If you’re a property owner, there’s a good chance that the thought of termites fills you with dread. It’s difficult to say how quickly termites cause damage, but scientists estimate a mature colony can consume over ten pounds of wood in a month. Because many people don’t realize they have termites until the structural damage is apparent, that adds up quickly. To help identify termites before it’s too late, you need to know what they look like and where they live.
There are 21 species of termites found in Florida, six of which are invasive. Some of the termite species found here aren’t pests, but others have the potential to cause a great deal of damage.
Luckily, most termite species look similar, so you don’t need to worry about the details when identifying them. Most termites are relatively small, between a quarter and a half of an inch long. Their bodies are usually somewhere between white and light brown, and they look soft. Their jaws are often prominent.
Once you’ve identified the presence of termites, a pest control expert will be able to tell you whether it’s a species you should worry about. If it is, they can walk you through the best treatment plan to protect your property.
Two main categories of problematic termites exist: drywood and subterranean. They live different lifestyles and will attack different areas of your home or business. You’re unlikely to spot either of them unless the colony has been there for several years.
As their name suggests, drywood termites prefer to live in areas with plenty of dry wood access, such as attics. Subterranean termites live underground and travel through tunnels called mud tubes to prevent themselves from drying out. These tubes, usually found near your foundation, are the main sign that differs between the two types of termites.
Both types of termites tend to eat wood from the inside out, resulting in wood that sounds hollow when you knock on it. The termites also sometimes leave behind a powdery wood substance called frass, similar to the wood shavings a drill produces.
The final sign of termites to be on the lookout for is a swarm during the spring. The termites in the swarm will look a bit like flying ants, and it’s easy to miss them. Discarded wings may be the best indication that a swarm happened.
If you’re in northeast Florida, contact Orange Environmental Services for your residential or commercial termite control needs.