termites destroying wood in a home in west palm beach

If you live in West Palm Beach, FL, we don't have to tell you that your property is in danger of termite damage. It isn't a matter of if termites will attack, but more a matter of when. When I grew up, I was always told to expect to have to tent my home every ten years. Now with invasive Formosan termites in South Florida, expect the need to control termites even more frequently. 

In West Palm Beach, FL, we have drywood termites, dampwood termites, and subterranean termites. Of these three, the worst by far are subterranean termites. Their colonies are much larger than drywood termite colonies, meaning every day they are left untreated, they cause more wood damage.

But we don't just have regular subterranean termites in South Florida, we have "super termites." Formosan and Asian subterranean termites make those other species look like amateurs when it comes to causing termite damage. It has been said that Formosan termites consume up to one pound of wood daily when they are infesting an average sized home.

If you don't have active termite protection for your West Palm Beach, FL home or business, we strongly recommend that you learn how to identify termite activity, at the very least. While it can be difficult to confirm the presence of live termites within a structure, knowing the following quick ways to inspect for termites could save you from more costly termite damage repairs.

Termite Damage West Palm Beach, FL
Termite Damage West Palm Beach, FL

1. Termite Shelter Tubes

The skin of a subterranean termite worker requires moisture. This is one of the reasons these termites stay hidden from view as they feed on your home. It is also why they create tubes up the sides of foundation walls.

These tubes act as extended ground tunnels, going from the soil up into the wood of your home. They look like mud because they are created with soil and saliva. If you want to find these tubes, you're probably going to have to get dirty. Termite workers avoid light.

This will have them creating shelter tubes in dark spaces under your home if they can find them. You might see these tubes in exterior locations where there is high humidity or shade. They may appear overnight, so be sure to check for these tubes regularly.

2. Termite Swarmers

Do you know what a termite swarmer looks like? We hope you do. Swarmers can be a very visible warning sign of an active termite infestation within your home. These termites don't avoid light. In fact, they're attracted to it.

But swarmers are tiny. They can be a mere ⅜ of an inch long. Look for their distinct white wings to notice them. These wings are stacked on their backs and rounded at the tips. But bear in mind that swarmers may go undetected.

  • When swarmers emerge inside, they are very noticeable. But most of the time they emerge outside and fly away.

  • People often misidentify termite swarmers as ants. The easiest way to differentiate ants from termites is to look at the waist of the insect. Ants have a pinched waist, while termites have a waist that is the same width as the rest of their body. 
  • When flying termites emerge and gather into a swarm, they can leave your yard in a matter of a few short minutes.

  • If swarmers stay in your yard, it can still be difficult to see them. Swarms don't last for more than about 30 minutes. They can swarm and disappear in the time it takes you to cook a frozen pizza in your oven.

3. Drywood Termite Frass

Drywood termites create kickout holes and will push their droppings out of their tunnels. This is called frass.

If you have drywood termites in West Palm Beach, you may notice frass on your window sills, in or around your kitchen cabinets, along your baseboards, on your furniture, or anywhere near hardwood building materials in your home. 

The more dispersed the termite frass is, the higher up you will likely find the kickout holes and drywood termite infestation. We have seen frass even appear on beds and couches before, and in these situations we often find kickout holes in the ceiling above.

If drywood termites get into hardwood furniture, you may see frass underneath. In situations where only furniture has live termites in it, you may want to consider vault fumigation of the furniture instead of having to tent your house.

4. Termite Trenches

There are many ways you might see the tunnels created by termites. It depends on the type of termite. If you do see termite tunnels, they are likely to look like trenches, not tunnels. These trenches will be stacked on top of each other in a network.

5. Wood Damage from Termites

We've discussed kickout holes and termite tunnels, but termites can create other types of damage. Here are a few characteristics to look for:

  • Termite damage can look like water damage. If you see an area that is bulged out, it bears a closer examination.

  • Termites that get into baseboards or window and door frames can create areas that look eaten.

  • Wood that looks splintered.

  • Wood that appears brittle or sounds hollow.

  • Wood that has a honeycomb appearance.

  • Pinhole sized holes (kickout holes) appearing in wood

The Quickest Way to Tell if Your Home has Termites

The best way to quickly find out if your West Palm Beach, FL home has termites in it is to contact Native Pest Management and schedule a free termite inspection. We provide free termite inspections from Miami, FL all the way up to Vero Beach, FL.

Our licensed termite control professionals have the tools and knowledge to locate and identify termite species and guide you in selecting the right solution to arrest a termite infestation. Our termite inspectors are trained at the University of Florida's Pest Management University, to ensure they are able to provide the termite control services you need.

Call us today for our professional termite control services.


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