There are many questions when it comes to termites and how to protect your home from these tiny and destructive creatures. Termites can cause costly damage to your home if left untreated, resulting in financial hardship for many people. Knowing about preventative measures, the signs of infestation, and how to eliminate colonies can save you thousands of dollars in damage to your home. Here are some answers to the most common termite questions, brought to you by the termite experts at Hoffer Pest Solutions!
Q: What types of termites are found here?
There are three main types of termite that are most commonly found in Fort Lauderdale, and Florida in general, are drywood and subterranean termites -- along with formosan termites (a type of subterranean termites) becoming more and more common here in the sunshine state.
Q: How can I identify termites?
All species of termites live in colonies -- consisting of different castes. These castes are groupings that have specific functions within the termite colony -- the three groupings being swarmers, workers, and soldiers.
- The swarmers sole role is to find a mate, reproduce, and grow the colony. They are dark brown or black in color, ¼ to ½ inch in length, and have two pairs of wings (before they are shed).
- The workers role is...you guessed it...to work! They dig tunnels for the colony to travel in, as well as feed the queen and the king. They are creamy in color, have no wings, and are less than ¼ inch in length.
- The soldiers role is to protect the colony from outside predators that threaten them. They are creamy white in color, have no wings, and have brown heads and large jaws.
Q: What time of the year are termites most active?
Florida’s warm temperatures and humidity provide an ideal place for termites to thrive year round, and different species swarm during different periods. Swarming is when winged termites leave their nest to mate and start a new colony, usually in your home. In general, late spring and early summer are the most common times for termites to swarm, especially right after rainfall.
Q: What are the most common signs of termites?
Obviously seeing termites with your own eyes is the biggest indication that you might have a termite infestation, but oftentimes, termites aren't seen to the naked eye. Instead, you have to keep an eye out for their discarded wings which are usually found on windowsills, doors, and other entry points around your home. Along with their wings, also keep an eye out for these key signs of a termite colony's presence:
- Mud tubes: As one of the most common warning signs, these mud tunnels connect the termites to their food sources above ground, and are found in places dirt wouldn't naturally be.
- Warped wood & floors: Termites continue to build their tunnels through wood material as they consume it. Probing the suspicious area may unearth tunnels or the termites themselves.
- Fecal pellets: Drywood termites create tiny offshoots from their main tunnels in order to expel fecal pellets. If you notice tiny holes in walls or wooden furniture, knock to see if any pellets fall out and be on the lookout for new pellets.
Q: How long does it take for termites to cause damage?
Termites are very sneaky--it may take years before you notice their presence. Because Subterranean colonies can quickly grow to millions of termites, detecting early warning signs is crucial. Once termite swarmers have identified your home as a new place to colonize, the damage can begin almost immediately. They can cause damage to the structure of your home within just a few short months. Drywood termites, on the other hand, develop and grow their colonies much slower, so they take longer to cause damage.
Q: What measures can I take to prevent termites?
Termites are very active and widespread in Florida, therefore, the potential for damage is very high in comparison to other states in the U.S. The best way to protect your home is to take preventative measures before it becomes an issue. Be sure to:
- Regularly inspect and repair anything that is leaking either outdoors or indoors- think faucets, water lines, your roof, gutters, air conditioning units, etc.
- Seal all cracks and holes in your home’s foundation to prevent termites (as well as other pests) from entering.
- Keep mulch, firewood, and debris away from the foundation of your home. These attract termites and invite them right on in.
- Conduct an annual termite inspection to regularly check for termites. The best way to do this would be to hire a professional who knows what to look for and where.
Q: What are the most common termite treatment options?
If you suspect you have a termite infestation, it’s always best to enlist the help of a termite professional. Like humans, termites have strong survival instincts. So, if they feel disturbed, they may abandon the area and move to a new one quickly. There’s also a variety of different treatment options when it comes to eliminating termites, so a professional can help you choose the best one. The most common ways to treat termites include:
- Bait stations: One of the most effective ways to get rid of termites is to set up bait stations around your home. Termites will bring the poison back to their colony, and they will all gradually die off as they ingest the substance in the bait station.
- Liquid treatments: Liquid termiticides are an effective, non-invasive way to eliminate termite colonies in homes. This treatment is applied to the soil underneath and around the foundation of your home, without ever getting inside.
- Fumigation: Another common way to eliminate termites in your home is to fumigate it. With this treatment option, you usually have to vacate your home for days at a time while a professional exterminator "tents" your home. The downside to this is chemicals are used inside your home.
If you suspect a termite infestation in the Fort Lauderdale area, the experts at Hoffer Pest Solutions can help. Our termite specialists will inspect your home and the extent of the infestation, eliminate all present termite colonies, and put measures in place to prevent future infestations from occurring.