A source for information on termites
We do not treat termite infestations but we know reputable companies who hold that license
and do an exceptional job. Contact us and we will work with them to rid you of your
Aside from hurricanes
and property taxes, termites are, simply put, a Floridians worst nightmare. Hundreds of thousands of dollars
in structural damage may be going on behind walls, in attics and other parts of the home without anyone noticing
until it’s too late. Catching termite infestation in its early stages and taking steps to eradicate them is usually
the only way to avoid major damage to your building or structure.
Termites, order Isoptera, are economically significant as pests that can cause serious structural damage to
buildings and crops. They are detrivores, which means they consume decomposing organic material and are
ecologically important since they contribute to decomposition and the recycling of nutrients.
The two most common types of Florida termites are dry wood termites, which infest dry wood, and subterranean
termites, which nest in soil. Both feed on the cellulose found in wood and wood products, as well as paper,
fiberboard, and some fabrics derived from cotton or plant fibers. However, each termite is also distinctly
different, though both are extremely destructive Florida pests.
The Formosan subterranean termites, coptotermes formosanus, are also becoming a major problem in the United States,
especially in the southern states. They are believed to have been transported from China and Taiwan to port cities
on the Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic coast by ships returning from the Pacific regions at the end of WW11.
It is one of the most destructive termite species in the world today.
In the U.S. the Formosan termite causes tremendous property damage resulting in enormous treatment and repair
costs. It is sometimes referred to as the “Super Termite” due to its large colonies- with some as long as 300 feet-
and infests a wide variety of structures, including boats and high-rise condos. It also consumes wood at a very
Dry wood termites, Incisitermes minor, do not need ground contact or moisture. They can live their entire life
cycle inside a piece of structural timber, building woodwork, or a piece of furniture. Their numbers are less than
that of subterranean termites and they tend to be a bit larger in size. They are also secretive and difficult to
detect, living deep inside wood, and are seldom seen.
These yellowish-brown termites generally swarm after sunset or at night, from May until November. Colonies are
usually small and widely dispersed. Their winged reproductives, known as swarmer’s, are generally pale brown in
color. The presence of dry wood termites is often detected by feeding damage, shed wings, and fecal pellets, which
get pushed out of “kick out holes” made by the termite for this purpose. They are yellowish-brown and have wide
Subterranean termites, Reticulitermes tibialis,
are light to dark yellow with narrow heads, and must have ground contact or a secondary moisture source in order to
live above ground. They are also found infesting wood that is wet from leaky pipes or in areas that surround
plumbing. Most are small and black in the swarmer phase. Subterranean termites generally swarm during the spring
and summer months in the daytime (especially after a heavy rain).
In subterranean termite colonies, nymphs mature into reproductives, (alates), or soldiers. Soldiers are also
wingless and resemble workers except that they have a large, rectangular, yellowish-brown head with large mandibles
(jaws). The soldiers’ primary function is protecting the colony. They can also serve as replacements if something
happens to the king. The king remains only slightly bigger than an average termite and may continue to mate with
the queen for life.
Termites are social insects, living in large colonies often consisting of hundreds of thousands of nymphs, workers,
soldiers, and winged reproductive individuals of both sexes, sometimes containing several egg-laying queens. (The
queen termite is a unique, egg-laying machine: her body is enormous compared to her offspring, and she can live
more than 25 years and produce more than 2,000 eggs a day!)
Termite swarms occur when a termite colony has outgrown its nest and new reproductive termites are sent out to
start new colonies. These winged reproductives, or swarmer’s, can come out during the day or night depending on
their species. Subterranean termites generally swarm during the day and have more individuals than dry wood
termites, which generally swarm at night. After landing, they then make their way, depending on the species, to
rotting wood or dry wood structures to begin new patterns of infestation. In Florida, it is common for substantial
damage to have already occurred before termites are even discovered and pest control systems are utilized.
Infestation warning signs:
A swarm of winged insects in or around your home
Wood that sounds hollow when
Any cracked, bubbling paint or
sawdust-like droppings (frass)
Mud tubes on wooden beams, in
crawl spaces, or on exterior walls.
termites are easy to exterminate and can be done so using any household cleaning product. However, swarmer wings
are a definite indicator that you are experiencing widespread termite infestation, and that means you have a