Read our FAQ About Termites below
What kind of damage do termites do? And how fast does termite damage occur?
Termites eat wood on a 24/7/365 basis. If termites are eating the wood of your home, they can do quite a bit of damage. That said, it doesn’t happen overnight. An average-sized colony will eat about 13 pounds of wood a year. Though a larger Subterranean or Formosan colony can eat quite a bit more than that, and there’s no guarantee you only have one termite colony inside your home.
So while termites CAN eat enough to cause a home to fall down, it takes years for a colony to cause that kind of damage. But how much damage do you want? It’s estimated that US termites cause billions of dollars worth of damage every year.
Smart home owners treat their home to prevent termites before they happen, and they get their home inspected as soon as they see signs of (or suspect) an infestation.
What are the signs that you have termites?
The most obvious sign is swarming. Reproductive termites called swarmers take flight to create new colonies. Subterranean termites typically swarm in the spring, whereas drywood swarms are less predictable. If you see a swarm of insects there’s a good probability you might have an infestation inside your home. Other signs include:
Discarded insect wings. After the swarmers find a new home, they’ll discard their wings. So if you see those discarded wings inside or near your home, there’s a good chance that those swarmers new home is your house.
Hollow-sounding wood. Because termites prefer to be in dark, humid environments, they typically eat at the wood from inside the 2×4 or 2×6. So if wood sounds hollow when tapped, it may be because termites are eating the wood from the inside out.
Cracked or distorted paint on wood surfaces. Swarming drywood termites can enter through openings smaller than the edge of a dime, so monitor and seal any cracks in the home’s foundation and near roof siding, vents and windows.
Mud tubes on exterior walls. Subterranean termites build mud tubes on surfaces, such as a home’s foundation, to provide moisture while they are searching for food.
Wood-colored droppings called frass. These droppings are produced by termites as they eat their way through infested wood. If you see these kinds of droppings or frass, that’s a surefire sign you have a termite infestation.
What are the different types of termites? Does it really matter? Which kind of the most damaging?
The three most common termites in Florida are Subterranean, Formosan, and Drywood.
Subterranean termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. Although they also Swarm, Subterranean termites also come at your home from under ground, hence the name. These termites have larger colonies than Drywood termites and do more damage as a result.
Formosan Termites are a type of Subterranean Termite from Formosa (aka Taiwan), and they are often called “Super Termites” because they are larger (individually and in terms of colony size), more aggressive, and more ravenous. The combination of these qualities means that Formosan termites are the most damaging of the three types.
Drywood Termites don’t require high moisture environments like Subterranean or Formosan termites. In fact, they spend almost their entire life cycle inside the sound, dry wood members upon which they feed, and only venture outside for swarming. While they have the smallest colonies, they are also the type of termite most likley to have multiple colonies within a home.
Does it matter which kind of termite you have? Yes. It matters in how much damage they do, but it also matters in determining the most effective form of treatment.
But regardless of which type you suspect you have, you should have a qualified expert positively inspect your home as soon as possible, and if your home is infested, you should have that same professional execute an appropriate treatment plan without delay.
I’ve seen some termites in my yard or flying in my neighborhood — does that mean I have termites in my house?
The short answer is: it’s very likely that you do have termites if you’ve seen them swarming in your neighborhood or found them in your yard. Your best bet is to stop wondering and take advantage of Safer Home Services Free Home Inspection.Your Safer Home Services Tech will have the advanced technology and know-how to detect and track any termites in your home.
And if it turns out you don’t yet have termites, you an breathe easy and perhaps think about treating your home to prevent any future scares.
What happens if I have termites in my home? How do I get rid of them?
The short answer is that there are two major treatment protocols and the protocol that’s best for you will depend on the architecture of your home, the type of termite that has infested your home, and how thoroughly colonized your home is with termites.
The two major protocols are:
Whole Home Fumigation
Home Fumigation will require tenting and fumigating your entire home. Spot treatments using an electrogun or drill and treat methods are less disruptive, but only work when the entire colony is accessible.