Nationwide, termites inflict more than $2.5 billion worth of damage on homes each year. Crawling up into sill plates or foundation posts from damp soil, flying into attics or crawl spaces, these relentless insects tunnel into and eat wood, leaving nothing but paper-thin layers where strong supports used to be.
Much of that damage could be avoided with early detection. But termites dine out of sight, cleverly disguising the results of their munching. That’s what makes them so scary — and so costly to control. It’s important to know the warning signs of termite activity, the different types of termites, and the various treatment options. Accurate identification is crucial: What works on one type may not affect another. There needs to be evidence of an active colony; damaged wood by itself may not be sufficient proof that termites are at work. If you suspect termite activity, call a licensed professional to confirm your findings. If termite presence is detected, your home needs to be treated immediately, and you should schedule annual inspections to make sure they have not returned.
Many homeowners discover they have a termite problem only after they see a stream of swarmers emerging by the hundreds from a tiny crevice and flying off to form a new colony. Other signs of trouble are harder to spot. The workers, the bugs that actually eat the wood, are visible only if you break into their tunnels or galleries, as are the soldiers that guard the nest.
Termite species in Florida
Of the dozens of termite species in the U.S., the two species responsible for the most damage to homes in Florida are the subterranean termite and the drywood termite.
Subterranean Termite Habits: Nest underground; uses mud tubes to reach wood in the house. Colonies range in size from several hundred thousand to a million. Workers will eat through plaster, foam, plastic, or asphalt to get to wood.
What to look for: Mud tubes – the most obvious signs of subterranean termite activity are mud tubes.
Subterranean termite mud tubes are pencil-wide to inch-wide tunnels, typically found on foundations and the walls of crawl-spaces. These mud tubes shelter subterranean termites traveling to and from the nest. If you see cream-colored insects when you break open the tubes, your house is infested. If you don’t, the colony may be dead or using another route inside. Also look for bulging floors, ceilings or walls – termites may be building satellite nests between joists or studs. Ridges on wallpaper could be tunnels for subterranean termites.
Habits: Small colonies can live anywhere in a house; needs no contact with ground.
What to look for: Flying swarm – sightings of winged termites indoors (or piles of shed wings) almost always means your house is infested. Seeing them outdoors is not necessarily cause for alarm. Another key sign are for holes and droppings.
Pinholes with piles of sand-grain-size pellets indicate drywood termites. Bigger holes may be signs of powder-post beetles or carpenter bees. Also keep an eye out for blistered wood – termites chewing into dry wood usually leave a thin veneer, which may appear blistered or dark and breaks through easily when pressed.
Subterranean Termite Control
Subterranean termites are the most widespread and persistent termite found in Florida. At Patrick Exterminating, we have utilized the Sentricon Colony Elimination System since 1995 to prevent termite intrusion. This proven baiting and monitoring system offers year-round termite protection and is the only termite prevention product to earn the Presidential Green Chemistry Award for environmental safety. We monitor each Sentricon bait station on a regular basis to determine if there is termite activity around your home. These stations are designed to detect and destroy the colony, effectively creating a permanent termite barrier around your home. For customers who require a liquid treatment, Patrick Exterminating is an authorized Termidor applicator. Liquid barriers have been utilized by the pest control industry since the beginning of the industry and we recognize it as an effective option if requested, or if the situation demands. Termidor is the top choice among liquid termite treatments and we are highly experienced in its application.
Drywood Termite Treatment
Drywood termite infestation has traditionally meant tent fumigation. Fortunately, times have changed. Homeowners now have options other than home tenting available and termite fumigation when it comes to dealing with these home-destroying pests. With the advent of sophisticated acoustic emission devices and infrared scanners, we are now able to pinpoint where the termites are eating and nesting. Localized treatments may be an option, allowing you to avoid the cost and inconvenience of tent fumigation. We will conduct a thorough inspection of your home, locate the problem and create an effective treatment plan to achieve termite elimination and future termite prevention.
If you see signs of what you think may be termite activity, please call us immediately at 772-286-6812 for a free inspection, or go to our Contact page. When termites swarm it may be the only time you see them before it is too late. Whether termite activity is detected or it’s a false alarm, we are here to make sure your home doesn’t become another termite statistic.
Patrick Exterminating – Since 1988
Just Say No to Bugs!
226 SE Gran Park Way, Stuart, Florida 34997
Open M-F 7:30AM – 5:00PM
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Sources: Sentricon, This Old House