Termites in Your Florida Home: What You Need to Know
Termites cause thousands of dollars in property damage every day. Removing them will run you anywhere from $228-$957. Most homeowners’ insurance policies won’t cover any of it.
Florida is, unfortunately, as much of a paradise for them as it is for humans. They thrive in its warm, humid environment.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about termites in Florida.
What Are Termites?
There are over 2,000 species of termites in the world. 50 of them are found in the United States, and 20 are classified as structural pests. They eat cellulose, the main ingredient in paper, cardboard, and wood.
A termite’s appearance differs from species to species. They’re often confused with ants but have lighter bodies, broader, wastes, and straight antennae.
There are three major types of termites in Florida. They include subterranean, drywood, and dampwood.
Subterranean termites are common in the warmest and most humid parts of Florida. Their name comes from their underground colonies that are connected by mud-tube systems.
They’ll travel anywhere and go through anything to get food for their large colonies. They can chew through:
The Formosan Subterranean Termite is also known as the “Super Termite.” It’s an invasive Asian species that has reached Florida. It’s one of the most destructive species, forming huge colonies and rapidly destroying wood.
These termites live in colonies of less than 1,000. They don’t nest in the soil but instead hide in wood structures.
You could already have one of these pests living in your home right now. You may notice the flying adults, known as swarmers, during the day in the summer and fall.
The dampwood termite is one of the largest types. It thrives in high-humidity areas where wood meets soil or is in constant contact with water.
They can hitch a ride into your home if you bring wood products such as antiques or hardwood floors. They’re not the most common in Florida, but they can cause massive damage.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
Termites cause so much damage because they often go unnoticed. By the time a homeowner can find them and get them removed, their home has already been chewed to bits.
This makes it important to know what to look for. Signs of a termite infestation include:
- Discarded wings
- Mud tubes
- Damaged or hollow wood
- Banging or clicking sounds inside your walls
- Bubbling or uneven paint
- Termite droppings
How To Prevent Termites
Termite prevention keeps your home and yard safe, but it requires diligent effort.
Check for any leaks in your home. Look for puddles around your roof and air conditioner. Subterranean termites will die and be unable to reproduce if they can’t get enough moisture.
Keep your gutters and pipes clean. They’re a favorite hiding spot for termites because of the warmth, moisture, and darkness.
Caulk and seal any cracks and crevices. Focus on openings around your foundation where pipes meet the wall and the area around the windows and doors. A termite can get through an opening that’s almost too small to see.
Stacking firewood against your house or leaving tree stumps in the yard is like putting out a plate for the little pests. There should be at least six inches between your porch, deck, or patio and the ground.
Subterranean termites love mulch made of wood. Use varieties made with other materials such as rubber or gravel instead.
Get regular inspections from a pest control company. They’ll make sure that the conditions of your home won’t let pests in and help keep them away if you’ve had them before.
How To Get Rid Of Termites
Termites will burrow into the smallest holes, and it’s almost impossible to block them all off. Prompt termite treatment keeps colonies from growing and becoming unmanageable.
Chemicals are the most common method, but you can also choose more unique and less dangerous alternatives.
Termiticide barriers around your house help with large colonies. When one termite is infected, they’ll spread the poison to all others they encounter.
Direct chemicals are a way to deal with a termite problem that’s spread to the inside of your home. It gets sprayed in popular hiding places such as cracks and crevices and expands. The protection lasts for a month or more.
Baiting is a popular pest control method. They also have poisonous chemicals that can be spread throughout and kill a colony. A cardboard trap is a simple but less effective DIY method.
Predators and Parasites
Termites may seem like unstoppable pests, but they have natural predators and parasites like any creature. Unleashing them is a helpful non-chemical way to get rid of the pests.
Diatomaceous earth is full of fossilized aquatic organisms with exoskeletons made of silica. Spreading it can help kill subterranean termites by penetrating their exoskeleton and dehydrating them.
Nematodes are segmented roundworms. They’re a natural parasite that feeds on several garden pests, including termites. They burrow into them and can kill them in a few days.
Mix two cups of water, dish soap, and ten drops of your favorite essential oil. Orange and neem oils tend to do the best job.
Spray it on the termites to keep them from shedding their skin or laying eggs. It’s a slower but more natural way to kill them.
Look for professional pest control to find the best option for you. They’ll be able to correctly identify the types of termites you have, use the right methods to remove them, and keep you and your family safe.
Professional Pest Control for Termites in Florida
Termites are one of the nastiest and most dangerous pests that could ever darken your Florida home. They come in subterranean, dampwood, and darkwood varieties.
Look for signs of them such as droppings, damaged wood, or discarded wings. Seal your home and put away your wood to keep them out. Call for a professional as soon as an infestation begins.
Get started with All U Need Pest Control today.