Florida, the state of palm trees, sunshine, beaches and termites. Yes, you read that right, TERMITES. Florida’s warm and humid climate offers the perfect environment for termites to make their home. Early spring is the time of year that Subterranean Termites tend to swarm in the Tampa Bay area. For many homeowners, that is the first sign that they have a termite problem even though chances are, they have been in the walls of a home for years. There are some common myths about termites that we will address in this week’s blog post.
Myth # 1 My home is made with brick or concrete block, I won’t get termites
Many people mistakenly believe that since their homes are built with brick or concrete blocks, they won’t get any kind of termite activity. That is just a false sense of security. All homes have wood in the interior walls, joists, attic and roof, not to mention those homes with wood floors. Subterranean termites will often move over foundation walls to where there is an expansion joint which allows them to access structural lumber. A Subterranean termite only needs a 1/64th of an inch crack in the foundation to find a way into your home.
Myth # 2 Subterranean termites live in the dirt
This is partially true. Subterranean termites nest in the soil to obtain moisture, but they will also nest in wet or damp wood. If the wood does not touch the soil, they will build mud tubes to reach wet wood. These mud tubes are essential to their survival because they keep the temperature and humidity at optimum levels. They also protect the subterranean termites from sunlight, dehydration and predators while they are feeding on cellulose (wood) material. Mud tubs can measure several feet in length and can reach to the second story of a home or higher. We have seen subterranean termites in multi-story condos Subterranean termites live in “galleries” that are hidden in the wood. If you were to poke a pencil into a wooden board that contained a gallery, the pencil would go right through the wood like butter. The subterranean termites keep a thin layer of wood in place to protect the gallery.
Myth # 3 I don’t have a termite problem because I don’t see any
Many homeowners don’t realize they have a termite problem until there is a swarm. Subterranean termites tend to swarm in early spring when weather conditions are just right. It can take a subterranean termite colony several years to grow large enough to swarm. Meanwhile, they remain hidden while they eat away at your largest investment, your home. On average, there can be as many as 13-14 subterranean termite colonies per acre with a million termites in each colony. Every home should have a subterranean termite treatment
Myth #4 The trees and dead wood on my property will divert the termites away from my house
While dead trees, fire wood and other cellulous materials will provide subterranean termites with an abundant food source, it won’t prevent them from expanding their colony to your home in search of food. You should always remove dead trees and keep firewood stored away from your house. If you have mulch in the flowerbeds around your home, try to use rubber mulch. Regular mulch is the perfect meal for subterranean termites. We recommend that cypress mulch, pine bark mulch and other mulch made from cellulous materials be kept at least 12 inches from the foundation of your home.
Myth #5 I live in a new house/new subdivision, I won’t get termites
All homes, even new ones, are highly susceptible to Subterranean termites. Being proactive is the best defense against subterranean termites. By law in Florida, new homes must have the ground pre-treated for subterranean termites prior to the foundation being poured. You should receive a subterranean termite bond that is renewable annually for a nominal fee. We recommend having your home inspected for termites once a year. It only takes breaking our barrier for termites to again gain entry to your home. If you have a subterranean termite bond, we recommend having a booster treatment every five years.
Does your home need a termite inspection? Contact us today for a free, no obligation termite inspection or call 813-234-8888.