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Answering West Palm Beach's Most Commonly Asked Termite Questions
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Answering West Palm Beach's Most Commonly Asked Termite Questions

Termites in Florida are scary. If you own property in West Palm Beach, it is likely that you're aware of the threat. Subterranean termites can feed on Florida properties for years without being detected, and they can completely destroy a man-made structure, over time. Formosan termites have the potential to consume up to three pounds of wood in a home, per day.

This can cause you to have a few questions - and rightly so. Every West Palm Beach property owner should know as much as they can about these wood-destroying organisms. Here are a few of the most common questions we get about termites in Florida.

What Do Termites Look Like In Florida?

termite close up

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.

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 Your 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 window frames 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 promise to control and eliminate termites, but the product manufacturers rarely let consumers know that these products can fail to do the job when they are inappropriately applied, or not applied frequently enough.

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. And then termites will continue to be allowed to consume the wood in your home, right under your nose.

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.

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