Termites in Florida are a huge burden on homeowners. Because termites are hidden in wood or underground, detection is hard. And by the time a Florida homeowner becomes aware of a termite infestation the damage has already been done.
A common question people ask before moving to Florida “Are termites a big problem in Florida?” Based on my research, I believe termites to be one of Florida’s worst pest problems. Every Florida homeowner should be aware of the termite threat, the damage they can cause in homes, and how to get rid of them.
Termites in Florida
Florida’s climate is ideal for termites. The state of Florida is home to three types of termites: Drywood, Dampwood, and Subterranean termites. Florida homes are at risk of termite damage earlier each year than other U.S. states. But the termite season in Florida is almost a year-round problem. Subterranean termites cause the most damage to Florida homes.
Are termites common in Florida?
Termites are common in Florida. Most damage and infestation problems occur in South Florida. Drywood and Dampwood termites are found in the southern half of Florida, while Subterranean termites are found in the state’s northern half.
Are there termites in central Florida?
Central Florida is home to several termite species such as subterranean, dampwood, and drywood.
What kinds of termites are in Florida?
If you are a Florida resident you might be asking “What types of termites are in Florida?” Florida homes are prone to four types of termites:
- Drywood termites, such as the West Indian Drywood or Cryptotermes brevis termites, are the most prevalent termites in Florida. These termites live inside walls, attics and garages, nesting within the wood members of the house. Drywood termites are especially common in coastal communities. This pest is also common throughout the southwestern United States.
- Asian subterranean termites get inside houses through cracks in the foundation. Termites also enter the home through areas where wood is in contact with the soil. This type of termite is currently confined to South Florida, and they are much more destructive than drywood termites.
- Native subterranean termites can be found in Florida and most other U.S. states.
- Formosan termites cause enormous damage in Florida. One termite infestation can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage to a Florida home. It’s an invasive subterranean termite that is more destructive than native subterranean termites. Formosan termites are native to Asia and have been transported to Florida through railroad ties, wood mulch, and packaging materials.
- Florida Dampwood termite is also common in South Florida, but they are generally limited to the landscape. Under normal conditions, Florida dampwood termites are normally unable to infest homes.
Termites in Florida present huge challenges to homeowners. Termite prevention and termite inspections offer the most effective termite control measures.
Native Subterranean vs. Invasive Termites in Florida
Native subterranean termites can do extensive damage to Florida homes in a short amount of time. However, the invasive subterranean termites in South Florida, namely the Formosan Subterranean and Asian Termites, are a significant concern for South Florida homeowners.
The primary difference is the maximum colony size potential, which is far more critical with the Asian and Formosan subterranean termites than Native termites. Formosan termite colonies contain millions of termites, including workers, soldiers, a king and a queen. An adult Formosan queen can lay about 3,000 eggs every day. Each spring, Formosan termites leave their nests and fly to new locations to start new colonies.
Formosan termites infest the attic, wood found in crawl spaces, structural timbers, fences, sheds, walls, and even dead and live trees. These termites in Florida are coming from the ground. Earthen tubes running up trees and walls indicate a subterranean termite infestation. In a matter of months, invasive subterranean termites can infest and cause significant structural damage to Florida homes. Dead termites and discarded wings or swarmers are signs of a subterranean termite infestation in your house.
What percentage of Florida homes have termites?
According to some estimates, one in ten Florida homes has termite damage.
How do I know if my house is at risk of termite damage?
A Dampwood or Subterranean termite infestation means that termites are actively building their nests in or on your house. This makes it difficult for you to see the termites.
How bad are termites in Florida?
Termites will destroy almost anything that gets in their way. If something contains cellulose, termites will devour it. Termites are as bad as they come.
What is a Drywood termite?
Drywood termites are similar to Subterranean termites, but they do not do a lot of damage. Instead, they build nest-like structures, called chambers, to burrow into the wood of the home.
Are there Subterranean termites in Florida?
Yes, there are subterranean termites in Florida. What’s worse is that subterranean termites are the most destructive of all termites in Florida. The most common termite species in Florida is the Dampwood termite. Dampwood termites infest damp wood.
How common is the Dampwood termite in Florida?
The Dampwood termite is most common in Southern Florida and Northern Florida. As of 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that 75 percent of Dampwood termites in Florida were found in Broward and Dade counties.
But the Dampwood termite’s range extends north to Jacksonville and west to the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Is the Dampwood termite a harmful termite species?
Dampwood termites can cause serious damage to Florida homes, according to the Florida Fumigants Program. Dampwood termites are usually found in Southeast Florida.
How much damage do termites cause in Florida?
Termites leave behind dirt in the form of crumbly soil, clay soil, dust, or sand. They can tunnel through natural or artificial materials like wood, plaster, and paper.
Termites also leave a black mark on the ceiling or ceiling tiles, carpeting, tile, or plaster. These marks are sometimes called “termite poop,” “dirt,” or “castings.” If you see a black mark on your home, call a termite removal service. Some experts suggest using paint that repels termites in a few days.
Flying termites in Florida
Flying termites are a huge problem in Florida. The swarming termites in Florida are attracted to light. Flying termites land on or near houses to start an infestation.
How to keep flying termites away in Florida during the swarming season?
During the early spring, flying termites may swarm. Termites swarm to establish new colonies in Florida. These tips can help keep termites from swarming into your Florida house:
- Keep outdoor lights off during the night. Light can attract flying termites. Relocate lights to recessed areas. Keep lights away from windows and doors.
- Have a pest control professional check your eaves and roof for gaps termites could use to get in your house. Repair gaps immediately.
- Patch holes in window screens.
- Check your roof for signs of rot, mold or water damage. Structures with frequent leaks or flat roofs can be at risk because the constant moisture in the structure termites love so much.
Termite removal options for Florida homes
There are many options for termite removal in Florida, and they are competitively priced. Often, the initial fee for termite services includes all of the scheduled service calls in a year.
How long does termite season lasts in Florida?
Termites usually enter Florida homes during March and April. However, Drywood termites start to become active from April through October. A new Drywood termite colony can start from as little as one single beetle. In the Drywood termite category, new colonies are formed by young individuals called beetles. If you’re trying to protect your home, you can prevent the beetles from entering your home. You can do this by keeping your home damp. Use treated lumber, sealant, and a gap between the house and foundation. Remember, live areas are more vulnerable to termites, especially bedrooms.
What can you do to prevent termites in Florida?
Termites can become more active as the summer months move on, so it is a good idea to start termite control in your home as early as possible. The secret is to spot the insects.
Remove termite food sources
Termites in Florida eat the cellulose in wood and other paper items. So taking these measures to cut off access to possible food sources can help make your Florida home less attractive to termites.
- Clear dead trees and rotting wood in the yard to keep it away from your house.
- Eliminate leftover construction wood and tree stumps around your house.
- Don’t store cardboard boxes, paper packaging, magazines, and newspapers in your house for extended periods. Don’t leave paper products outside your house either.
- Store important papers on the upper levels of your house.
- Recycle wood and paper products.
Seal cracks and crevices caused by settling
The materials used to build homes in Florida like PVC, concrete, wood, and metal shrink and expand over time. The settling process can lead to gaps and cracks. These can become easy entry points for termites. To keep termites out of your Florida home, it’s best to seal these gaps as soon as possible. Keep termites from entering your Florida home with the following measures:
- Seal cracks and crevices around gas and water lines. You can use foam sealant or caulk. You can use stainless steel mesh to fill larger gaps before caulking.
- Remove damaged or rotten wood. It’s best to replace damaged wood with termite-resistant materials such as pressure-treated wood or steel framing.
- Ensure there aren’t any cracks or leaks in your plumbing to eliminate moisture that may attract the termites.
- Patch any cracks in your house’s foundation using a concrete patching compound or cement.
Keep plants away from your Florida house
Plants can beautify your yard, but they also provide pathways to your house. And, plants can also cover termites, making a termite infestation more difficult to notice. To better protect your Florida house from termites, you should:
- Trim all shrubbery near your Florida house. At a minimum, make sure there are twelve inches of space between the exterior wall of your home and the shrubbery. Trimming shrubbery will allow damp areas to dry out quicker. At the same time, it will help you spot termite damage and termite tubes more easily.
- Keep the grass in your yard short and raked often.
- Replace wood mulch with pine needles since they are less appetizing to subterranean termites. You can also replace wood mulch with pea gravel or other non-organic materials as a barrier between the soil and your home.
Reduce soil-to-wood contact around your Florida house
Subterranean termites present a huge financial burden on Florida homeowners. Termites destroy the wood in homes and businesses. If you suspect a termite infestation in your house, you should contact a termite control company near your Florida home. A termite inspection can assess your termite problem.
Formosan termites are some of the most destructive termites in Florida. Their numbers are fewer than eastern subterranean termites, but they cause more harm to Florida homes. The primary reason Formosan termites cause so much damage in Florida is the size of their colonies. Formosan termite colonies can reach millions of termites.
Florida termites also produce secondary colonies that can survive virtually anywhere there’s enough moisture. Termites are attracted to sources of damp wood and plumbing leaks. It’s not unusual for Formosan termites to destroy Florida homes in a few months.
Keep moisture away from the foundation
Florid termites love moisture. The crawl space and the foundation can be damp areas, perfect for termites. To keep termites away, keep these areas dry by following the following tips:
- Direct condensation from clothes dryers, air conditioners, and other appliances away from your house.
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Install vapor block barriers in your crawl space.
- Make sure there are no roof leaks.
- Adjust storm drains to empty at least a couple of feet from the foundation. Your soil drainage must minimize overly moist soil.
- Direct water away from the foundation wall by adjusting downspouts and gutters.
- Ensure that sprinkler heads are pointed away from the house’s foundation.
- Fix any plumbing leaks in your home and crawl space.
How to prevent termite damage in Florida?
Subterranean termites across Florida are a major threat. Luckily Florida homeowners can prevent or minimize termite damage by following effective termite prevention practices:
- Check for termite-infested or rotted wood near your home. If possible, use a termite-proof stain or paint to discourage termites from nesting on your property.
- Do not store firewood too close to your home. Wood should be stored no less than 20 feet from your house. Be sure that your only store wood at least eight inches above ground level.
- Maintain a four-inch barrier between your house and mulch. It’s critical that only the concrete foundation touches the soil.
- Wooden siding should be no less than 8 inches above the ground.
- Eliminate cellulose-based debris from the foundation of your Florida home, such as wood, mulch, cardboard, paper, and lumber.
- Hire a pest control company to apply termite treatment.
How do you get rid of termites in Florida?
Florida homes are at risk of termite damage earlier each year than other U.S. states. But the termite season in Florida is almost a year-round problem. Subterranean termites cause the most damage to Florida homes. Therefore, it’s critical to get rid of termites in Florida fast.
Subterranean termites are the worst type of termites in Florida. Soils in the western part of the state are their primary breeding ground. The termites emerge in the spring and begin working on the soil. When they are finished, they return to the soil, hibernating through the winter. The termites that hibernate are not active during the winter.
Hibernation is short-lived, however. The soil temperature reaches into the high 70s Fahrenheit during the winter months. When the soil warms up during the summer, the termites become active.
Schedule regular termite inspections
While there are steps you can take to prevent termites in Florida, it’s best to have your house inspected for termites annually by a trained termite control professional. The pest control company should be able to identify early signs of termite infestation in your home or locate points of access that aren’t immediately apparent to you.
How to keep termites away in Florida?
Are you concerned about termites in Florida? Termite control professionals know how to check your house and surrounding areas for termites. A termite control expert can provide you with a strategy to help remove termite infestations. They can also help with termite prevention measures.
Can concrete block (CBS) homes get termites?
Unfortunately, even concrete block homes get termites. If you live in a CBS house in Florida, termites are still a threat. Termites get inside the house through cracks. Once inside, they can consume any wood they find inside the house.