty for Subterranean Termites, Drywood Termites and Wood-Destroying Beetles.
- Traditional Liquid Treatment – Preventative and Corrective
- Bait System Conversion Program – Cost effective and guaranteed to save your community money
- Spot Treatments- There are liquid soil-applied termiticides and should be applied by a trained professional
- Fumigation – Penetrates every nook and cranny of the entire building