A swarm of Subterranean Termites arrived in the Tampa Bay area a couple of weeks ago and they will continue on and off until April.
What are Subterranean Termites?
University of Florida IFAS Extension just re-published “Pests in and around the Southern Home”. Wai-Han Chan, P.G. Koehler, and C.L. Tucker with University of Florida explain in this publication that “the three principal types of termites in Florida are subterranean, which nest in the soil; dampwood, which infest damp wood; and drywood termites, which infest dry wood. Subterranean termites are the most destructive of the three species and infest wood from underground. These termites have become a burden to homeowners today because it is not until there is severe infestation that these hidden creatures are seen. Biology Subterranean termites live in cooperative societies known as colonies. These colonies can consist of millions of individuals that share resources, such as food and shelter, and cooperatively care for their young. These colonies consist mostly of workers but also include soldiers and reproductive”.
What do Subterranean Termites Look Like?
Adult reproductive termites are dark-brown to blackish insects, about 3/8 inch-long. Commonly referred to as “swarmers”, the job of reproductive termites is to mate and start new colonies. Termite swarmers may or may not have wings, as their wings often are shed shortly after flight. Swarming termites are often confused with ants but can be distinguished by two simple characters. Termites lack the “pinched” waist of ants. Also, termite wings are equal in length, compared to ants that have distinctly longer front wings. Although termite swarmers can, occasionally, enter homes through open doors or windows, finding termite swarmers indoors is a reliable signal of infestation.
Does my House Need to be Treated?
Termites hang out wherever wood is found. Most yards, especially those in older, established neighborhoods, support termites. While termites are more abundant in some locations, chances are good that your yard has termites. Finding termites in a fence or woodpile, or in landscape timbers, might not mean that your home needs to be treated, but it should alert you to the presence of termites around your home.
If you find termites in your yard, familiarize yourself with what termites look like so that if you notice swarms of any unusual indoor insects, you will know whether your house should be inspected. Also, examine the foundation of your home to see whether mud shelter tubes are present that might indicate termite activity. Termite shelter tubes are hollow soil tunnels extending from the soil to your house, and provide runways for termites to travel between their underground nest and their food supply (your home). If you find any suspicious mud structures, leave at least part of the material in place for a professional termite inspector to examine.
Finally, keep soil and debris, such as stacked wood, away from the foundation of your home. This reduces the chance of termite entry and makes it easier to inspect your home for termite signs.
If you suspect termites, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your home.
Protecting Your Home.
Termites cost Florida homeowners hundreds of millions of dollars each year. You need to be able to recognize a termite problem and know what to do about it. Protecting your home should be a high priority.
DIY or Hire a Professional?
Because of the chemicals and specialized equipment needed to safely and effectively treat your home, it’s nearly always best to hire a professional. It takes a professional to thoroughly treat a home.
Request a FREE Pest Control or Termite Inspection today with the Professionals of Drive-Bye Exterminators.
Contact Us Today at 727-423-9040.