Termites cause billions of dollars of damage in the United States. Drywood termites are very common in Tampa and the surrounding areas. They feed on materials that contain cellulose, such as wood and paper. When the drywood termite feeds on these materials in nature, the process returns nutrients back to the soil. But when they infest your home, they can cause serious and expensive damage. They feed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Left untreated, a small infestation can grow quickly. Often, one of the first signs of a drywood termite infestation is dropped wings. They swarm from exit holes (small openings) in the wood, and lose their wings soon after swarming. They are attracted to light. They are blind, so the light helps them find each other so that they can mate. Drawn by the light, they can enter your home from the outside.If you suspect an infestation, look for termite bodies and wings on windowsills, in spider webs and in light fixtures. Another sign is frass, tiny pellets that are produced by the drywood termite. They obtain moisture from the wood or cellulose. Once they have absorbed all the moisture in the wood they have eaten, the remaining dry material is waste. These pellet-like droppings are generally the color of the wood on which the termites feed. Small piles of frass can be found near infested wood. Drywood termites can invade wooden structures, attics, wooden furniture and other places.
Droppings and Wings from Drywood Termites
Tampa Bay is ranked #3 in the United States for termite infestation. If you live in the Tampa Bay area, you are at risk for damage to your biggest investment, your home. They can enter your home through various entry points such as windows, plumbing, cracks in the slab and wood to ground contact and other conducive conditions. Listed below are a few of the most common termites in the Tampa Bay area.
Subterranean termites are one of the most destructive wood destroying pests in Florida. They cause more than $2 billion in damage each year in the United State. That is more than the cost of damage by fire and windstorm combined. They generally swarm the end of February to the beginning of May.
Some of the locations that they build mud tubes are around the base of your home, in bathroom traps, in your garage, and around hot water heaters. Anywhere that there is wood to ground contact is conducive to subterranean termites. Wood chip mulch is perfect example of wood to ground contact. When the mulch touches your home, they gain entry into your home via the cracks in the foundation. They thrive on wood to ground contact and conducive moisture conditions.
Most people associate drywood termites with tent fumigation. Tent fumigation involves placing a tent over the entire building and then pumping a poisonous gas into the structure. There is a great deal of preparation involved in the fumigation of a structure. This preparation must be discussed with you by a licensed professional. They are difficult to detect. They can leave behind wings and pellet-like droppings. If you suspect that you have drywood termites, you need to have your home inspected immediately. Swarm season is usually from May-August. Swarms generally occur at night. They are attracted to light, therefore you should put your outside lights on a motion detector during these months. They can swarm from your neighbor’s house to yours simply because you leave your outside lights on. They can be carried from one place to another in furniture. As a precaution, it is a good idea to turn off exterior lights so that if your neighbor has drywood termites, they don’t swarm over to your home.
The Formosan subterranean termite (Coptotermes formosanus) is one of the most destructive termites. It’s originally from Asia but due to worldwide trade it can be found in Africa, Hawaii and the United States. The Formosan termite colony can be 10 times the size of other subterranean species and can forage up to 300 feet. A mature Formosan colony can consume as much as 13 ounces of wood a day can severely damage a structure in as little as three months time. Treatment for these termites can be very difficult due to their ability to live above ground in cartons. Cartons are made of saliva, mud, and fecal matter that have an outside shell like a coconut. Many times to complete treatment one must fumigate, complete a soil treatment, and remove the carton to gain control of this nasty termite.