termites eating at wood

Termites in Florida can be scary if you don't understand them. If you reside in West Palm Beach, FL, you've most likely seen termite tents over local homes and businesses.

Drywood termites can create many small colonies throughout your home if they are left untreated for years. Subterranean termites in particular can consume wood for years without being detected, and they can completely destroy a man-made structure, if given enough time. Formosan termites, also known as "super termites," have the potential to consume up to three pounds of wood in a home, per day.

Every West Palm Beach, FL resident should be aware of the presence of termites and other wood destroying organisms. Here are a few of the most common questions we get about termites in Florida.

Termite Control West Palm Beach, FL
Termite Colony West Palm Beach, FL

What Do Termites Look Like in Florida?

Termites vary slightly, depending on the species and type of termite. And within a termite colony, there is a variation in appearance.

  • Workers termites tend to be pale, six-legged insects that resemble ants. They can be easily differentiated from ants by looking at their waists. Ants have pinched waists. Termites do not.
  • Soldiers are larger than the workers and have big orange heads and black pincers.

  • Swarmers are black or orange and have long white wings that stack on top of each other. At only 3/8 of an inch long, they're not much to look at.

  • Queens are black, depending on the species, and they have a bloated abdomen that is shiny and tan with brown hash marks.

  • Kings look like swarmers without their wings because it is what they are. Before kings settle in to help the queen with raising a colony, they swarm with the females during the mating process.

What Time of Year do Termites Swarm in Florida?

It depends on the termite species and what type of termite it is. Some species swarm in late spring. Some swarm from April to July. Some can swarm any time during the year. You should always be on the lookout for white winged swarmers crawling on or in your home.

We will say, over the years we've been in business, we have seen termites swarming in West Palm Beach, FL area homes more often than usual. Even in the winter months we have seen termites swarm in Florida if the humidity and temperature conditions are right.

Fun fact: Did you know that it takes at least three years for termite colonies to produce reproductive swarmers? That means if you see a termite swarm in your home, it's been there quite a long time, likely damaging wood for years. Call us today to schedule your free termite inspection!

What is the First Sign of Termites?

It depends on the termite species and what type of termite it is. Your first sign of a drywood termite infestation is likely to be the appearance of termite frass. The frass, or droppings, of termites are hard and dry and can be mistaken for sawdust or dirt.

Your first sign of a subterranean termite infestation is likely to be mud tubes. These can appear on your foundation walls and other hard surfaces. Subterranean termites use these tubes to go from the soil to the wood of your home. You may also seeing swarming subterranean termites within your home.

What are the Signs of Termites in my Home?

  • Drywood termite pellets left on window sills

  • Wood damage from drywood termites

  • Tiny kickout holes created by drywood termites in hardwood

  • Mud tubes on any interior wall

  • A slight clicking sound inside wood

  • The appearance of white winged insects inside your home

  • Finding termite wings on windowframes or baseboards or countertops
  • Damage that looks like water damage

  • Honeycomb indents in baseboards

  • Wood beams that are splintering

Can I Treat Termites Myself?

You can, but we wouldn't recommend it. There are many products that list termites on their label, and technically control and eliminate termites, but the product manufacturers rarely let consumers know that these products will fail to do the job when they are inappropriately applied, or not applied frequently enough. 

Termites are often in hard to access areas of the home, and have termite galleries that are often hidden in areas of wood in your house you wouldn't suspect. If you self treat termites with a repellant or contact kill product, it won't only kill the termites that come into direct contact with the product used, and won't kill the majority of the colony.

When these products fail, you're not likely to know it. Since termites only swarm a few times a year, you may think they were eliminated but in reality they just stopped swarming for a few months or for the rest of the current year. If that happens, termites will continue to damage wood throughout your home or business.

Can Vinegar Kill Termites?

Vinegar spray can kill termites by drying them out, if it is applied directly on the termites. But vinegar spray, and any other topical spray, will do nothing to address the majority of the termites within the colony that are inside of the wood and inaccessible to a topical spray like vinegar.

You would need to use a product that is shared from worker to worker by way of fluid transfer (called trophallaxis) or by grooming. That product would also need to be applied in the active areas at the proper rates for it to work effectively and for it to completely eliminate the termites within your home.

At Native Pest Management, we only use termiticide products that work via the transfer effect for our "no tent" termite control, including Termidor, Taurus, Dominion 2L, and Premise.

Do I Need Termite Protection in Florida?

Termite protection is one of the best investments you can make for your West Palm Beach, FL area home. Your home investment is part of your retirement nest egg. There is nothing worse than finding that termites have done extensive damage.

The last thing you need is to find yourself in a money pit with a shrinking savings account at a time in your life when you're looking to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Protect yourself with proactive termite control. Preventative termite control like our termite bait stations are very affordable and much less expensive than repairing wood damage or treating an active termite infestation.

For assistance with termite damage prevention in West Palm Beach, FL, contact Native Pest Management to schedule a free termite inspection. We use a selection of industry-leading products and methods in our termite control service to guard against termite damage. 


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