Everything You Need to Know About Termites in Tampa

Termites are small, easy to miss insects–but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Termites can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in a short amount of time, while most homeowners don’t even know they have an infestation. As the termite experts in the Tampa area, the team at Anti-Pesto has put together a list of everything you need to know about termites in Tampa– from where they live, when they’re most active, how to treat them, and more. Read on to learn more about these pervasive insects!

So what exactly are termites?

Termites are small pests that feed on the cellulose in wood. Here in Florida, subterranean and drywood termites are the most common types of termites. These termites live in subterranean colonies beneath the ground and can do significant damage to your home in just a few short days!

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What do termites look like?

When identifying termites, look for these features:

  • Creamy or translucent coloring
  • Wingless
  • Soft bodied
  • Approximately ⅛ of an inch long

Where do subterranean termites live?

Just as their name suggests, the subterranean termites that are common to Florida live beneath the ground. In order to get from the ground to your home, these termites will build mud tubes that protect them from the elements and provide moisture they need as they make their way to your home. Subterranean termites live in massive colonies made up of millions of termites, each working hard to destroy your home.

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What time of year are termites active?

While termites can certainly be active year-round, most commonly, subterranean and other breeds will swarm in the warm, damp spring weather.

Where do termites like to hide?

Although wood is the main target for termites, they can also feast on books, papers, cardboard, and even pool filtration systems. Any wood near or in your home is a potential target for termites, and an unnoticed infestation can wreak havoc on your home in a small time period. The safest move is always to consult a professional, but if you want to do a preliminary inspection on your own, focus on crawlspaces, as well as:

  • Basements — pay special attention to any wood areas
  • Anywhere that concrete meets wood on the ground floor of your home
  • Hollow cracks in wood, pavement and concrete
  • Old and decaying tree stumps, fence posts, or even basement windows

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How long do I have before termites start causing real damage?

Because termites can be so tricky to identify, this question can be hard to answer. If you identify the first termite to enter your home, you may have a few more days to render a solution. However– the queen in a colony can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day, which means it doesn’t take long for a few termites to reach the millions, and a million termites can cause serious damage fast. Damage will start as soon as the swarmers have mated, which can take up to a few days after landing near your home.

The safest move? Make sure you schedule regular preventative checks, and contact a professional like Anti-Pesto at the very first sign of termites.

What are the warning signs of termite damage?

Because termites cause so much damage so quickly, it’s important to keep a keen eye out for any signs of termites. Some of the tell-tale signs include:

  • Mud tubes.Termites build mud tubes as a way of ensuring they have access to moisture while collecting more food. These tubes will allow termites to travel from the nest to wood, soil, and moisture sources.
  • Hollow wood. Termites thrive in dark, moist areas. To be more comfortable, termites will work their way from the inside of the wood out, leaving hollow areas in the center of the wood. This is a sign that termites have already started to cause serious damage! Use extra caution on any structures you suspect may be damaged and contact a termite control expert as soon as possible.
  • Small piles of wings. When swarmers settle on a place to colonize, they drop their wings and get to work. Piles of wings mean an infestation is close by or on its way.
  • Sagging floors and ceilings. Another sign that termites have already begun damaging your home, sagging floors and ceilings are the result of weakened beams.
  • Cracked paint. As wood becomes damaged and distorted, paint will begin to chip from the surface. Paint chips, especially on basement or shed windows, usually indicate termite damage on the inside of the wood.
  • Maze-like tunnels. Most commonly found on antique furniture, if a termite makes its way to the outside of a piece of wood, it will create a chaotic, maze-like pattern of tunnels.

If you notice any of these signs, that means termites are already at work and your house is at risk! Contact us today to eliminate the infestation and prevent increased damage!

How can I eliminate termites?

While the safest move is always to consult a professional, there are a few ways to treat termites:

  • Install a bait station. Set up a bait station with boric acid poured on some pieces of wood.
  • Liquid non-repellents. Similar to the bait station, these are designed to attract the termite so that they return poison to the colony and eliminate the problem at the source.
  • Liquid repellents. This treatment will help repel termites and act as a barrier between the wood and the termite.
  • Flood the soil. If you’ve identified the location of the colony, flood it to eliminate your termite problem.
  • Contact an expert! No one knows the termites in Tampa like Anti-Pesto! With years of experience, we can not only eliminate a current infestation but help you prevent future termite problems.

How can I prevent termites?

You know what they say: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to termites, preventative measures are your best bet to avoid costly damage. Be sure to keep exceed wood as far away from your house as possible. This includes:

  • Firewood- Store at least 20 feet from your home.
  • Mulch- Avoid laying mulch close to your house.
  • Wooden lawn ornaments- Opt for plastic or concrete benches and lawn items instead of wood.

You should also:

  • Remove old tree stumps and rotting fences. This also includes old sheds or wooden structures that may be on your property.
  • Eliminate as much wood to soil contact as possible.
  • Seal all cracks on the exterior of your home, even the small ones!
  • Schedule recurring yearly inspections with our trained professionals.

Stop termites in their tracks

If you discover any of these warning signs in your home, you should take immediate action to protect your home and your family from further damage. Here at Anti-Pesto, we have the knowledge and experience to eliminate even the worst termite infestation. As Florida natives, we understand the unique conditions of termites in the Tampa area and have the best tools to keep your home protected.

Written by Howard Bright, Owner of Anti-Pesto Bug Killers

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