When you live in Florida, protecting your home from pests can be a demanding job. While much of the country is worried about how much snow is in their forecast, we are worried about how to make sure that our homes don’t attract unwanted pests who are on the move all year long here. Pests such as termites can be more damaging than the harshest winter in some cases. Every year in the United States termites cause billions in damage to unprotected homes and businesses. Don’t let your home be one of those.
What Do Termites Look Like?
There are 45 species of termite recorded in the United States. Drywood, dampwood, and subterranean termites are the most common of these and the most likely the culprits of damage to structural wood in your home. Termites range from a quarter to a half inch in length; just about the size of an ant, with the queens and kings growing to an inch or more in length. Worker termites are pale and have soft bodies while winged termites are called reproductives or swarmers and are often mistaken for the common flying ant. Swarmers can be spotted flying in tight groups as they look for a new home to start a brand-new colony.
What Does Termite Damage Look Like?
It is likely that you will never spot an actual termite before you notice the tell-tale signs of their presence. Termites live in your wood and will eat it from the inside out. Generally, when the damage is noticed there is already significant structural damage inside your walls or beams making prevention the key to keeping your home safe from these greedy little pests.
There are a few signs that you should look for when you are inspecting for termite damage. You might notice what looks like hollow tunnels in the crawl space under your home or mud tubes around or on your home’s foundation. If so, you might be looking at subterranean termites that will start from the ground and work their way up into the wood of your home. Other types of termites will usually enter your home through any other wooden entry point such as the eaves around your roof. Take a look in your attic beams for tunneling in wood or soft spots that might be indicative of termites having eaten through the interior of the wood.
Undetected, termites will work their way through your home. Any exposed wood or other building materials made from cellulose will do, which is most of the structural beams. You might have noticed sagging walls or ceilings which look like water damage, and tunneling or darkening through wooden beams or cabinets.
What Can I Do To Prevent Termites?
You can do your part to help prevent termites such as making sure that you are using treated lumber for any building projects where the wood meets the ground like that on decks and porches. Also, never store wood or mulch close to your home. These materials contain a great deal of cellulose; a termite’s main food and mulch has added moisture. This combination too close to your home is like laying a welcome mat out for termites. You will also want to keep tabs on any water sources leading in or out of your home to be sure they are not leaking. Termites, like any other creature, need water to survive. Make sure that any debris or firewood is stored well away from your home as well.
These tips are not a guarantee to preventing a termite infestation. If you want to make sure that your home never suffers the damage that a termite colony can bring, have your home inspected regularly and treated by a professional service such as Hoffer Pest Solutions who can offer your home year-round protection from these and other pests. Give us a call to set up your first inspection today.