Let’s face it. We live in Florida, which is an awesome place with great weather and just the right amount of rain. However, in living here we understand that there are inherent risks, whether from hurricanes or, in this case, from infestations of termites.
According to Florida Pest Management Authorities, termites are the leading cause of property destruction and end up costing homeowners in the state of Florida billions of dollars each year. This is the reason new home builds generally consist of cinder block construction. However, a large portion of homes built before the year 2000 are wood-based and easily accessible to pests like termites, looking for new places to build their nests. Even with regular treatments and inspections there is no guarantee that termites won’t invade your home.
Typically, termites are small, white, soft-bodied insects that are hard to detect unless you know what to look for. There are two types of termite species: dry wood termites and subterranean termites. Not unlike ants and bees, termites live in colonies and are capable of doing so much damage because they reproduce quickly, easily and in very large numbers. A single home can house millions upon millions of termites without the homeowners even knowing. There are some things you can look for as early warning signs and if you see any of them or if you are unsure your best bet is to contact a local pest control company to inspect your home.
Here Are Some of the Warning Signs of Termite Infestation
- Termite shelter tubes
- Subterranean tunnels
- Blowholes in trees
- Earthen packing
- Termite noises and wood excavation
- Piles of termite frass in or around the home
- Presence of wings on termites
- Sagging floors and hollow wood
A pest control specialist can easily identify an infestation and prescribe the best method dependent on the type of termite and the amount of time they’ve been living in or around your home. If the early warning signs are subtle you may be in luck as your visitors may have only arrived a short time ago. In this case a low level treatment option may be best. This is why annual inspections are a necessity especially in Florida.
If the warning signs exhibited show evidence that your visitors have been living with you for a longer period of time, then a more drastic approach may be necessary to rid your home of termites. Tenting may be your only alternative. Although this may sound like overkill, this approach will ensure that all termites including the Queen and eggs will be killed. And once you’ve had this done most pest companies offer a lifetime warranty under the guise that you have them come to your home for a free yearly inspection. It should keep up with this you should never have to have your home tented again.
If you think you can get rid of termites on your own there are some alternatives to hiring a pest service. Depending on the type of termite you are dealing with will determine which method is the best fit for your home.
Barrier treatments are more of a preventative measure, which involves some sort of a physical barrier placed around the home to help keep termites out. This could be a mesh screen or a moat filled with gravel, plastic or sand. Since subterranean termites burrow through the soil a physical barrier may deter them away from your home.
Soil Bait Stations
Bait stations are poisonous food sources that are typically drilled into the ground around the perimeter of a home and nearby any area made of wood. Generally, the small amount of termites that would ordinarily enter your home are stopped here, dead in their tracks. These don’t always work, but when they do subterranean termites almost never come back.
Interior Bait Stations
Using base stations inside of your home can also be effective in stopping and eliminating termite infestations in the early stages. Just as bait traps used for controlling ants work, these bait stations contain poisons that the termites think our food. When the termites encounter the bait they eat some and bring some more back to the colony to feed the workers, the larva, and the Queen. This can have devastating effects on the colony and, if you are lucky, rid your home of termites altogether.
Still, professional help is probably always going to be your best option. You probably paid a lot for your home, so the fees that come with termite treatments pale in comparison to the cost of having to repair the infrastructure or foundation of your house. Termites are serious, so you must act seriously before it is too late.