As temperatures warm with the change of seasons here in Orlando, it can signal the arrival of termites, a very common problem in the spring — particularly in the months of April and May. According to the National Pest Association, termites cause more than $5 billion in damage a year in the United States; that is more than storms, floods and fires combined! Because of how serious this threat is, we’re going to discuss how to recognize, prevent and treat termite infestations so that you don’t fall victim to it this year in Orlando, Florida.
The Most Common Types of Termites
There are approximately 45 different species of termites, which fall into three main termite types: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Each type of termite impacts homes in specific areas of the country.
1. Subterranean termites: Subterranean termites can survive in a wide range of temperatures. They live in the soil of every state except Alaska, where they build the largest nests of any other insect in the country.
2. Drywood termites: Drywood termites live in areas without freezing temperatures. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites do not need soil to survive. Although they can cause considerable damage, drywood termites create smaller colonies than subterranean termites, which means it takes them longer to make an impact.
3. Dampwood termites: Dampwood termites like moisture, which means they do not often infest homes and man-made structures. Like drywood termites, dampwood termites do not require contact with soil. Dampwood termites can be found in the Southwest, on the Pacific coast, and in certain parts of Florida.
Signs of a Termite Infestation
Because termites can cause so much damage in so little time, it's important to treat a termite infestation right away. Here are three signs that your home has a termite infestation:
1. Wings: When reproductive termites (or swarmers) fly around scouting new places to create colonies in the spring, they discard their wings. Look for swarmers or groups of tiny, clear, discarded wings near light sources or windows because they are attracted to light. Also keep an eye out for discarded wings near your wood's foundation. Wings are signs that you may have an infestation, so call in a professional for a free inspection if you suspect you see wings.
2. Wood damage: Termites don't typically feed on the surface of the wood because they are more attracted to the dark, humid environment inside wood. Therefore, you may not notice any surface wood damage. Tap on the wood and listen for a hollow sound, which can be a sign that termites are eating it from the inside out. Sometimes wood becomes rippled due to damage from swarming drywood termites that can enter cracks in the home's foundation or near vents and windows.
3. Mud tubes and droppings: Subterranean termites leave behind small mud tubes, made of mud and termite droppings. The tubes provide moisture for termites while they search for food. It can be difficult to see mud tubes because they are less than two centimeters in diameter. Look for them protruding from exterior walls and on your home's foundation. If you find mud tubes, call a termite control company immediately. Destroying the tubes will not take care of the problem. You may also notice wood-colored droppings called frass, produced by drywood termites.
The best way to keep termites out of your home is by keeping them out in the first place. To prevent termites, take the following actions:
Store mulch, sawdust, and firewood raised off the ground and away from your home's exterior.
Trim trees and shrubs so they don't touch the foundation of your home.
Seal cracks in your home's foundation.
Repair indoor and outdoor water leaks, including roofs and gutters, right away.
Clean out gutters on a regular basis.
Ventilate attics and crawl spaces to reduce humidity.
Cover crawl spaces with plastic sheeting.
Professional Termite Treatments
A termite control specialist can treat your home for termites and keep them from returning. The two main termite treatments are baiting stations and liquid treatments. Worker termites will feed on baiting stations, which contain slow-acting insecticides, and pass the bait on to other members of the colony.
Because it takes up to several months for termite baiting stations to take effect, many pest control experts supplement baiting stations with liquid treatments. These residual barriers protect your home from further damage while you wait for the baiting stations to take effect. Liquid barriers are used in areas of the home with an active infestation as well as on support beams in direct contact with the ground.
Work with a Professional to Guarantee Results
The fastest way to treat current treatment infestations and protect your home from future infestations is by working with a termite control specialist. Here at Evergreen, our highly trained staff can effectively eliminate termite infestations and develop a prevention plan to keep your home safe in the future. Protect your home from termites this spring with our termite control services in Orlando!