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.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When I sprayed the ants, why didn’t they go away?
Most over the counter sprays are repellent in nature. The ants still know where they want to go, but need to find a different way to get there. Although the ants that were directly sprayed were killed, the original colony will split into two individual colonies.
What kind of treatment do you use for roaches?
There are a variety of indoor and outdoor roaches. Once we identify the roach, we will know how to best treat the problem. For inside varieties, like the German roach, we use baiting, crack and crevice methods to treat where they hide. For outside roaches, like the Palmetto roach, we treat the perimeter, concentrating on entry points to prevent them for entering the building.
Why didn’t my fumigation kill spiders and roaches?
Roaches that are still in an egg casing are not affected by fumigation. Spiders are known to hold their breath.
Why don’t you spray my baseboards?
We treat where pest hide. Treating crack and crevice areas reduces the chance that children and pets will come in contact with our products.
What is the dust by the front door?
It could be anything from drywood termites to fire ants. You should have your VIP Pest Control professional come to your home and diagnose the issue.
Are the products that are used dangerous for my children and pets?
Every product has some negotiable risk, however, VIP Pest Control, through correct placement and responsible use of products, reduces the risk in comparison to baseboard spraying.
Do I have to wash dishes after you treat?
Most treatments in your kitchen cabinets are done by a method called baiting, which will not require you to wash your dishes. If further treatment is required, your VIP Pest Control professional will recommend that you remove your dishes prior to treatment.
When can I expect results?
Depending on the insect and the size of the infestation, it could take a few days to a few weeks.
How long should I water new sod?
New sod should be watered every day for the first month.
Can I get by without tenting?
Sometimes it is possible, depending on the size of infestation, to treat termites without a tent. If you are seeing swarms of termites, you may have had this problem for several years. In those cases, we recommend fumigation. But, every house is different. Have your VIP Pest Control professional inspect your home and let you know which method is best for your situation.
What will it cost?
The cost of your service is determined by the size of your home and/or lawn, and its particular needs and issues. Our service rates are budget-friendly and competitive. We will be glad to visit your home and offer a free quote.