Termite swarming season for most of the country comes between May and July. But one of the many blessings of living on the Gulf Coast of Florida is our sub-tropical weather. We don’t really have a winter season where we have to hibernate in our homes – and neither do many of our troublesome insects.
Researchers at our Florida universities say that December is really the only month where they don’t have records of termites swarming. But thankfully, they do have some discernable patterns. In our area, termites are most active – moving about and building new nests – from March through late June.
So there’s no better time to prepare by sharing some of the best tips for spotting a termite infestation early on.
But I Don’t Have Termites
Unfortunately, for Florida homeowners, this is a temporary situation. You either have termites now or you will find them later.
Termites are responsible for approximately $5 billion in damages every year to between 500,000 and 750,000 homes in the United States. And another blessing? Florida is teeming with the three termites responsible for the lion’s share of the annual damage – Subterranean termites, Formosan termites and Drywood termites.
The hardest part of knowing whether or not you have termites is that they remain almost entirely out of sight. They enter your home from underground through mud tubes and even come in through the walls up into the eaves in your attic. Subterranean termites have been known to eat through plastic, plaster, and even asphalt to get to wood.
Four Things to Look Out For
When a termite colony becomes too big to sustain, alates, the breeders of the termite caste, will leave the nest in swarms, looking for a new place to settle. Once they land on a new location, they shed their pairs of wings and start getting busy. So discarded wings is a sign you may now be the not-so-proud-host of a new termite colony.
Swarmers also don’t last long indoors – so if you find dead flying termites there are likely more close by. People sometimes mistake termites for flying ants. Not that you want to meet either, but termites are easy to identify by their long bodies and pairs of evenly shaped wings. Flying ants have segmented bodies and irregularly sized wing pairs.
If you run across pencil-width up to inch-wide tunnels on or near the foundation, crawl spaces, or even sometimes the attic edges and eaves, that’s a pretty good sign you’ve got subterranean termites. If you see cream colored insects inside the tube, you have a problem. If the tube is dried and empty, you’re not out of the woods yet – the termites might now be using different tubes. Don’t take a chance, call a professional.
As termites eat you out of house and home they do renovations. Drywood termites in particular will clear out large open galleries. As they do so, they kick little pellets of excrement, also called frass, out of the area. If you happen upon a pile of what looks like sawdust or blond roast coffee grounds in your windowsills or the corner of a floor, that’s a sign of infestation.
The most telling sign, of course, is the one that’s the hardest to diagnose early. If you’ve got doors and windows that aren’t opening properly, it could be expansion due to humidity and changes in barometric pressure. Or it could be a termite infestation.
If you see slight damages to wallpaper or wrinkled paint or drywall, that may be the result of termites burrowing through. If you notice buckling, bulging or blistering in your wood flooring (and sometimes paneling), you might have a water leak, shoddy construction, or damage thanks to termites. The floor might sound squeaky – even if it is a tile floor. The wood or supporting joists might even be damp or soft. Be safe – call a pro.
If you notice you have dipping ceilings, buckling support beams, and other severe structural damage, or if your house is smelling musty and starting to look like its falling apart and haunted, it’s not ghosts – it’s termites.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
Of course, the best way to avoid termites invading your home is to be proactive. Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we offer a package deal – combining our Go Green Perimeter Plus with world class termite prevention.
Term Assure 365 not only takes care of the usual creepy crawling pests, but also assures your early warning of any termite activity – with a $1-million damage warranty. It all comes at a very affordable price, and like all of our solutions, it’s safe for your family and pets. For more details, or to schedule your initial treatment, just give us a call!
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