90% of homes built in the USA in 2019 were wood-framed, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Florida is a great representative of this statistic, with most Florida home exteriors consisting of a mix of engineered wood and concrete. Like the rest of the nation, homes mostly have interior walls with wood frames. As such, your Pensacola home is highly susceptible to termite damage.
What Are Termites?
The most common type of termite in the US is the subterranean termite, and this fact rings true in Florida as well. Termites are insects that feed on dead plant matter, such as decaying leaves and wood. While subterranean termites build their nests underground, other species favor damp soil and coastal environments. As such, many types of termites are attracted to the Florida Panhandle.
Termites are often mistaken for flying ants, however, there are a few characteristics that differentiate the two. Adult termites are dark brown or black, with straight antennae, long wings of equal length, and a straight body; while flying ants can be black, dark brown, or reddish in color, with bent antennae, wings that are uneven in length, and a thin or pinched waist.
Termites in a wooded area help turn dead trees into fertile soil, thus encouraging rapid forest growth. However, once termites encounter your home, this useful skill turns into thousands of dollars of property damage and destruction.
The aforementioned subterranean termite is the most abundant termite species in Florida and the most destructive. They burrow into moist soil beside your home to create their nests and use your home as their food source. The tunnels they bore from their nests into your homes, called mud tubes, are a dead giveaway that subterranean termites have made a meal of your home. They eat through both solid and engineered wood and turn solid structures into Swiss cheese.
The National Pest Management Association estimates they cause American homeowners five billion dollars worth of damage each year. Termites can slip into a crack the width of a business card and, due to the covert way in which termites colonize your home, their presence often goes undetected until the damage is done.
Do You Have A Termite Infestation?
You may be wondering if you have a termite infestation that has gone undetected. Most environmental agencies estimate that ten percent of homes in Florida will experience a termite infestation at some point. Luckily, there are a few telltale signs that termites leave behind.
In general, termites swarm in the spring, especially after rain. After a termite swarm, homeowners may be able to see if there are termites in or around their property. In the case of subterranean termites specifically, mud tubes and discarded wings are a red flag. Some other common signs of a termite infestation include:
- Discolored or drooping drywall
- Peeling paint
- Buckling floors
- Crumbling wood
- Windows or doors that stick
The most surefire way to know if you are dealing with termites is to have regular inspections performed by a professional.
Avoid DIY Termite Removal
While it may be tempting, one should avoid trying to rid their home of termites without a professional. Chemical pesticides are toxic and, if misused, can harm children and pets. Furthermore, since termites burrow and utilize tunnels to get around, it can be extremely difficult to find the exact location of a termite colony. If you don’t properly exterminate these pests, termites are likely to swarm and spread to a new location within your home.
How To Best Deal With Termite Removal
If you wish to be proactive in-between annual home inspections, there are several ways you can help keep termites away from your Pensacola home:
- Seal cracks and small openings around doors, windows, garage doors, and utility entry points.
- Get rid of standing water around the home.
- Cut back tree branches and bushes, keeping them away from the side of the house and roof.
- Keep lumber, firewood, and wood scraps elevated off the ground and well away from your home.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and it does not replace a team of experts like EnSec Pest and Lawn. At EnSec Pest and Lawn, our team of professionals will inspect your property and develop a customized treatment plan that solves your termite problem. From there, we will follow up to make sure that termites are no longer plaguing your property. We also offer Wood-Destroying Insect Reports (WDIR) for our existing clients.
We have the experience and tools to help you with all of your termite control needs. If you’re a concerned property owner in Pensacola, Florida, reach out to EnSec Pest to learn more about our termite control options as well as our other home pest control options in Pensacola.