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Florida Department of Agriculture Warns of Termite Activity

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The Florida Department of Agriculture released a press released regarding termite swarming. They tell us that they have started to receive calls of “small insects flying around.” Termites are one of the most destructive pests to inhibit a home or structure. The termites will chew away at wood, leaving saw dust left over. Over time, termites can completely destroy anything made of wood. When you see small insects flying around this shows the termites swarming. Termites swarm when they are looking for a new colony.

A home is a large investment. Before you purchase a new home, make sure there has been an inspection done by a licensed pest control company. Also, it is recommended you install a preventative system in your home to notify you when termites are present.

There are two major types of termites, Subterranean Termites and Drywood Termites. Subterranean termites have colonies under the ground, then work themselves up into the structure. They need the ground to stay alive and also dig in a “tunnel” type pattern. They are also commonly found in large numbers. Drywood termites behave a bit differently. Drywood termites usually swarm in smaller numbers, and appear to have more of a wing-like body. Their colonies are found directly inside the wood.

Here are some tips the Department of Agriculture provided us with to help you protect your home from termites.

  • Remove wood piles and other cellulose sources from under and next to their homes
  • Have an annual inspection of their homes by a licensed professional pest control company.
  • Direct water sources, such as air conditioner drip lines and roof downspouts, away from the structure foundation.
  • When purchasing homes, carefully check the termite protection history of the home.
  • Obtain a termite protection contract and renew it annually.

You can read the full press release at their website.

Some Helpful Information On Termites

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Termite colonies consist of:

  • Primary reproductives - Function of reproducing and laying eggs
  • Secondary reproductives
  • Soldiers - defend the colony / nest from invaders
  • Workers - forage for food and feed their nutrients to the rest of the colony

Termites are constantly foraging for food. Workers will leave a pheromone trail while they are foraging. This trail allows other termites to also locate the food source. Termites eat material that contains cellulose, such as wood, roots, plant debris, paper or cardboard. Termites can gain entrance into a structure through any part of the wood frame in contact with the ground, through openings in the foundation around pipes and conduits or through cracks in the foundation. Termites can enter through cracks that are no wider than 1/64 of an inch. Subterranean termites require moisture to survive. They will create mud tubes to obtain access to a structure that is above ground. These tubes are created from soil cemented with secretions and fecal material. The tubes are to protect the termites from exposure to sunlight or dry conditions. Termites are able to survive in a structure without contact to the ground if there is a sufficient moisture source.

What Can You Do to Help Protect Your Home?

Small steps make a big difference. Start by eliminating food and moisture conditions around your home. These simple steps will deter termites, making your home a less attractive target.

Eliminate Moisture Problems

  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes, and a/c units
  • Divert water from foundation
  • Keep gutters and down-spouts clean
  • Ventilate crawl spaces
  • Remove excessive plant cover and wood mulch
  • Get rid of standing water on roof
  • Keep all vents clear and open
  • Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes

Remove Food Sources

  • Keep firewood, lumber, or paper away from foundation or crawl space
  • Get rid of stumps and debris near house
  • Place screens on outside vents
  • Check decks and wooden fences for damage
  • Wood on your home shouldn’t contact the soil

Warning Signs - Some indications you may have termites include

  • A temporary swarm of winged insects in your home or from the soil aroundyour home.
  • Any cracked or bubbling paint or frass (termite droppings).
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
  • Mud tubes on exterior walls, wooden beams, or in crawl spaces.
  • Discarded wings from swarmers.

For more information on termites please visit our page on termites.

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