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Everything About Termite Infestations

As a Florida resident, you’re no stranger to critters and creatures of all kinds visiting your property. But some of those guests are more unwelcomed than others, like termites. These insects may be small, but the damage they cause as a colony is mighty.

With these insect infestations potentially wreaking havoc on your home, you probably have a lot of questions. What do termites look like? What do termite tunnels look like? How much does termite prevention treatment cost? Luckily, the experts at Apex Pest Control are here to tell you everything about termite infestations.

What Do Termites Look Like?

If you believe you have termites, your first question will probably be, “What do they look like?” But you might not know about the different families of termites that all look slightly different. Within those families, you’ll often find different categories of termites, as well. These different categories have various responsibilities in the colony and have varying appearances. The three common termite categories include:

  • Alates: This category of termite is also known as swarmers. Alates usually have wings, and their job is to leave the nest and start new colonies. They’re responsible for discovering your home and bringing termite colonies into it.
  • Soldiers: These termites defend the nest. They often have large heads and a set of mandibles, or jaws, to fight insects that try to invade their colony.
  • Workers: Worker termites build and maintain the colony’s nest. They also search for and collect food for other members of the colony. They’re usually smaller and lighter in color than soldiers and alates.

With those features in mind, it’s also essential to know the differences between termite families. In Florida, you could encounter these three common types of termites:

Subterranean

Subterranean termites are among the most common in Florida. The workers can have an opaque white body and no wings with a body that’s usually a quarter-inch long or shorter. The soldier subterranean termite has an orange-yellow body, a slightly darker head and large, dark brown mandibles. Subterranean soldiers are also recognizable by their rectangular heads and lack of wings. Instead, the subterranean alates have two pairs of wings that can be the same length as the body or a bit longer. Subterranean swarmers are a quarter- to half-inch long and have a dark-brown to black body.

These termites get their name from living underground. Subterranean termites sometimes create their nests above ground, but only during moist conditions. They typically enter your home through wood that contacts the soil, but sometimes subterranean termites build tubes to access the softwood they eat. Signs of subterranean termites may include damage to wood along the ground rather than in attics.

Drywood

A drywood termite has a tan, dark brown and yellowish appearance. Swarmer drywood termites have long, slightly transparent wings, which are about twice the length of the body. Worker and soldier drywood termites have more of an off-white color, and they are most often the ones to cause damage.

The drywood termite is another primary termite family in the area. They live in dry wood, as their name implies, which they find above ground. These insects can be difficult to find in your home since they create many colonies within one structure at a time and hide inside the wood they feed on.

Formosan

These subterranean termites are considered among the most aggressive. Formosan termites, especially the workers, look similar to ones from other termite families, so it’s best to let professionals help accurately identify the type of termite you have. They’ll recognize Formosan soldier termites by their oblong heads, which differ in appearance from subterranean soldier termites. Formosan alates have a yellow-brown color, a half-inch long body and wings with a thick covering of small hairs.

Formosan termites can create carton nests in your home, meaning they no longer need access to the soil to survive. And these insects pose quite a threat to Florida homes. One Formosan termite colony can have millions of insects, burrowing deep into the soil and spreading across a whole property.

Signs of Termite Infestation

Many homeowners experiencing a termite infestation may not notice the insects right away. Instead, there are other termite infestation signs. If you notice any of these warning signs yourself, you should contact Apex Pest Control right away:

1. Mud Tubes

Subterranean termites need moisture from the soil to survive. To retain their moisture as they access their food — wood from your home — they create mud tubes. What do termite mud tubes look like? They’re often around a quarter-inch to 1 inch in diameter. Because subterranean termites make mud tubes with materials like dirt, saliva and their own waste, termite tunnels are often various shades of brown. You’ll often find them along your home’s foundation or exterior concrete walls. But they can also be in walls or crawlspaces or hidden behind baseboards or cracks in your foundation.

A termite uses a tube for different purposes, so termite mud tubes can look a few different ways.

  • Exploratory: Exploratory termite mud tunnels are thinner than others, but they branch out in different directions, making them easier to see. Termites use these mud tubes to search for food sources but don’t usually directly connect to wood. By the time you discover exploratory termite dirt tunnels, the insects have likely abandoned the tunnels and found food.
  • Working: Termites use working tubes the most to move between nests and food. These quarter- to 1-inch diameter tunnels are made to last longer with multiple lanes suiting different purposes. You may notice working mud tubes along foundations, basement walls, windowsills and frames, subfloors, joists and under porches.
  • Swarm: Swarm castles are made to house alates preparing to leave the colony. These shelter tubes can be as wide as 4 feet to accommodate however many swarmers a colony has. Swarm castles will have multiple exit holes to direct alates out.
  • Drop: Drop tubes can be more obvious than others. Termites construct drop tubes between the ground and wood, creating structures that look like stalactites hanging in a cave. These termite shelter tubes also have a lighter brown color than other tubes because they contain more wood, but they have a similar thin diameter to exploratory tubes.

Knowing how to remove termite mud tubes can help you see if termites are still actively using them. All you need is a stick or a glove to wear to push away some of the tunnels. Note where you removed a bit of the termite tube and check back later. If the colony is active, they’ll have rebuilt the broken tunnel to use again.

2. Sawdust or Wood Pellets

If you notice piles of what looks to be sawdust not caused by human construction, it probably came from termite destruction. Drywood termites, in particular, excrete digested wood in pellets known as frass. While subterranean termites use their droppings to construct tunnels, drywood ones discard their frass in small piles.

Drywood termite tunnels are usually closed as they can survive without leaving. But they don’t have enough space for piles of frass inside. They create kick out holes to push out piles of droppings, which you may then notice as infestation signs. The individual pellets are only about 1 millimeter in size, creating what can look like fine sawdust. The pellets’ colors vary based on the type of wood the drywood termites have eaten.

3. Groups of Winged Insects or Discarded Wings

Remember that alates search for new locations for their colony. If you notice small, winged insects, often in groups, it could be a sign of an impending termite problem. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot swarmer termites before they find a location to create their colony. Alates don’t cause damage — instead, the workers and soldiers, the alates’ offspring, consume wood from your home. Noticing groups of winged insects and getting a professional exterminator could help stop the problem before it starts.

Another termite infestation sign courtesy of alates is discarded wings. When swarmers find a place for their new colony, they no longer need their wings to fly and search for somewhere to settle. They then discard their wings, which you might find in places like windowsills and spiderwebs, especially in lit areas as light attracts termites. If you notice discarded insect wings anywhere in your home, contact a professional exterminator immediately. Your home could already have termite damage that you’ll want to address before it worsens.

4. Hollow-Sounding, Cracked or Damaged Wood

Because termites eat wood, it’s no surprise that damaged materials are a sign of the pests. That damage can appear in different ways. Termite tunnels in wood can create wood that’s:

  • Hollow: Termites eat wood from the inside, creating hollow pieces. If you tap on areas you suspect termites have infested, you may notice a hollow sound rather than a solid knock.
  • Cracked or rotted: When these pests consume the wood of your home, they can cause damage, like cracks. If the wood is rotted, that’s a sign of moisture, which attracts termites. Have professionals inspect this damaged wood to see if you have termites or other issues you need to solve.
  • Blistering: Wood or paint blisters when there’s moisture under it. While this could mean you have water damage, it could also be a termite infestation sign.

Damage Termites Cause

Termites can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home, and you’re not alone. According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites create at least $5 billion in damage annually. The longer they go unnoticed, the more damage they can cause. Many homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover termite damage, and repairs can rack up a bill higher than what it cost to build your home.

While you can check your coverage and see if your insurance covers termite damage, it can still be a hassle to organize repairs. And if you don’t notice termite infestation signs, the stress of repairs only increases. Noticing termite infestations can have a silver lining, though. Once you hire an exterminator to take care of your termite problem, you eliminate potential safety hazards. The damage and need for repairs build up with unsafe situations like termite damage to:

  • Window and door frames: If termites eat the wood surrounding your doors and windows, you might notice these features don’t open or close properly. They may stick when you try to use them, or there may not be a proper seal between the door or window and the wall. That damage creates issues with your home’s energy efficiency and safety.
  • Structural wood: Attic trusses and ceiling and floor joists are essential structural components. When termites hollow these wooden beams, they compromise your home’s structure. With that structural damage, the floors, ceilings and walls or your homes are unsupported and may show signs of buckling. That creates a structurally unsound and unsafe home.
  • Hardscaping: Fences, benches, gazebos and other wooden structures in your yard can invite termites in. While pest damage to these features may not be as costly to repair, they could serve as pit stops before termites enter your home.
  • Trees: Maybe the termites haven’t entered your home. But if they infest trees near your house, those trees could eventually fall. That poses a safety risk to you, your family and your neighbors, and if the tree falls on your home, it will cause indirect termite damage.

How to Rid Your Home of Termites

Most of the steps you can take to rid your home of termites involve help from a professional exterminator. You may be tempted to try DIY extermination solutions, but without proper knowledge or experience, you may not treat the problem correctly. You risk wasting time and money on ineffective methods. Save yourself the hassle by conducting termite prevention methods yourself and leaving the extermination to the professionals. To rid your home of termites, you could try the following methods:

Prevention

Termites are an unfortunate reality for many homeowners. If you’re concerned about a potential infestation or want to care for your home after termite treatment, prevention is your best method. A lot of termite prevention methods are DIY, but you can also hire a professional. Take these steps to prevent termites from moving into your home or continuing to cause damage:

  • Check your home’s exterior: Work from the outside in when preventing termite infestations. Find vulnerable points to repair, like cracks in the walls and foundation or broken roof tiles. You should also maintain a protective chemical barrier around your home.
  • Check around your property: While you’re inspecting your home’s exterior, don’t forget about the rest of your property. Features like wooden fences and other hardscaping additions, along with trees and tree stumps, can become home for a termite colony. Once they’re finished with those features, they could move to your house.
  • Check inside your home: With everything looked at and repaired outside, it’s time to move inside. Check your attic and your home’s wooden components regularly. Look for signs of infestation and damage like cracks that could invite termites into your home. Inspect materials like paper, as well. Many people have sadly discovered boxes of irreplaceable photo albums and scrapbooks destroyed by termites.
  • Address moisture and water damage: Moisture attracts termites and other pests. Pay close attention to your air conditioner drain lines, gutter spouts, leaky windows, kitchen and bathrooms to make necessary repairs.
  • Maintain your garage: Other than the attic, the garage is a common spot for termites to enter your home through. Perhaps it isn’t sealed properly or you have scraps of old wood or boxes of papers lying around. Many homes often have an expansion joint between the concrete garage floor and the house floor, and this is the most common termite entry point.
  • Watch where you keep clothes: Termites are known for eating wood, but what they actually consume is the material’s cellulose. They can also find cellulose in clothing and fabric.

If you’re still concerned after those steps, you can do even more to protect your home and your property. These prevention methods, in particular, help keep subterranean termites away:

  • Do not spread mulch within 5 feet of your home.
  • Avoid storing firewood or lumber near your home.
  • Check that air conditioning drain lines and gutter spouts drain away from the foundation.
  • Ensure that wood surfaces, such as soffits, facia, window and door frames, are painted or sealed.


Fumigation

Fumigation is necessary to eradicate drywood termites. Because drywood termites don’t need contact with soil, they fly into and infest a structure and are difficult to find. With fumigation, professionals cover a home with tents or tarps and inject a gaseous pesticide. The termite treatment tent holds the gas in for the amount of time required to kill all the termites. The amount of gas used depends on the size of the structure, the temperature, the time of exposure and the type of wood-destroying organism or target pest.

Once the pest control specialists confirm they’ve treated a structure for the adequate time, they remove the tents and clear the property for safe return with calibrated gas-sniffing devices. The gas leaves no residue, and it’s safe to leave most belongings inside, except for some food products and items covered in plastic, like baby mattresses. You can leave food items if you bag them properly with specialized bags that a pest control specialist can provide.

Termite tenting takes anywhere from one to three days. But as the only effective treatment for drywood termites, it’s worth the time. Fumigation also kills other pests, such as a severe infestation of Formosan termites, powder post beetles or bedbugs. Leave the job to the professionals at Apex to ensure your home is treated properly and cleared for safety before you return.

Soil Treatment

Soil treatments control and prevent subterranean termites, including Formosan termites. Professionals pump a long-lasting termiticide into the soil around the foundation of the home or structure. The pesticides either kill the termites on contact or provide a delayed mortality, allowing the termites to spread the chemical throughout the colony. Depending on the infestation, specialists may need to drill into the concrete or floors. They do this if termites are entering around plumbing or conduit that extends through the floor, such as in kitchen islands or bathrooms.

After soil treatment, you shouldn’t disturb the treated soil around the foundation by digging, planting shrubs or adding mulch. It’s also essential to ensure rainwater or drip lines don’t constantly drench the area as the water will dilute the chemical product over time.

At Apex Pest Control, our preferred product is Termidor Brand Insecticide, which studies have shown to be effective for over 10 years. Apex has used Termidor for 20 years with great success, so trust your termite treatments to Apex Pest Control and Termidor.

Termite Bond

Most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover termite damage. Instead, you should get a termite bond. What is a termite bond? It’s a contract or a warranty between you and a pest control specialist. For an annual fee, the company will offer different termite warranty services. That could help save you money on termite prevention treatment costs.

What your contract includes will depend on your situation and what a company offers. But, in general, a termite bond protects you from future infestations. Some termite bonds may include protections like:

  • Termite treatment and prevention when the bond begins
  • Yearly termite inspections
  • Termite treatment at no additional cost if any are found on inspection
  • Coverage for repair costs after termite damage

Contact Apex Pest Control to discuss your termite bond options to keep your home safe now and in the future.

Schedule Termite Control Services With Apex Pest Control

Now that we’ve answered your pest questions — from what termite mud tubes look like to how to rid your home of termites — contact the experts at Apex. Since 1985, we’ve provided safe, trusted pest solutions for residents and business owners throughout Florida. We understand the stress and worry that comes with thinking you have termites in your home. We’ve built our reputation for excellence by keeping homes and businesses safe from and free of pests, including these harmful insects.

Contact Apex Pest Control today to learn more about our termite control services, and regain your home’s comfort and safety.

Termites: Eating Through Your Home and Body

florida-homeYou probably already know that termites can eat through your home and cause a lot of damage. Surprisingly, these pests can be harmful to your health, too. The Tampa termite removal experts at Apex are well-are of the health issues associated with termites. How can termites hurt you? Here’s what you need to know.

Termites Can Stir Up Mold

Some types of termites live in wood with high moisture content. This type of wood is also prone to mold issues. When termites chew through moldy, wet wood, the mold spores can be released into the air. It’s possible for you to inhale these spores. They could also land on your skin. This is the root of the health issues caused by termites.

Asthma and Allergies

Some people are allergic to mold spores or other fungi. People with these allergies tend to have hay fever symptoms when they’re exposed to mold. Mold spores can also trigger asthma flare-ups if they get inside your lungs. This is known as mold-induced asthma.

Skin Diseases

Mold spores can also aggravate some skin diseases. For example, atopic dermatitis can be made worse by allergens. This can leave you with itchy, red, or crusty skin.

Fungal Infections

Mold can cause some types of fungal infections. An example is allergic fungal sinusitis. This is a sinus infection that can be caused by mold. People who get this infection may have allergies or asthma.

Body Infections

Mold can cause even more serious health problems in some people. For people who have impaired immune systems, mold can lead to infections. These infections could include infections of the skin or the mucous membranes.

Preventative Measures

To keep yourself safe and healthy, clean your home to keep mold at bay. Mopping, vacuuming, and ventilating your home can help. If wood gets water damaged, have it replaced with dry wood before mold can grow. Another preventative measure is having your home inspected for termites.

Termites are dangerous for both you and your home. If you’re worried you may have termites in your home, have an Tampa termite removal expert like Apex investigate. Contact us or read our blog for more info on how to protect you and your home!

Termite Damage 101

homeAre you wondering if you need termite protection? Termites should be a concern for anyone living in Florida. Many of the most termite-infested cities in the United States are in Florida. The hot, humid weather in the state provides the perfect environment for termite colonies. Tampa termite removal professionals have some information to share with Floridians about termite damage.

Cost of Termite Damage

Termite damage is very expensive. Every year, homeowners in the United States suffer five billion dollars in damages from termites. The average homeowner spends $3,300 to repair the damages to their home. Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover termite damage.

Why Termites are So Destructive

Termites eat cellulose, which is the fibrous material in wood and plants. Any wood parts of your home could become a tasty snack for termites. They could also damage paper or books. Termites can bore through hard materials like drywall or plaster to reach food, which means even more damage.

Termite infestations can go undetected for years. That’s because the pests usually leave the outer surfaces of wood intact. The inner surfaces could be very damaged before anyone notices.

Another reason termites are so destructive is the size of their colonies. Termite colonies can contain anywhere between a few thousand individuals and several million. There can be several colonies per acre, so plenty of termites could be near your home. Each termite eats two to three percent of its weight daily. With so many hungry termites working together, you can see how your home could be in trouble.

Keeping Termites Away

No one wants termites to invade their home. There are many things you can do to prevent termites from moving in. Termites need moisture to thrive, so try to eliminate or reduce moisture in and around your home. If you have any leaky faucets or water pipes, get them fixed.

Inspect your home regularly for signs of termite damage. Wood that sounds hollow when tapped is a sign that termites could be present. Uneven or bubbling paint on your walls is another warning sign.

Since termites are so sneaky, it’s a good idea to have your home professionally inspected. This can be done once a year. Regular inspections let you handle termite infestations quickly, before they’ve done too much damage.

If you’re worried about termites in your home, the Tampa termite removal specialists at Apex can help. Contact us and we can corner the termites and help you take back your home starting with a free, no-obligation quote.

Tent Fumigation 101: What You Need to Know

real-estate-1686347_1280Central Florida can have some serious pest problems. A year-round temperate climate combined with plenty of water sources makes those problems varied and constant. One of the most serious responses to a pest issue in your home is the use of tent fumigation. It’s a type of Tampa termite control that is only to be done by absolute professionals.

Tent fumigations can be an important tool, particularly if a pest such as a termite is deeply ingrained into every portion of a structure. As a home or business owner that gets put in the position of needing tent fumigation, there are some critical things for you to know going in. Preparation is vital, and a sense of commitment to the treatment technique is a must. At Apex, pest control leaders in the Tampa area with decades of experience, we would offer these tips.

Prepare

It looks like simply a big circus tent thrown over a home, but the amount of prep work that goes into getting a house ready is high. There are a myriad of little things that you may not even think of:

  • Every houseplant needs to be removed.
  • Open every door in the home. This helps create an even flow of air.
  • Remove every piece of food that you are looking to keep.
  • Take out bed linens and curtains.
  • Turn off any gas sources such as stoves.

Ask Questions

Most people will have their home tented perhaps once in the life of the structure, at most. So this will be a new and odd process. Know everything you need to about the procedure, and don’t be afraid to ask about what steps are being taken and why they are being taken.

Take the Proper Time

Fumigation times vary greatly for a lot of different reasons. Size and design of the structure, type of pest being targeted, and the need for additional treatments all may factor in. But you should be able to get a pretty good estimate from your fumigation provider. This can range from a few hours to a week, but with tent fumigation, playing it safe is always best. Never rush back into a home, and always make sure the job has been done thoroughly.

Trust Professionals

Tent fumigations are calculated and complex, so they are truly one of the pest management techniques that absolutely cannot be performed on a DIY basis. Go with those who have experience.

Few Tampa termite control companies have quite the experience as Apex. We recommend tent fumigations as a last resort and will always look into management and preventative measures well before this step, but we are ready when necessary. For more information on our tools and methods, contact us anytime at (866) 675-4070.

Identifying the Difference Between Termites and Flying Ants

ant-22889_1920Mosquitoes are certainly a ubiquitous symbol of Florida, but for the local homeowner, there is no doubt that the most feared are termites. From Tampa to Melbourne, the beaches to the big cities, our termite populations thrive in the state’s semi-tropical and humid environment. Our environment, through its combination of constant heat and moisture, can weaken many types of wood oftentimes leading to termite problems. Having Tampa termite control professionals such as Apex, with decades of experience on our side, will go a long way to securing your home and business.

To even start understanding the termite problem, and how you can combat it, you should be able to identify both the bug and the problems they can cause. We have four common types in the Tampa area:

  • Eastern Subterranean termites
  • Powderpost termites
  • Dampwood Termites
  • Formosan termites

There are other sub-varieties, but these four (and especially the eastern subterranean) are the main instigators in the majority of home damage situations we see. Beyond identifying types of termite, it’s even more critical to tell the difference between the dangerous wood eaters listed above and harmless flying ants.

The two actually look remarkably similar, and termites do not, in fact, initially arrive at a colony by crawling, they fly in the early stages of their lives. Differences in flying ants and, say, dampwood termites are easy for the professional to see, but we figured we’d give you a few tips to begin with.

  • Ants Do Not Cause Structural Damage: It’s best to never let it get to this point, but if the wood you keep seeing those winged creatures fly in and out of begins to sag or crack, there’s a pretty good chance you are looking at a termite colony.
  • Appearance: Differences are a bit more difficult to tell because they are indeed so similar. But the main points of emphasis are a termite’s wider, more-uniform body and its unbent antennae. The arms and legs of flying ants are also bent, and they have notably different sized sets of wings (termite wing sets are basically identical).
  • Life Cycles: Flying ants only live for a few months. A well-established termite colony can thrive for decades, and an individual insect itself can live for years. Point being, if the pest in question seems to be a permanent fixture to a structure, it’s probably a form of termite.
  • Wood: Flying ants eat a lot of things. Termites eat wood.

 

Taken together, these are just some tips when questioning some buzzing swarms around your Florida fence posts. For a truly thorough treatment in Tampa termite control, however, never hesitant to contact the professionals at Apex. We offer free, no-obligation inspections and quotes and can be contacted anytime at (866) 675-4070.

Preventing Versus Controlling Termites

banner1Florida pests come in many shapes, sizes, and species types, but none are quite as feared as our local termites. No pest has the ability to cause more damage before they can even be detected. Because of this, when it comes to this voracious wood-eating creature, the experts in Orlando termite prevention at Apex always push for prevention methods instead of control methods. Although prevention and control seem similar on the surface (if the bugs are gone, does it matter how or why?), they are in fact radically different approaches with dissimilar goals in mind.

The benefits of prevention as opposed to controlling, removing, and isolating termites, particularly in Florida, are pretty self-evident. Peace of mind is an obvious place to start; when going with a fully-integrated and thought out termite prevention system, you can rest assured that the creatures will never have an impact on your home or business. But, there are other reasons, and the we’ve served up a few of our most common below.

Cost

First and foremost, with many pest control techniques, cost must be taken into account. Termites are a creature where the benefits of paying to be secure from them far outweigh the short-term goal of being stingy. Once colonized within your walls, species of the bug like the Eastern Subterranean termite can decimate many thousands of dollars worth of materials before they are discovered. Not only that, but the cost of removal (complicated and thorough) is usually higher than the simple cost of prevention in the first place.

Regular Visits

When attempting to control termites, this may mean that technicians must be on your property consistently. In a busy world with a busy life, this isn’t always ideal. Well-thought-out termite prevention measures, whether pre-home construction or post, on the other hand, can stop the problem without repeat visits to a home or business.

Variety of Methods

Our options for termite prevention at Apex are varied, from treated wood to intricate systems like Bora-Care® and Termidor®. When it comes to the unfortunate step of termite removal, however, the methods can be more limited, and none of them are particularly fun for the homeowner.

Home Care

Finally, if you have a termite prevention system in place, you needn’t worry as much about your own behavior attracting these fearsome pests. Our systems are not fool-proof, but they go a long way towards total denial.

So, before termites have a chance to pay your property a visit, secure it with innovative techniques from the leader in Orlando termite prevention at Apex. We offer free, no-obligation inspections and always respond to any inquiries promptly. In a state where pests are part of the everyday fabric of life, enjoy your time more comfortably knowing you have the best on your side. Contact Apex anytime at (866) 675-4070 for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions about Termites

queen of termite it's very rare

queen of termite it’s very rare

Termites are one of the most feared Florida pests, but also a creature with many mythologies and urban legends attached to it. To understand how to combat termites, it’s critical to know their habits, feeding capabilities, and risk areas. In short, it’s good to have a FAQ area for guidance regarding general termite behavior. The experts in Tampa termite control, Apex, compiled just that. Below we’ll cover some of the most common questions regarding termites.

What does a termite look like?

Termites come in a variety of species, and each will have its own look. These include the Eastern Subterranean, Dampwood, Formosan, and Powderpost. But essentially, what a termite will look like depends on where it is in its lifecycle. Clear and honey colored, about the size of a large ant, worker and soldier termites have a prodigious head with a claw. They can also be seen, generally on first contact, with wings, as they are flying pests before settling down in a location to nest. Any sign of termites in these stages (worker, soldier, or reproductive) is cause for concern.

How do they behave in your house?

It’s important first to put this in context; termites cause five billion dollars worth of damage each year. They are dangerous not only to your bank account when within your home, but to the very structural integrity of your home.

Termites in nature have one goal: to consume wood. This process in the wild makes them valuable contributors to the ecosystem, as they breakdown fallen trees and decaying wood. But, they carry this same behavior into the walls of your home, creating the potential for disaster. Termites establish colonies and can go about their business in relative anonymity. Often, the true extent of the damage is unknown until it’s too late.

How can I tell if I have a problem?

First of all, you’ll be able to see the termites. There will seem to be wood damage to your home, and/or you see vulnerable areas that have been compromised by water damage. Hollow wood is another obvious sign. You may see mud tubes, which basically are a unique roadway for termites, particularly subterranean. If you see these around you home, you almost certainly have an issue.

What can be done for prevention?

Keep an eye out for vulnerable areas of your home, and secure access points to the inner walls as well as you can. But, most importantly, get preventive work by pest control professionals.

Tampa termite control is best practiced by experts such as those at Apex. We can conduct a thorough inspection of your home, and help with any FAQs you may have. Contact us today at 866-675-4070.

Identifying a Potential Termite Infestation

termite-specialOne of the most dangerous insect infestations is also one of the more difficult to identify: termites. They have the remarkable ability to eat away at wooden structures without actually destroying them, at least initially, and it can be months before a problem begins to show itself. By then, you’re probably too late to avoid costly damage, not to mention a significantly more difficult extrication. Fortunately, there are methods of detecting termites around your home, and, with the help of Orlando termite control professionals, your home can be secured from this ever-evolving threat.

Florida is prime ground for termites of many varieties. Our climate is never too cold and provides a consistent water source. During the rainy season, humidity combined with almost daily rain can weaken wood. In nature, this is a fine thing; termites feed on decaying tree stumps and other ground-level rot, assisting in decomposition and ultimately the ecosystem. In the walls of your home, of course, this natural habit of wood destruction is certainly not a fine thing. So, where to look and what to do? Here are some tips.

  • Winged insects: Termites can be difficult to detect, but they are not invisible; winged termites will find their way into your home before burrowing into any damaged wood. If you see termites around your home in their flying state, it’s a good time to call professionals to check for a larger problem.
  • Standing water: Particularly in the Central Florida area, wood can become damaged due to water very easily over the long, humid, rainy season. Damaged wood is a magnet for many species of insect, notably the locally common dampwood variety. Water, whether via a leak in your home plumbing or a crack in your ceiling, acts as both a food source and habitat creator for termites.
  • Damaged wood: As noted above, some termites will only go after wood that is damaged (as is their natural state), so protecting the wood you have in and around your home can be a key to keeping termites out. Any wood that is touching outdoor soil directly has the chance to become quickly compromised and should be monitored. If you haven’t caught the signs of an infestation, wood becoming damaged seemingly from within is also the most obvious termite signal.
  • Dirt tubes: Created by subterranean termites, these noteworthy dirt trails can be visible on the exterior of a structure. Seeing the tubes in general can be a sign of a termite issue, but for more conclusive proof, check to see if there is termite activity inside these tunnels.

Crucially, keep in close contact with Orlando termite control experts like us at Apex. With decades of experience in Central Florida termite situations, we can often see issues before they are obvious. Call us today at (866) 675-4070. We offer free, no-obligation inspections and will return your call within 24 hours.

Prevent Termites from Swarming this Spring

termites-34672_1280(1)In Florida, one has to think of the seasons a little differently than everywhere else in the country. Spring, a traditional time to start preparing for insects, starts in February in Orlando (if not earlier, especially this year). When planning for the season and the pests, it will inevitably bring termites. With slowly warming temperatures, these well-known pests begin the process of creating new colonies, and often the target can be your home. It takes experts in Orlando termite control, such as the masterminds at Apex, to figure out the structures most likely to be vulnerable to termites. Having this professional expertise on your side is vital, as not all buildings are created equal in terms of being prime habitat for the state’s outsized termite population.

There are some things that you can do to prevent termites from swarming your home or business in the first place, and you should be looking into these measures now. Termites are notoriously difficult to remove from a structure, but prevention is a much more reasonable goal. Five things in particular to watch for:

  • Work outside in: This seems like an obvious tip, and maybe it is, but it can’t be stressed enough. Secure the exterior of your home first and foremost. This means checking for any vulnerable entry points, which include everything from cracks in the walls to broken roof tiles. Termites, like most pests, are attracted to moisture; air-conditioning units and bathroom/kitchen areas are important to check. It’s also important to remember that nearly every termite colony begins just outside your home (in tree stumps, fences, etc.) and move inside.
  • Attics: There is always ample wood in an attic, and it’s a space you rarely look around in. This all equals a ripe environment for a developing termite colony that you may never notice. Especially in the spring, it’s a good idea to check this area thoroughly.
  • Clothing: Termites eat just about everything, but one thing they seem to be fond of is cellulose commonly found in most clothing. Outdoor clotheslines that are left unattended for long periods of time, and cloth in general outdoors, can be a huge attractor.
  • Garages: Perhaps behind the attic, this is the most common origin source for termites. Most are indoor and outdoor, to some degree, and contain older wood. Try to keep your garage as sealed as possible, and store everything in plastic bins.
  • Food sources: Termites will come to your home for food and water (usually in that order). Limit exposed, untreated wood, and make sure moisture (pipes, etc.) is rare. Doing this will ensure that you will find yourself in good shape this spring.

Also, there’s no reason not to be confident in your termite protection as the most dangerous months near closer. For that reason, calling Orlando termite control experts at Apex is always advised. Contact us at (866) 675-4070. We offer a free, no-obligation quote and visit, and will always get back to you within 24 hours.

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It’s Time to Terminate Your Termite Problem

termitesWhen you open the door to the north side of your house, you note the wood door frame is rotting at the base. You think nothing of it for a few months, then look again and realize the damage is growing. What you first believed was simple water damage is more than likely termite destruction. Unfortunately, if you see termite damage, the amount the termites have already gnawed through that you do not see could be extreme. Even if you do not see telltale rotted wood along door frames, other signs may indicate the presence of termites. Read below for a list of clues brought to you by Apex Pest Control, your termite control in Orlando experts, to help you determine whether your home may have been invaded by termites.

  • You See Wings: If you have a basement or carport that has evidence of clear insect wings flittering about, termites may have created a nest nearby. During spring, termites sprout wings to fly from their home nest. When they find a good location and a mate, they drop their wings and begin work on their new home. A large collection of wings indicates many termites may be lurking nearby.
  • Woods Hollowed Out or with Tunnels: Hollowed wood, or wood with tunnels running through it, are some other signs that termites are near. Sometimes, the wood contains termites, larva, or nymphs. Any wood with signs of insects in it should be taken far from your home. Knock on the wood around your home’s perimeter in search of a hollow sound. If any hollowed wood is located, call an exterminator immediately. Not only will you require complete termite control services, but you will probably have to replace the affected wood within your home.
  • Mud Tunnels: Many termites travel through mud tunnels they build along the ground or a few inches above it. These tunnels usually lead from one opening of the nest to another and often cling to the sides of buildings.
  • How to See Them: At night, use a flashlight to look for termites gathering in clusters or lurking in cracks along the lower walls of your home. Termites are nocturnal, meaning it will be simpler to find them at night while they are active.

Because termites can cause such huge amounts of damage, it is imperative to treat your home now. Any signs of damage should be replaced and the entire home treated regularly to ensure the original problem leaves and does not return. Call Apex Pest Control, your termite control in Orlando, at (866) 675-4070, and read our latest blogs for information pertaining to termites and other pests, home pest control, and yard maintenance.

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