Termites are an annoying and destructive pests that Florida consumers are often forced to deal with in their home or business. Aside from the inconvenience, termite damage in Florida costs property owners hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
There are two significant termite species that attack residential and commercial structures in the Sunshine State:
- Subterranean termites that nest in the ground and attack structures through the soil.
- Drywood termites infest the dry wood of a structure but do not live in the soil around a structure.
Subterranean Termite Facts
- Subterranean termites, including the Formosan termite, are the most destructive and frequently encountered termite in Florida.
- Subterranean termites are social insects and live in colonies containing hundreds of thousands of hungry termites; they will forage up to 150 ft. from the colony in search of food!
- Although they nest in soil, subterranean termites can attack structures by building tubes – some as long as 50 ft. – to connect their nest to wood in structures.
- Subterranean termites feed on wood or other items that contain cellulose, such as paper and fiberboard.
- Termites swarm – fly – from January to May and are attracted to light. They will lose their wings inflight and homeowners may find broken off wings.
Drywood Termite Facts
- Drywood termites live in sound, dry wood in inaccessible places, such as roof rafters, eaves, deep inside walls, attics, crawlspaces, and foundations; they also will infest cabinets, wood trim, and furniture.
- This type of termite can infest any type of home construction – new or old, wood-framed or concrete.
- Drywood termites can gain access to a structure by flying up to and through openings as small as 1/16 of an inch.
- These termites require no external source of moisture or contact with the soil to survive; they receive their moisture from the wood they infest.
- Drywood termite colonies are smaller than subterranean termite colonies; usually only 2,500 termites per colony.
Do I Have Termites?
Subterranean and drywood termites leave few obvious signs of their destructive presence in and around homes. Termites do most of their work behind the scenes much to the chagrin of unknowing homeowners.
Termites do however tip off their presence in a structure in the following ways:
- If you find broken off wings following a swarm or if you actually see flying termites during swarm season.
- Probe wood suspected of being termite infested with a flat-blade screwdriver to see if it has been hollowed out by hungry termites.
- If you see mud tubes on crawlspace walls, exterior or interior foundations, or in cracks and crevices.
- Drywood termites sometimes leave behind powdery fecal matter that they dispense of through small holes in the wood.
- The presence of termites in a home can only be confirmed with a thorough inspection by a trained pest management professional. Call Hoffer Pest Solutions today to schedule a no-cost termite inspection for your home and start protecting your biggest investment.
Termite Prevention Tips
The best control option for subterranean and drywood termites is prevention. Hoffer Pest Solutions has assembled a list of helpful tips homeowners can follow to prevent termites from targeting your home as their next meal:
- Remove old tree stumps, roots and decaying wood from your property.
- Remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the home was built.
- Eliminate any wood contact with the soil. Exterior woodwork should be a minimum of 6 inches above the ground and beams in crawl spaces at least 18 inches above ground to provide ample space to make future inspections.
- Fill in any cracks in the masonry or concrete on your foundation; make sure there are no entry points to your attic to keep drywood termites out.
- Foundation ventilation openings should be designed to prevent dead air pockets and of sufficient size to assure frequent changes of air; openings should not be blocked by overgrown shrubs and landscape plantings.
- Landscape plants and irrigation systems should be at least 2 ft. from the foundation; do not overdo it with mulch.
- Plumbing, gutters, downspouts and air conditioning units should be kept in good repair to avoid leaks and condensation build-up in your home – a prime attractant of subterranean termites.
- Wood in contact with the soil, such as fence and deck posts, poles and general foundation structures, should be commercially pressure treated wood.
- Do not overwater your lawn and cause excessive moisture build up; when watering avoid getting stucco or wood siding wet.