You’ve probably heard us saying this more times than any of us can count: There are two kinds of homes in Florida. Those with termites and those that will have termites. And while much of our state stayed home from work over the past month or two, the termites didn’t.
In fact, since the official swarming season started in March, experts say it’s only gotten worse. Thankfully, in our area we tend to see fewer infestations than our neighbors to our Southeast. But thanks to our subtropical temperatures, termites swarm practically year-round. And they are on pace to break the oft-quoted $5-Billion in damages every year.
Today, we’re going to focus on the earliest termites that showed up on our shores – Drywood Termites.
Home Within Home
The West Indian Drywood Termite, as you might expect, originated in the tropics – on the same islands Columbus first mistook for the edge of India (and likely on whose boat they hitchhiked to our shores). Cryptotermes brevis is the most widely spread of the tropical termites, and they usually start swarming in April.
Drywood termites don’t go subterranean. In fact, they rarely even touch the ground. Instead, they live entirely within the wood members they infest. They even get their moisture by sucking absorbed water in wood fibers.
They only leave their home in order to mate, flying for short distances, then shedding their wings. Male and female are coupled up, they seek an opening in a piece of wood, then reseal it with intestinal secretions and proceed to create a family.
One thing that sets drywood termites apart from their subterranean cousins is that their Alates – the mating class – bears two sets of identical wings. Once a male and female pair up, they very rapidly shed their wings, where subterranean swarmers sometimes die before they can drop their wings.
Wings of Fortune
As a result of their rapid wing shedding, spotting large groupings of discarded wings can be a clear sign of infestation. In fact, since it takes four to five years before alates are sent to start new colonies, you definitely have a problem if you see the signs.
It’s Coming from the Walls!
Do you hear those strange clicking sounds coming from the walls? Just because your house is older doesn’t mean it’s haunted, nor is it something out of a Stephen King novel. It’s probably termites. Drywood termites are very loud eaters. And if they sense danger, the soldiers will often bang their heads on the wood to alert the colony.
Cleanliness is Next to…
Unlike their subterranean cousins, drywood termites don’t use their droppings to build tunnels. But they also don’t want them in their “homes.” Like some OCD-crazed sitcom character, drywood termites will kick the small pellets of their dung – called frass – out a hole near the entrance to their nest. Once it’s out of their way, they don’t care. But if you see piles of finely ground sawdust, it’s time to call a professional.
Speaking of professionals… Termites are one of our specialties here at Good News Pest Solutions. Because of how drywood termites infest and spread their colonies, we recommend tent fumigation. Like all of our services, this one is environmentally and family safe. There is no residual after treatment.
But you don’t have to wait until you have a problem costing you thousands or more dollars in damage. We offer our exclusive world class termite prevention service bundled with our annual Perimeter Plus care. Term Assure 365 will not only catch subterranean termites before they become a problem- it comes with a $1-million damage warranty. Not even your homeowners insurance covers that! To join the ranks of protected homes from Bradenton to Port Charlotte, who depend on our effective, risk-reduced products and services, just give us a call!