Types of Termites in Florida
In South Florida, specifically in the Palm Beach and Broward county areas, there are upwards of ten different species of termites — and those are only the ones that have been identified so far.
There are three major classifications of termites in Florida. The most common type we see in area homes are drywood termites. The type of termite that does the most damage to area homes are subterranean termites.
South Florida Drywood Termites
Drywood termites (non-subterranean), are found most often in wood in your home that is exposed to moisture. During no tent treatments, we always treat exterior door frames and windowsills for this reason.
Drywood termites most commonly make themselves known by their droppings, called frass. Drywood termite frass can be of varying colors – we have seen black, white, red and orange frass in homes.
Drywood termite frass is “ejected,” or pushed, from the infested piece of wood they have colonized, so it is usually found on the floor or on a windowsill. If termites have colonized furniture in your home, you may find frass underneath it.
The holes that drywood termites create in wood are called kicker holes, and our inspectors will look carefully for these holes in the wood of your home whenever a termite inspection is performed.
The more scattered the termite droppings are that you find, the higher up in the room the kicker hole and termite colony is likely located. If a neat pile of frass is found, the kicker hole(s) will likely be located at a lower height.
Drywood termite species in South Florida include:
- Florida drywood termite (Cryptotermes cavifrons)
- Drywood termite (Incisitermes snyderi)
- West Indian drywood termite (Crytotermes brevis)
- Western drywood termite (Incisitermes minor)
If you suspect that your home or business has been infested by drywood termites, we strongly urge you to get in touch with our team of termite control specialists.
Once you contact us, we will schedule a free termite inspection for as soon as the same day or the next day. It is important for us to inspect your attic and other vulnerable areas of your home including your door frames, windowsills and baseboards.
South Florida Dampwood Termites
Dampwood termites are most often living in trees. They require “damp” wood to survive, and will generally not target the wood within your home unless they is a major leak or other moisture issue.
If you find damped termites on your property outside, this isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Most likely these termites, even though they are larger than both drywood and subterranean termites, do not pose a risk to the wood in your home.
We recommend you contact us to schedule a free inspection so we can identify the species of termite found at which time we will provide advice on how to mitigate any potential risk of termite damage.
Dampwood Termite Species Include:
South Florida Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are different from drywood and dampwood termites in that they will enter your home from the soil outside of it.
Since subterranean termites come from the soil, the proper way to control and prevent them is to either treat or bait the exterior of your home.
Many people are surprised to learn that tenting your home for termites will not do anything to prevent subterranean termites from entering it. Tent fumigation will likely kill the subterranean termites that are present in your home at the time of tenting, but they will be able to return from underneath the home as soon as the day the tent is removed since the fumigant has no residual.
Subterranean termites create mud tubes to travel between the ground and the wood within your home. They use these mud tubes to protect themselves from dehydration and from predators. Just because you do not see any mud tubes doesn’t mean that subterranean termites aren’t present.
Even if your home is concrete block or stucco, these termites will travel past those building materials to get to the wood in your attic, your wood floors, or the wooden studs within the walls of your home. We have regularly seen homes in our service area with the wooden studs in the walls completely destroyed as a result of subterranean termite activity.
Over time, settling of a structure is normal and the concrete slab may develop tiny cracks. Cracks in the slab even a few millimeters wide will be enough for these termites to enter your home.
If a preventative soil treatment has not been applied or if bait stations are not installed on your property, subterranean termites may also enter your home from the soil underneath the concrete slab where plumbing penetrations enter the slab. These areas of your home are especially vulnerable to subterranean termites since they are likely areas of higher moisture.
South Florida Subterranean Termite Species:
- Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes spp.)
- Cuban subterranean termite (Prorhinotermes simplex)
- Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus)
- Asian subterranean termites (Coptotermes gestroi)
- West Indian subterranean termites (Heterotermes caribeus)
The Most Damaging Termite — Formosan Termites (Subterranean)
Of the subterranean termite species that can be found in the Palm Beach and Broward County areas, the Formosan termite is by far the most damaging type of termite.
Formosan termites are known as “super termites” in comparison to the nearly 2,000 other termite species, because of their ability to rapidly consume wood and cause massive damage. We have been told that a Formosan termite colony can consume over a pound of wood daily, so if you believe you may have an infestation it’s important to act fast to minimize wood damage.
Formosan termites are so dangerous compared to other types of subterranean termites because they can create aerial infestations. Swarmers have been known to bypass traditional measures used against subterranean termites such as termiticide soil barriers and termite bait stations by starting colonies on roofs and attics. They are able to use the moisture in these areas to survive without needing contact with the soil surrounding your home.
Due to the presence of formosan termites in South Florida, we recommend scheduling a free termite inspection even if you have not seen evidence of termites. An inspection will provide you peace of mind and allow our experienced termite inspectors to help you come up with preventative control measures.
Formosan termites vary in size, with smaller alates growing to 5/16 inch and larger termites sometimes reaching ½ inch in length.
Infestation, Treatment & Prevention
In most cases, subterranean termite infestations are identified when a resident sees the swarmers inside, or winged termites. Swarmers are attracted to light and can often lose their wings — often leaving them behind near light fixtures or windowsills.
If you see swarmers, it is imperative that you contact your local termite control provider right away, because swarmers are reproductive termites. When termite swarmers or wings are found indoors, it usually means that the termite colony that produced them has been in your home for at least three to five years.
To protect your home or business from Formosan termites, contact us today to schedule a free termite inspection. We suggest that you have your property inspected for termite activity, termite damage, and conducive conditions at least once a year.
Best Termite Control Service
So what are you waiting for? Contact us now so we can provide you with termite control and prevention today. Once you get in touch with us, we will schedule a free inspection as soon as the same day or next day.