Its termite swarm season again here in Ocala. As the weather warms up termites go out and look for a new home. You do not want that new home to be yours.
Termites cause $700,000,000.00 in damage each year here in Florida. Despite this scary statistic about half the homes in Florida have no form of protection.
There are 2 types of termites, subterranean and dry wood. The subterranean variety is considered the worst because they have much larger colonies and thus eat more wood. Obvious from the name they live in the ground and prefer moist conditions and wood. The subterranean termites enter your house through a sort of tube that connects their colony to the food source. Dry wood termites like dry wood, like the rafters in your attic. They have much smaller colonies and are harder to detect.
The University of Florida has a great web site dedicated to termites with loads of information and great color images. Take a good look at the pictures and so you can identify the little buggers if you see one.
There are several warning signs of a termite problem.
1. Little black winged insects about 1/4″ long that are attracted to lights at night.
2. Wings on your window sills and in spider webs.
3. Wood pellets, smaller than a grain of rice that is 6 sided when viewed under a magnifying glass. Yes, these are termite droppings.
4. Mud tubes look like mud caked to the side of a house and are actually engineered by industrious termites to create access to your house and their food supply.
There are several things you can easily do to avoid termite problems.
1. Have a termite inspection.
2. Keep fire wood piles well away from the house.
3. Water is your enemy and a termite’s friend. Check that gutters and down spouts drain away from the house. The same goes for air conditioners.
Termite control is not a do it yourself project. Homeowners should get an annual inspection by a professional. If you have a problem there are a couple of different solutions. The state of Florida has a web site full of consumer information including how to select a pest control company.
It is essential to have a termite inspection before buying any house in Florida. Although a concrete block house may be preferred, it is no guarantee that you won’t get termites.