Termites Invade Tampa Bay

Subterranean termite swarmers

It’s that time of year again.  It’s almost like clockwork. The weather gets a little warmer, the Florida State Fair comes to town, The Strawberry Festival begins….and another yearly event….termite swarms!!!  Termites are swarming NOW, especially in Eastern Hillsborough Counties, like Valrico, Plant City, Riverview, etc.  We’ve seen some pretty big swarms this year and we’re expecting more to come with the warmer temperatures.

So, what are  Subterranean Termites?  What do they look like?  And why do they enter your home in the 1st place?

What Are Termites

Subterranean Termites are small organisms that live in underground colonies with as many as 1 million members.  They work & eat 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  When subterranean termites search for food above ground, they may enter a house through small cracks or joints in the foundation, or by building shelter tubes along foundation walls.  These tubes are super-highways connecting the underground termite population with above-ground food sources.

Why Do Termites Like to Eat The Wood in Your House?

There are a few things that help keep termites alive and in your home – water, cellulose and shelter. Cellulose is what makes up dead wood.  When there is no more cellulose underground, they look elsewhere for sources of nutrition,  which may lead them to your home.

Termites will eat any type of wood, as long as the wood is dead, and most houses have plenty of dead wood for termites to feast on. Stumps, mulch, and other wood debris are a perfect meal for a hungry termite. If termites get into the foundation of a home and into the wooden structure, they can cause severe damage.

Signs You May Have Termites

Subterranean Termite Swarmers...usually found around windows and doors

Subterranean Termite Swarmers…usually found around windows and doors

Termite mud tubes going up a garage wall.

Termite mud tubes going up a garage wall.

Termite mud tubes, exit holes and blistered wood in a baseboard

Termite mud tubes, exit holes and blistered wood in a baseboard

The 1st signs of termite infestation a homeowner generally sees, are the swarmers and their discarded wings around window sill and door frames.  See the 1st picture above.

When looking for termite evidence, walk around the exterior of your home and look for signs of mud tubes going under siding or on the exterior foundation wall.  If you have a crawl space under your home, you’ll have to inspect the piers and brick foundation from under the house.

Check for mud tubes along garage/carport walls like the middle picture above.

Inside, check around door frames, window frames & baseboards for blistered wood, mud tubes and exit holes like the 3rd picture above.

What You Can Do About It

More times than not, termites will find sources of water to begin their search. Eliminating these water areas is the best way to defend your house from termites. Make sure that water is always drained away from your home, not toward it. Clean your gutters often to be sure that water is running away from the structure.

Removal of fire wood, old fencing or fence posts and construction wood around your home or near your home’s foundation can deter termites as well. Mulch should not cover the foundation line of your home keeping the “way in” away from the termites that might be near your home. Also be sure that the wood areas of your home are not exposed through cracks and seams in the foundation.

If you suspect you have a termite issue or if you just want to make sure you don’t, give our office a call @ 813-935-7554 and I’ll send 1 of my highly trained technicians to your home for a FREE inspection.

Yours for a pest-free home….