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How to Detect Termites EarlyHow to detect termites early by Heron Home & Outdoors - serving Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas

Metro Orlando FL | Kissimmee - Sanford - Leesburg

You would never be able to hear it, but at this very moment, thousands of termites could be eating away through your home – unseen and unknown until it’s too late. Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Termites cause $6 billion in property damage each year. And this damage is not typically covered by homeowners’ insurance!

Is My Home at Risk for Termites?

As the ground warms in spring, termites begin to stir. They come out of hibernation in search of food and new structures to settle their million member colonies. Most property owners already know that termites are something that they should fear, but until they start to see signs of damage, the prospect of termites is often “out of sight and out of mind”. But if left unchecked, these insects can wreak havoc on a home or business by eating through the wood and causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Early Signs of Termite Damage

You can potentially spot termite damage before it becomes a significant and costly problem.

Here are the four ways to find termites early:

  1. Knock on the walls and wood: take a screwdriver and gently start tapping on your walls with the handle.
    • Listen for hollow sounds in the wood.
    • When termites are eating, they are going to create tunnels through the wood and in the walls.
    • These tunnels, when tapped, are going to have a different sound from the solid wood, and it should be relatively easy for you to hear.
    • You should make sure that you check through all of the different areas of your property.
    • Check garages and outbuildings as well.
  2. Look for crumbing wood: another one of the signs that termites are starting to invade.
    • Termites dig through the wood and eat it, and that means they are going to leave quite a mess behind.
    • Look for what appears to be sawdust near the base of the wood and on the floor.
    • In addition, look for gaps between wooden joints or between boards.
  3. Watch for mud tubes: Mud tubes are another good indicator.
    • Mud tunnels can be found within walls, and also underneath the house, connecting the ground to the house.
    • The insects use these tubes like roads, traveling from the main colony to your property.
    • You should be able to see the holes and the tubes that lead away from your property and back to their colony.
  4. Inspect trees on your property: in addition to looking at your home, you are also going to want to look at the plants and trees on your property.
    • Termites are going to eat more than just your home. They eat wood and that can include trees.
    • If you notice some of the trees in the area are dying, it could be because it has a termite infestation. They will sometimes eat through the trees before they start in on your house.
    • If you notice a problem with the flora on your property, it could be a sign that termites are active.

If you notice any of the above signs, a professional expert should be contacted as soon as possible.

Identifying Termites in Florida

Swarmers are winged young queen and king termites that show up inside homes in early spring. They are typically the first sign of a termite problem. Because they can be mistaken for flying ants, many homeowners may dismiss them as such and leave a potential termite infestation untreated. Discarded wings near window-sills and doors signify that swarmers have already found their way in.

  • Subterranean termites live in underground colonies or in moist secluded areas above-ground that can contain up to 2 million members. They build distinctive “mud tubes” to gain access to food sources and to protect themselves from open air. Subterranean termites are by far the most destructive species of termite as they eat 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This ravenous eating can severely compromise the structural stability of a home as they chew their way through important support beams.
  • Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive, and devious of termite species. Formosans are organized into massive underground colonies, building intricate mud nests inside the walls of a structure. Because of the size of their colonies and their aggressive nature, Formosan termites are difficult to control once they infest a structure.
  • Dampwood termites do not forage in the soil, and they require higher humidity and regular contact with water. Because of their specific water requirements, these termites are most often found in trees and structures that have direct water to wood contact, such as a leaky roof or wooden siding.
  • Drywood termites infest dry wood such as attic framings and do not require contact with the soil. Because drywood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes, it’s important to seal all cracks and crevices in a structure.

Termite Damage Prevention

Regardless of the species, termites are destructive and can cost you lots of money in unexpected home repairs. In addition to the inspection steps above, here are a few tips to prevent termites from wreaking havoc on your home:

  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units which are on the outside of the home.
  • Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles.
  • Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
  • Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks.
  • Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.

Call a Professional Termite Control Company

You’ve taken all of this advice, remained vigilant, and the worst has happened–you found evidence of termites! What now?

Give Heron Home & Outdoor a call. We perform the finest termite protection services in Florida. We’re fast, reliable, and available for all of your questions! Call today for a free estimate!

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