Riley Pest Management
We specialize in commercial non-profit organizations and small businesses

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FLORIDA TERMITE PESTS
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 issue.

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 rapid rate.

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 heads.

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 tapped

Any cracked, bubbling paint or sawdust-like droppings (frass)

Wings from swarmer’s

Mud tubes on wooden beams, in crawl spaces, or on exterior walls.

 

Individual swarming 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 problem.

 Dry-Wood termite  Sub-Terranean termite  Formosan termite  ANT or TEMRMITE  Resources

 

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-- Duggan Cooley, former CEO- RCS

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