If there’s one thing that is more dangerous than termites, it is MORE termites! These tiny demons eat all day long and wreak havoc on any property they infest. And the worst part is, they don’t even give you a chance to figure things out! Even before you know it, a few odd termites transform into a full-blown colony and then a mega colony of wood eaters, gnawing at the foundation of your house inch by inch!
While there are several types of termites (more on this later), it doesn’t really matter because all of them are potent hazards to your beloved house and furniture. So, the wise thing to do is call a professional team every few months and nip the issue in the bud. While it may seem like money spent, such preventative measures pay off brilliantly in the long run.
So, read on to find out everything you need to know about these pesky little wood-eaters and how you should prepare your house for an upcoming inspection. Happy reading!
Common Types of Termites – Wait, What? There are Types?
Well yes! As if it wasn’t enough that they cause such a huge magnitude of damage, there are several types of termites. And there are different treatments for the different types! If you stay in Florida, the common types of termites you will find include – eastern subterranean termites, damp wood and dry wood termites.
Read on to find out some characteristics and differences between these three. Bonus: you’ll also learn which one’s the biggest evil. So, stay tuned.
- Eastern Subterranean Termites
As their name suggests, these are commonly found along the eastern coast of America, and they live under the ground. They build long tunnels between their nests and foraging sites (your homes). They build bigger colonies than drywood termites, with millions of pesky termites living in each colony and eating away at the foundation of your home.
They are usually under a centimeter long with white bodies and no eyes. Their queen, however, can be 10 centimeters long and live up to 15 years, all this while producing gazillions of baby wood-eating machines.
Of these, the Formosan termites are one of the deadliest types simply because of the size of their colonies. They pack in millions of termites in one nest and can damage your property pretty quickly.
- Dampwood Termites
Unlike subterranean termites, the dampwood variety doesn’t live and forage under the soil but nests in wet wood. They infest wood that is moist from water seepage or soil. Most common areas of dampwood termite infestations include the wood around your roof, foundation pillars if these are in contact with damp soil, wood infected with molds or fungi, etc.
These are common across Florida’s mangrove belts, woodlands as well as cities.
Fun Fact: If you leave your lights on at night, you unknowingly attract dampwood termites to your house!
- Drywood Termites
Also known as powder post termites, drywood termites prefer dry wood over moist ones. The most common way to know if you have a drywood termite infestation is to check for their waste material that looks like a pile of sand just under the wood they are foraging on.
Unlike the sub-soil variety, these termites do not grow and reproduce just as fast! Because of their slower reproduction rate (some take almost five years to reach sexual maturity), they also cause slower damage than the dampwood varieties.
However, these are more difficult to treat and get rid of. The only surefire way is if you fumigate or apply heat or pest-control chemicals to the affected areas.
Swarming Habits in Floridian Termites
Unfortunately, because of the humid conditions of Florida, there is one of the other varieties of termites swarming all year round. Here’s a roundup of the common swarming patterns.
- Eastern Subterranean Termite – October to February, during the day
- Dark Southeastern Subterranean Termite – March to June, also during the day
- Formosan Termite – During late spring, during the night
- Tropical Rough-Head Drywood Termite – From April to July, also during the night
- Tropical Smooth-Head Drywood Termite – All year long and commonly in the afternoon
- All Three Species of Dampwood Termites – In late fall/winter and late spring/summer, usually at dusk
How to Prepare for a Professional Termite Inspection
Yes, it’s more than just booking a visit and giving the service guys a home tour! To make the most out of a professional inspection, follow the points below to prepare in advance.
1. Rearrange Furniture and Clear Storage
Every house has a dozen things stacked under their bathroom or kitchen sinks. Since these water outlets are hotspots for termite infestation, it’s best if you move around some of these things and clear the space for termite inspections. The same goes for boxes and unused furniture that you usually store in the garage against the walls. Just bring them two feet away so that inspectors can thoroughly check the walls.
2. Clear the Way to the Attic
Since attics are one of the dampest (and unused) regions of your house, these are common places for infestations to begin. So, clear out anything blocking the access route and also clean the place to avoid debris falling over your heads while inspecting the place.
3. Make the Crawl Space under your House Accessible
If there’s a crawl space under our house (if your house sits on a raised platform), it is super easy for the inspectors to reach the foundation. So, before the guys come in, make sure to clear everything out.
If you live in Florida, the chances are that you already know about termites! These mini-monsters love to eat, and if they make you’re beautiful place their feeding spot, don’t stop at anything! So, it’s always better to take preemptive measures and call for professional termite inspectors frequently.
All of the above steps ensure that when professionals come for their inspection, they don’t have to spend an awful amount of time clearing areas. Doing these small things in advance only ensures that they get more time inspecting the place, and you get your money’s worth.