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The Hidden Threat: Subterranean Termites in Florida

In Florida, the sun and sea (and golf courses!) attract people from all corners of the world. But it's not just humans that find the Sunshine State appealing. Subterranean termites do too. These pests can cause significant damages to any structure if left unchecked.

In this guide, we'll cover what you need to know to protect your property.

Key Takeaways

  • Subterranean termites, one of many types of termites in Florida, are significant threats that cause severe structural damage if left unchecked.

  • Prevention is crucial. Regular inspections and proactive measures like soil treatments can save homeowners from costly repairs.

  • For complete peace of mind and effective termite eradication, consulting a pest control professional is essential.

What Are Subterranean Termites?

A subterranean soldier termite on a mound

Subterranean termites are not just any wood-destroying insects; they are the most destructive of all termite species. Unlike drywood or dampwood termites, they build their colonies underground, often far from their food source. This makes them particularly challenging to detect until significant damage has been done.

Colony structure

Subterranean termite colonies are highly organized, consisting of a caste system with workers, soldiers, and reproductives. The worker termites are the ones that feed on wood and bring nourishment back to the colony. Soldiers protect the colony, and the reproductive termites, often called "swarmers," leave the colony to start new ones.

Feeding habits

While drywood termites consume wood in a 'cleaner' manner, subterranean termites create mud tubes to travel between their food source and their colony, protecting themselves from open air. These mud tubes are often the first sign of a subterranean termite infestation.

Soil connection

Subterranean termites require a moist environment to survive, which is why they are so closely associated with the soil. They can often be found in the soil underneath a home's foundation, making them a significant concern for property owners in southern Florida and other humid climates.

Damage potential

The damage caused by subterranean termites is often more severe than that of other termite species. They can hollow out sections of wood in a way that leaves only a thin layer intact, making the structure extremely vulnerable to collapse.

Main Types of Subterranean Termites in Florida

A subterranean termite colony

Let's get into the nitty-gritty of the main types of subterranean termites you'll encounter in Florida. Knowing your enemy is the first step in effective pest control, after all.

Eastern subterranean termite

The Eastern subterranean termite is the stealth operator of the termite world. Small, light brown, and inconspicuous, you might not even know they're there until it's too late. Eastern subterranean termites live in large colonies and have a voracious appetite for cellulose-based materials, including the wood that makes up the structure of your home.

When it comes to their living conditions, these eastern termites prefer moist, secluded areas underground, away from prying eyes and predators.

Formosan subterranean termite

If termites had a villain, it would be the Formosan termite species. Slightly larger than their Eastern counterparts, Formosan subterranean termites sport a yellowish-brown color that makes them a bit easier to spot. But don't let that fool you—they are extremely aggressive in consuming wood and can cause extensive damage in a short period.

The architectural prowess of Formosan termites is evident in the intricate mud nests they build, known as carton nests, which can house millions of termites.

Asian termite

Last but not least, meet the Asian subterranean termite. This termite species might look similar to the Formosan termite, but they're slightly smaller in size. What they lack in size, they make up for in aggression.

These termites also tend to swarm earlier in the year than other species, making them a year-round concern. When it comes to their preferred habitat, they love tropical, humid environments, making Florida an ideal home for them.

Understanding the characteristics, habits, and dwellings of these different types of subterranean termites can give you the upper hand in preventing an infestation before it becomes a full-blown crisis.

How Do Termites Get into Your Home?

Swarmers getting ready to fly and build new colonies

You might be wondering how these underground dwellers manage to infiltrate your home. Well, subterranean termites are quite resourceful. One common entry point is through wood that is in direct contact with the soil. This could be anything from wooden siding to porch steps or even firewood stored too close to your home.

But they don't stop there. These termites are adept at exploiting vulnerabilities in your home's structure. Cracks in the foundation? That's like rolling out the red carpet for them. They can easily navigate through these cracks to gain access to the wood structures inside your home.

Utility conduits, such as plumbing and electrical lines that penetrate your home's foundation, are another gateway. These termites can navigate through the smallest of openings around these conduits to invade your home.

Subflooring is also not safe. Especially in older homes where the subflooring might be exposed to the soil below, termites can make their way up and start feasting on your floorboards.

And let's not forget about winged termites, also known as swarmers. These are the reproductive members of the colony, and they can fly. While they're not the best fliers, they can still make it through open windows, doors, or any other openings to establish a new colony inside your home.

So, as you can see, these termites have multiple avenues for entry. It's not just about what's happening below ground—it's also about being vigilant and proactive in maintaining the integrity of your home's structure to keep these destructive pests at bay.

Signs of Termite Infestation

Knowing the signs of a termite infestation can be your first line of defense against these destructive pests. Not sure if you have a termite colony in your property? Here are common signs to look out for:

Mud tubes

Mud tubes on a wooden structure

Mud tubes are a classic sign of a subterranean termite infestation. These pencil-sized tunnels are constructed by termites to connect their underground colonies to their food sources. If you spot these on your walls or foundation, it's a strong indicator that termites are active on your property.

Damaged wood

Termite damage is evident on a wooden wall

Wood that sounds hollow when tapped is a red flag. Termites consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin layer of wood or paint. So, if you're knocking on wood and it sounds more like an echo, you may have a problem.

Bubbling paint

Bubbling white paint on wall

Bubbling or blistering paint is often a sign of moisture damage, but it can also indicate the presence of termites. The moisture termites produce when they consume wood can cause paint to bubble, so don't overlook this sign.

Discarded termite wings

A pile of discarded termite wings

Finding discarded termite wings near windows, doors, or other access points is a sign of a termite swarm, which is how termites spread to start new colonies. These wings are often the first sign of a termite infestation and indicate that termites are looking to establish a new colony near or in your home.

Termite droppings

Termite droppings on concrete floor next to wood

Known as frass, termite droppings looks like small, wood-colored pellets. These droppings are a sign that termites are actively feeding on nearby wood. If you find these near your wooden structures, it's time to take action.

Prevention and Control

Preventing a termite infestation is always better than treating one. The key to keeping your home termite-free lies in these effective measures. Here's how you can take control and protect your property:

Prevention with Sentricon

Preventing a termite infestation is always better than treating one. When it comes to effective termite control, Sentricon is a game-changer. It's a trusted termite baiting system that offers proactive protection for your property.

Sentricon works by placing bait stations strategically around your property. These bait stations contain cellulose material that termites love to feed on. Once termites are attracted to the bait, they carry it back to their colony, including the queen. This disrupts the termite's life cycle and eventually leads to the elimination of the colony.

One of the key advantages of Sentricon is that it's eco-friendly and doesn't involve the use of harsh chemicals. It's safe for your family, pets, and the environment while effectively eradicating subterranean termites.

Professional help

For complete peace of mind, consider a professional termite inspection and treatment. Experts in Delray Beach and Port St. Lucie can identify signs of termite activity that you might miss and can provide targeted treatments, such as Sentricon, to eliminate the problem.

Don't Let Termites Take a Bite Out of Your Florida Paradise!

You've read the guide, you know the signs, and you're armed with prevention tips. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, termites find a way. If you're in Southeast Florida and suspect you have a termite problem, don't wait for the damage to escalate.

Southeast Florida Pest Control is your go-to expert for all things termite-related. We offer free inspections, comprehensive treatment plans, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is protected.

Don't let subterranean termites turn your dream home into a nightmare. Contact us today at 561-488-1104 and reclaim your Florida paradise!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get rid of subterranean termites in Florida?

Getting rid of subterranean termites in Florida is a job best left to professionals. DIY methods often provide temporary relief but may not eliminate the colony entirely. A comprehensive termite treatment plan usually involves soil treatment and bait stations.

It's crucial to consult with a pest control expert to assess the extent of the problem and recommend the most effective treatment methods.

How bad are termites in Florida?

Termites are a significant concern in Florida due to the state's humid climate, which provides an ideal environment for these pests. Subterranean termites, including the aggressive Formosan termite, are particularly prevalent. They can cause extensive damage to homes and other structures if left untreated.

It's not a matter of "if" but "when" you'll have to deal with termites if you own property in Florida.

Do I need subterranean termite protection in Florida?

Absolutely, subterranean termite protection is almost a necessity for property owners in Florida. Given the high risk of termite infestations, preventive measures like regular inspections, soil treatments, and the installation of bait stations can save you from costly repairs in the long run.

Many homeowners opt for annual termite contracts to ensure ongoing protection.

What do subterranean termites look like in Florida?

Subterranean termites in Florida are generally small, ranging from 1/8 to 1 inch in length, depending on their role in the colony.

Worker termites are usually pale and resemble "white ants," while reproductive termites or "swarmers" have wings and are darker in color. The Eastern subterranean termite is light brown, the Formosan termite is yellowish-brown, and the Asian termite is similar in appearance to the Formosan but slightly smaller.

But whatever the type of termite you encounter, they need to be gone from your property. And only a professional pest control company like us can remove them and prevent them from coming back. Give us a call today at 855-507-0857 for your free termite control quote.


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