Termites - It's that time of year again!

By
Home Inspector with Pillar To Post® Professional Home Inspection
Spring is swarming season for termites as well as some ants in Florida. Termite reproductives emerge from their nests to mate mid to late February. These mating flights are commonly called "swarms."   Seeing the actual swarm is not a common site, but seeing the aftermath is. Termite males will usually die after mating, females that do not find shelter will die as well. If you do find dead termites or a live swarm around your home, it is a good idea to get a termite inspection. Chances are very high that you have a termite infestation.  Other insects such as ants will swarm during February as well and it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two. Termites have thick bodies with no pinched waist. Ants have a pinched waist. Termites have four wings all the same size, ants have four wings, but their hindwings are shorter than their forewings. Termites have straight beadlike antennae, while ants have elbowed or bent antennae.  Termites can swarm from many different areas, but are commonly found around window sills inside and outside the house, around porch lights, and even coming from the ground. Termites can be attracted to lights at night, and this is the main reason you may find them scattered below porch lights or outside your windows.  If you believe you may have termites, call a pest control operator for an inspection. Be sure to save the winged termites to show your pest control operator for verification, and show them the area in which you found them. They should do a thorough inspection around the house, looking for mud tubes or other signs of termite activity. In some cases, they may not find active termites, but if you found swarmers it may still be a good idea to treat your home if it is within your budget.  There are several treatment options for termites. The most common are contact insecticides and baits. A trench may be dug around the home and a barrier type treatment will be applied to the soil. Termite damage found in bath traps or around expansion joints may warrant drilling holes around concrete and applying pesticides within the holes. Baits are little stations applied around the home about every 3 feet. These can be more attractive to homeowners because they are less invasive. Bait stations are checked about every 3 months for termite activity. Once termites start eating the wood within the stations, a piece of bait containing pesticide is placed in the stations. The termites will feed on the bait, take it back to the colony and feed their nestmates.  There are also preconstruction options for termite control. Borates applied to wood will make the wood unappetizing to termites and prevent them from feeding. Pesticides applied to the slab is also a common preconstruction treatment option.

Comments (2)

Harold "Hal" Place
A1 Connection Realty, Inc. - Sun City Center, FL

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for a very informative post.

Hal

Mar 14, 2008 09:20 AM
Kelly Cox
Pillar To Post® Professional Home Inspection - Melbourne, FL

Hal,

Thanks for the response.  Being a Real Estate Professional in Florida you know all too well how important a termite inspection is to the home buyer.  All home buyers, whether buying a new home or an existing home should have a qualified termite inspector check out the home they are planning to purchase!

Mar 14, 2008 10:57 AM