Serving all of South Florida

Parent Termites Reproducing Millions More, Sibling Termites Take Care of Termite “Kids”

Large families have always been a favorite motif in Hollywood’s pop cultural themes, witnessed by the popularity of movies, like Cheaper by the Dozen and countless TV sitcoms, including The Brady Bunch and Eight is Enough, as well as a current fascination with reality show mega-families. Face it, we love a little chaos, sibling bickering and a train wreck or two in the course of a large family story.

However, University of Florida (UF) scientists recently discovered an evolutional development in non-native subterranean termites that’s not so amusing. Unlike the dysfunctional antics of older human siblings complaining about being forced to drag their younger siblings along with them on outings with friends, Asian and Formosan termite colonies have channeled this concept of older siblings caring for their younger siblings into a powerful population expanding nightmare for South Florida homeowners.

New study by UF/IFAS scientists shows brood care by older siblings is a big deal

In a new study published in the journal Economic Entomology, University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) scientist Thomas Chouvenic and UF/IFAS entomology professor, Dr. Nan-Yao Su turned their focus to the care of young termites by older termite siblings in invasive subterranean termite colonies. In South Florida, two invasive subterranean termite species, Formosan and Asian subterranean termites are responsible for a significant part of the $40 billion annual cost in termite damage worldwide. To conduct their study, the scientists from the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center used a light trap to collect swarming Asian subterranean termites in Broward County.

Study reveals that older subterranean termite siblings grow into workers that care for younger siblings

Subterranean termite colonies, much larger than native subterranean termite colonies can have millions of members. According to Brad Buck’s, August 2017article on Newswise.com, the UF/IFAS team, “discovered that at the very beginning, the queen and the king termites . . . care for their first babies,” but as soon as these young termites grow into workers, “they take care of their younger brothers and sisters,” leaving the king and queen with a singular mission: to reproduce in order to expand the colony.

The importance of brood care by older termite siblings offers insights into eliminating termite colonies

In subterranean termite colonies, the older siblings also take care of the queen and king, as well as raising their younger termite siblings. Older sibling brood care seems to be an evolution in termite colonies over time to meet the needs of aggressive, rapidly growing subterranean termite colonies. As subterranean termite societies became more complex, with over a million individuals, “Some termite species became so good at taking care of their own that they colonized new ecological niches, including the wood inside your house,” said Chovenic.

Because the study revealed that brood care by older siblings in subterranean termite colonies is essential to the growth of colonies, Chovenic/Su can now develop materials that “disrupt this behavior to eliminate colonies.” Indirectly revealing what Chovenic termed “an Achilles heel” of subterranean termite colonies, “future improvement for baiting technology may tap into this aspect,” Chovenic said.

Hulett Termite Protection program safeguards your property

Proactive homeowners in South Florida know that the best termite control is termite prevention and Hulett’s Healthy Home approach guarantees your satisfaction with our Annual Termite Protection and Renewal Program. With various precise treatments, using quality materials and non-invasive methods and techniques, we trust that you’ll be satisfied to the tune of our Million Dollar Guarantee in the elimination and prevention of subterranean termites. We guarantee it. Contact Hulett for a free termite inspection today! Just call Hulett!

Why Hulett is Committed to Offering Environmentally Responsible Pest Prevention Services

Environmentally Responsible Pest Prevention

South Florida’s warm and humid weather provides a welcoming environment for household pests of all sorts. At Hulett Environmental Services, we take your home, your family and your pets into consideration when devising a plan to prevent pests from entering your home and property. Hulett’s environmental approach to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) gives our customers an environmentally responsible result to pest management. We use only high–quality materials and non-invasive methods to create a pest boundary around your property.

Traditional one-size-fits-all treatments do not take steps to effect colonies of pests that may have formed multiple nests on or near your property. With our strategically placed odorless baits and gels, when pests come into contact with these products they transfer them to the other members of their colonies.

Hulett focuses on the exterior of your home, to prevent pest problems where they originate

While integrating green initiatives, our environmentally responsible pest control service places emphasis on the pest prone exterior areas around your house. Focusing on your exterior our skilled, entomologist trained, technicians can regularly inspect, monitor and exclude pests before they can enter your home.

Preventing household pests through green initiatives reduces health risks posed by pests

Keeping many types of household pests, including roaches, rodents and flies out of your home reduces the health risks these and other pests can cause. Additionally, termites, as most South Florida residents know, can cause extensive structural damage, requiring costly repairs and lowering your property value, if left untreated. In the event of a pest problem in your home, Hulett inspects and treats your pest situation, consisting of pinpoint placement of treatments and using the most conservative amounts of baits or gels. When a spray product is necessary, we use low odor doses, in minimal applications. Because every home is different, we devise a plan customized to your home that safeguards your family and pets while protecting the environment.

Environmentally responsible methods for pest prevention

Some of our environmentally responsible methods that promote pest prevention include making your home less attractive to pests. Many of these methods are precautions that proactive homeowners can take on a regular basis to support green pest prevention methods.

Make the outside of your home a fortress against pests

  • Seal or caulk cracks, crevices and holes in your foundation and around doors and windows to keep pests from entering your home through these small openings.
  • Get rid of clutter and debris, such as wood piles and leftover construction materials around your home to eliminate possible nesting and breeding areas.
  • Removing standing water and correcting water prone areas in your yard will reduce mosquito breeding environments.
  • Cleaning gutters regularly and making sure downspouts drain away from your home, eliminates other mosquito breeding areas.
  • Storing toys and gardening materials that can collect water in a dry storage area.
  • Replace or repair torn window and door screens to keep bugs out.
  • Install outside lighting away from doorways or use lighting that doesn’t attract bugs.
  • Trim tree and shrub branches away from your house to eliminate bridges into your home.
  • Keep mulch at least 6” away from your foundation to deter pests from trying to enter your home.
  • Keep grass trimmed and remove areas of tall vegetation to reduce hiding places and nesting habitats.
  • Sanitize outdoor trash receptacles and pads to keep pests away from your home.

Now for the inside of your home

  • The first and most important thing is sanitation.
  • Wipe down counters and sweep or vacuum floors in dining and food prep areas to cut down on pest food sources.
  • Discard leftover food scraps in tight-lid trash receptacles and clean or rinse dishes immediately after meals and snacks will also reduce pest food sources.
  • Store dry goods and dry pet foods in air-tight metal, glass or hard plastic containers.
  • Wipe up pantry spills off rodent food supplies and avoid other pantry pests.
  • Remove clutter and resist the urge to save cardboard boxes in your closets, attic or basement. Old cardboard provides hiding places for insects and nesting material for rodents.
  • Repair leaky faucets to cut down on water supplies that most pests need to survive.

Just call Hulett Environmental Services and ask about our environmentally responsible pest prevention services. At Hulett, our environmentally responsible, Healthy Home pest prevention program stands out as a healthy alternative to routine smelly sprays and/or outdated methods that other pest control companies may use to treat for pests.

Our environmentally responsible program goes green with your South Florida home’s, loved ones’ and pets’ best interests at heart. Let Hulett customize a plan that creates a pest barrier around your property, in a non-invasive way. Using pinpointed placements of odorless baits and gels, we guarantee our environmentally responsible program will work for your home, family and the environment!

Just call Hulett for your free inspection and evaluation!

Summer Pests in Florida

Summer Pests in FloridaIt’s summer, which means it’s time for those backyard cookouts and poolside parties. In South Florida, where the differences between summer and any other season can be subtle, you can tell it’s summer because school is out, family outings are on the rise and there is heightened pest activity.

Yes, while it’s true that a lot of summer insects don’t die off in Florida’s mild winters, insect activity increases during spring and summer, with pest mating and reproductive cycles in full swing. An estimated 12,500 species of insects live in the Sunshine State. Some are native but some are invasive species, accidentally transported here in shipping containers or by other means. At Hulett Environmental Services, we want you to get the most out of your summer.  Below is a guide to recognizing some of South Florida’s most noticeable and notorious seasonal pests.

Mosquitos

South Florida hosts many species of mosquitos, including the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. In the news currently, as a carrier of the Zika virus, yellow fever mosquitos, originally from Africa are also vectors of Chikungunya, Dengue and other diseases. Small to medium-sized mosquitos, adult yellow fever mosquitos have dark bodies, measuring 4 – 7 mm in length with banded or striped legs.

With mating activity happening in the early spring, around March or April, yellow fever mosquitos are day-biters and will bite indoors. Due to the introduction of Asian tiger mosquitos, to South Florida, by way of Texas in 1985, the yellow fever mosquito population in Florida has declined dramatically, “but still thrives in urban areas of South Florida,” according to the University of Florida’s Featured Creature site.

South Florida homeowners can reduce mosquitos in their backyards by eliminating standing water, such as unused gardening containers, kid’s toys and other water-collecting objects. Untreated swimming pools, drainage ditches and poor drainage areas make excellent breeding grounds for mosquitos.  Hulett’s Healthy Home approach addresses mosquito prone areas before the summer starts with our environmentally responsible people and pet friendly Integrated Pest Management system.

Termites

Due to South Florida’s warm climate, different types of termites swarm throughout the year. Flying ants are also commonly found swarming in Florida year-round. The differences between flying ants and termite alates are:

  • Flying ants and termites both have sets of wings but termite wings are twice as long as the termites’ bodies.
  • Ants have pinched waists, elbowed antennae and long legs, whereas termite alates sport straight antennae, broad waists and short legs.

Large swarms of winged termites could be drywood termites. Swarming outdoors can indicate a termite colony near your home; however, swarming indoors may indicate an infestation in your home. Discarded pairs of wings near windows can point to termite activity.

Tell-tale signs of a drywood termite infestation include piles of “frass,” distinctive, six-sided fecal pellets that resemble sawdust, in addition to paper thin, hollow sounding wood, warped or buckling wood and loose ceramic tiles.

Subterranean termite activity can become obvious if you spot earthen tunnels running from the ground up the walls of your home, nearby trees and utility poles. Subterranean termite activity should be addressed right away as these termites can damage structures in less than two months. All termite activity should be handled by a trusted professional pest control company. Hulett’s Healthy Home Termite Control programs can ward off these destructive invaders as well as other types of termites.

Ants

South Florida has 32 ant species, some, such as crazy ants, are active year-round, wreaking havoc on electrical circuitry and just being general nuisances with their erratic behavior. In the spring and summer in South Florida, ghost ants and fire ants show increased activity.

  • Ghost ants love sweets and will come into your home in the summer, in search of sugary foods. Tiny, measuring 1.3 to 1.5 mm in length, ghost ants’ coloring goes from dark brown heads and thoraxes to milky white abdomens and legs. When you see one or two ghost ants on your kitchen counter, slurping up popsicle drippings, know that soon the word will get around the colony, inundating your kitchen with tiny ghost ants!

More of a nuisance than a threat, ghost ant colonies on your property can be a constant battle for South Florida homeowners. Don’t spend your summer fighting ants. Hulett’s Integrated Pest Management approach uses baits and gels to eliminate colonies, not just the ants you can see.

  • Fire ants, with their signature mounds, can fortunately be easy to avoid. Reddish brown in color, fire ants can pack a powerful sting, when threatened. Generally keeping their distance from humans, fire ants can be problematic for homeowners with small children and pets, so hiring a professional pest control company, such as Hulett is recommended.

Wasps and Bees

While most bees and wasps are beneficial as pest control for crops and exponentially important to global food production as pollinators, they’re not the most welcome guests at outdoor events or poolside in the summer months. In South Florida, it’s always bee and wasp season, it’s just that people may encounter them more in the summer months. While most bees and wasps will only attack, if threatened, the guys you need to worry about in the greater Miami-Dade area, the Keys and the Everglades this summer include yellow jackets and Africanized honeybees.

  • Yellow jackets, ½ inch to 1 inch long, shiny, black and yellow striped wasps, swarm when disturbed and can sting multiple times, as many South Florida homeowners have discovered when running over their nests with lawn mowers or when watering planters where these aggressive pests can build their nests.
  • Africanized honeybees look just like European and native American honeybees. It’s their attitude that’s the problem. Some apiologists have theorized that all feral honeybee colonies in the US are now Africanized, as more animals and people have been stung by wild honeybees that previously peacefully co-existed alongside farmers and livestock. Africanized bee suspects should be handled by professionals, like Hulett, as these bee swarms will chase people and animals and sting with more force than other honeybees.

Ticks and fleas

With warmer, year-round temps, ticks and fleas are predicted to be more of a problem this summer. Already, veterinarians are reporting an increase in tick related diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

  • Lone Star ticks, the most common ticks in South Florida, are vectors of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and can be identified by a white spot on the female’s back.
  • Black-legged ticks are the most common carriers of Lyme disease in South Florida.

Pet owners should check themselves and their pets for ticks, after walking in wooded areas or tall grass. Ticks can be hard to spot, as they are no larger than a ¼ inch. Female ticks, engorged with blood can measure about ½ inch.

Fleas, a nuisance to pets and pet owners, can be controlled by various over-the- counter and prescription medications, available at pet care locations throughout South Florida. Along with vacuuming pet bedding and carpeting regularly, Hulett can help prevent fleas and ticks, on your home’s interior and exterior with pet-friendly materials formulated with the same ingredients your vet recommends for your pets.

Proactive homeowners can get the most out of their backyards this summer! Hulett’s Healthy Home approach helps create a barrier around your property to safeguard your family, pets and guests from South Florida’s wide variety of household and yard pests. Get the most out of your summer! Just CALL HULETT!

10 Things Attracting Bugs to Your Home

10 Things Attracting Bugs to Your Home

It’s summer and in South Florida that means more bugs trying to get into your home. Water, food and shelter are what they’re after and a lot of homeowners unwittingly put out the welcome sign, attracting insects to their homes. Hulett Environmental Services wants you and your family to live in a bug-free environment this summer. In addition to contacting us to create a pest barrier around your home and property, here are 10 ways proactive South Florida homeowners can make their homes less attractive to bugs, by eliminating conditions that make your home vacation central for household pests.

  1. Cracks and crevices

While you probably can’t caulk all of the cracks and crevices in older homes, you can seal off the majority of them to exclude insects from entering your home.

  1. Doors and screens

Replacing door sweeps and repairing or replacing torn screens can deter mosquitoes, roaches, flies, spiders and other pests from entering your home.

  1. Standing water

Nothing says “Mosquito party,” like standing water. Your backyard can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Store kids’ toys and extra gardening supplies where they can’t collect water. Changing the water in birdbaths and pet bowls is a great idea to dissuade mosquitoes from breeding near your home. Clean gutters regularly and make sure downspouts drain away from your house.

  1. Wood piles and leftover construction materials

In South Florida, termites present many challenges. Don’t give them more reasons to invade your home. Remove all extra wooden construction materials from around your yard and any other collections of debris that may be attractive to bugs. Stack firewood at least 20 feet away from your home.

  1. Trees, shrubs and mulch

Trimming tree branches and shrubbery away from your home eliminates bridges insects can cross to invade your home. When spreading mulch, keep mulch at least 6” away from your home’s foundation.

  1. Food and dining

After meals and snacks, be sure to sweep or vacuum food prep and dining areas.  Clean dishes, tossing all leftover food on dinner plates in a tightly sealed container or in your compost pile. Eat fruit before it passes its peak. Seal all dry goods in air-tight metal, glass or hard plastic containers.

  1. Trash Cans

Sanitize your outdoor trash receptacles regularly and ensure lids fit tightly.

  1. Outdoor Lighting

Moths, mosquitoes and many other flying insects are attracted to lighting outside your home. While porch lights are necessary for navigating outside at night, installing motion detectors or positioning security lights, higher, away from your doorways can draw bugs from entering your home.

  1. Bird seed and pet food

Ants, roaches and other bugs like birdseed and pet food, as do other wild life. Keep pet food bowls inside or remove after feeding. Place bird feeders further away from your home.

  1. Cardboard boxes and clutter

Roaches, spiders and other crawling things like the privacy of cardboard boxes stored in your basement and attic. Eliminating all clutter from your home cuts down on insect hiding places.

The folks at Hulett Environmental Services wish you a healthy and happy summer. Enjoy those pool parties, beach days, picnics and backyard BBQs and remember, If you run into a pest situation, this summer, JUST CALL HULETT!

Protect Your Home: How to Keep Termites Out

How to Keep Termites Out of Your Home

Each year, over two million homes in the United States will be treated for a termite infestation. Termite damage in the United States costs homeowners more than $5 billion in property damage every year. South Florida homeowners are at higher risk than some other cooler parts of the US due to the hot and humid climate.  Some experts say that with this year’s generous rainfall amounts and warmer than usual temperatures, termites are expected to be in abundance and hungry, looking for your home’s wood to devour.

Termites can go unnoticed, causing extensive damage

The tricky thing about termites lies in the fact that, more often than not, termites are not visible in your home until you find damage. Drywood termites live in the wood they infest, hollowing out the cellulose. Subterranean termites, more aggressive than drywood or dampwood termites, with larger colonies, build earthen tunnels into your home, through ground to wood contact but they actually live in massive nests in the soil outside your home. Formosan subterranean termites are capable of building nests in homes and buildings, damaging your walls, attic, ceiling and roof. Drywood termites, not needing soil contact to survive, can live in your walls, attic, roof and ceiling. Conehead termites, a new species to South Florida, live in live trees or shrubbery near your home, entering your home through earthen tubes.

Invasive subterranean termites do more significant damage in a short period of time

University of Florida researchers are currently on the lookout for a super breed hybrid species to emerge as, due to warmer temperatures, invasive Asian and Formosan subterranean termites are swarming at the same time, for the first time in South Florida. While cases of hybridization are rare, a super breed termite could grow twice as fast as their parents, with the potential for extensive damage to occur faster. Currently, Formosan termites can cause significant damage to a home in a couple of months, whereas native subterranean and drywood termites, with smaller colonies can take several years to cause significant damage.

Structural damage can threaten the stability of your home

Termite infestations, if left untreated can cause extensive damage. Roofs, ceilings, floors and walls can collapse if termites weaken your structural supports, including posts and beams, wall studs and floor or ceiling joists. Damage to hardwood floors can be a complicated repair job, as termites can damage your subflooring and floor supports. Damage to subflooring can cause laminate floors to blister and sag. Removing sections of laminate may be necessary to assess the damage to the subfloor and support joists, as well. Termite damage can also affect tile flooring, when moisture seeping into the subfloor allows termites to move among the tiles, causing tile adhesives to weaken. Buckled tile flooring, caused once again by termite damage to subflooring, can loosen even ceramic and porcelain tiles.

Termites can also cause damage to parts of your home you may not associate with termite activity

Termites eat anything containing cellulose, including sheetrock paper. Because ceilings are composed of sheetrock and wood, termites in your walls can gain access to your ceilings, especially drywood and Formosan termites. Usually, if you find termite damage in your ceiling, such as cracks and shifting boards, your wall supports have also been compromised by termites making their way to your ceilings.  Termites in your attic can cause damage to your roof supports, eaves and fascia, causing moisture to leak into your home.

Although we don’t think about termite damage in bathrooms, high humidity levels and the potential for leaky pipes and drains create an ideal environment for termites to thrive. Termite infestations going on behind ceramic tile walls and porcelain fixtures can be invisible, until the sink supports give way to termite damage or tiles fall off of walls or your bathtub’s support structure is damaged. Repairing bathtub supports can be challenging and expensive due to the complication of accessing infestations near plumbing and fixtures.

Be a proactive, responsible homeowner

In South Florida, where termites abound, proactive homeowners get a jump on protecting their homes and loved ones, by contacting a trusted pest control professional, such as Hulett Environmental Services to deal with any current infestations and to take advantage of our Annual Termite Protection that creates a barrier around your home to guard against termites and other pests. Hulett also offers a Million Dollar Subterranean Termite Damage Warranty that covers repairs up to a million dollars, should termites return.

Utilizing environmentally responsible materials and methods, we treat any signs of termite activity with a non-repellent liquid, Termidor, sprayed directly into termite galleries that termite workers spread to their entire colonies, through contact, destroying the colony.  Environmentally sensible bait stations can also be installed on your property to control subterranean termite activity. Recognizing the signs of termite activity can also help to detect termite activity before damage is done.

Signs of a termite infestation

  • Discarded wings near windows indicate termites swarming indoors in search of mates. After young reproductives swarm as part of a mating ritual, new kings and queens look for a cozy place to set up shop and raise their young. Swarming indoors can indicate an existing colony.
  • Piles of “frass,” the distinctive pellet-shaped excrement pushed out of nests by drywood termites.
  • Mud tubes running from the ground to your foundation.
  • Noticeable buckling and squeaking in flooring or flooring that looks water damaged can point to termite activity.
  • Wood that sounds hollow when tapped or that is easily punctured with the point of a tool.
  • Sagging ceilings and walls that look water damaged.

Contact Hulett today to schedule a free termite inspection. Select from many convenient time slots that work for your busy schedule to start receiving the termite protection every South Florida homeowner needs. Just call Hulett!

Termites 101: A South Florida Homeowners Guide

A South Florida Homeowners Guide
South Florida is an attractive place to call home. It’s no wonder termites also love Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and other South Florida neighborhoods. In fact, termites are predicted to damage over 50% of South Florida structures by 2040, according to University of Florida researchers in a 2015 report.

What kinds of termites are we talking about here?

The four major types of termites that could infest your South Florida home are:

  • Asian subterranean termites are currently confined to South Florida.
  • Native Eastern subterranean termites can be found in most of the US.
  • Formosan termites are found in Florida, other southern states and Hawaii.
  • Sharing some subterranean behaviors, newcomer invasive species, conehead termites are confined to one county in South Florida, so far.
  • Drywood termites are usually found in coastal, southern states and the Southwestern states.

Each of these termites presents unique challenges to homeowners, who are advised to contact a professional pest control company, such as Hulett at the first sign of termite activity. Regularly scheduled year-round protection is the best way to prevent termites in South Florida but educated homeowners can also help spot termite activity before extensive damage is done.

Subterranean termites can cause more extensive structural damage than other termites

Because subterranean termites live in the soil, entering homes from mud tubes, near your foundation, they may go unnoticed for quite some time, causing widespread damage that isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

  • Eastern subterranean termites, the most widely distributed termite in the US, consist of soldiers, with orange, rectangular, armored heads and jaw-like mandibles, measure about the same size as workers, at .25” long. Alates or reproductives, with dark brown bodies, measure about .375” long, including their dark-veined wings.
  • Imported from China, Formosan cream-colored termite workers and wingless soldiers with elongated brown heads, mandibles and brownish-yellow undersides are slightly smaller than light-colored alates and range from brown to black, measuring .5” to .6” long, including wings.
  • Asians, a tropical species, look very similar to Formosan termites but Asian alates range from caramel to brownish yellow and they keep their wings longer than most other termites after swarming. Subterranean termites swarm after a rain shower in the morning or evening, usually in the spring, but can swarm any time of the year.

Formosan and Asian termites are much more aggressive than native subterranean termites

Due to their larger populations, with multiple queens and networks of nests, Formosan and Asian termites are more aggressive and forage further than other Florida termites, in search of food for their expansive colonies. Formosan termite populations can number in the millions and Formosans infest structural timbers, live trees and utility poles and will eat through electrical wiring. Voracious eaters, Asian termites will eat through rubber and plastic to get to available wood.

Attracted to wood directly contacting soil, subterranean termites build foraging tunnels or tubes from your home to their underground nests. Earthen tubes running up walls and trees are clear indications of subterranean termite activities. These invasive subterranean termites can infest and destroy a structure in a matter of a few months. Wings of swarmers indoors can point to a subterranean termite infestation.

Conehead termites are currently contained to Dania Beach in South Florida

Not a traditional subterranean termite, coneheads are small termites, with workers and soldiers, measuring about .125” long. Conehead alates, larger than most Florida termites, sport wings as long as .5” long. Soldiers with black, pear-shaped, pointy-heads excrete a sticky substance that protects these termites from predators. Conehead alates swarm at twilight in spring after rain.

The tricky thing about coneheads revolves around their habit of disappearing into wood to raise their young, leading people to assume that infestations have been eradicated, when a new population is growing inside nearby wood. Coneheads will eat any kind of wood, including living trees, shrubs and bushes and go on to infest your home, as well. With huge appetites, these tiny termites can cause extensive damage and task forces are vigilantly trying to keep coneheads from establishing more colonies in the US.

Conehead termites build large, hard, round nests

Once conehead populations grow to their tipping points, they build large, round hard nests in trees, shrubs, and structures or on the ground. Building long, trailing tunnels up the sides of trees and foraging around on the ground, mature conehead colony termite activity is more visible than most other types of Florida termites.

Drywood termites with smaller populations do not need soil contact to survive

Drywood termite soldiers measure from .13” to .20” long, with white antennae, black heads with reddish hues, they have brownish yellow bodies and pale yellow legs. It may be difficult to identify Cryptotermes brevis by its soldiers, who make up only 1 to 2% of a colony. Swarming alates are more visible, measuring .33” to .38” long, including two pairs of clear, membranous wings, with dark veins and long antennae. Wings found on windowsills and around light fixtures indoors can indicate drywood termite activity.

Drywood termites infest wood in older homes and furniture

Because drywood termites are drawn to spring wood, infesting the center sections of wood timbers, flooring, wooden frames, windowsills fascia, furniture and attics, you can’t see them. Carving out the center spring wood, drywood termites leave piles of distinctive, six-sided, fecal pellets resembling sawdust or coffee grounds that are tell-tale signs of infestations.

Infested wood surfaces look blistered or warped, sound hollow when tapped and may puncture easily with a screwdriver or other tool. Although drywood termite damage is centralized to one area, multiple nests may be found in that area.

Dealing with a termite infestation requires a trusted professional pest control company

Hulett, a leader in the termite eradication business for over 45 years, uses a combination of liquid materials and bait systems, as part of our Healthy Home pest management program to solve the termite issue in your home.

A leader in the South Florida pest control industry, we are charter members of Dow Agro Sciences “Commitment to Excellence” Program for tent fumigation procedures to solve drywood termite infestations. As an alternative to tent fumigation, Hulett also offers no-tent drywood termite treatment. Our million-dollar guarantee shows just how dedicated we are to eradicating termites from your home and property.

Hulett advises homeowners to protect their most valuable investment, their home, with our affordable and convenient Annual Termite Protection plan that creates a powerful and secure barrier between you, your loved ones and any of the many termites that may want to infest your South Florida home. Locally owned and operated, our termite trained and certified technicians lead the way in solving your home’s termite issues. Just call Hulett! It’s time to schedule your free termite inspection.

To Tent or Not To Tent?

To Tent or Not To Tent
In South Florida, with moderate temps, high humidity and tropical conditions, termites present a major concern for homeowners. It has been said that, “There are two types of homes in South Florida; those that have termites and those that will have termites.” At least three types of termites cause significant damage to structures in Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe, Collier and Palm Beach Counties, including drywood, subterranean and conehead termites.

Drywood termite colonies are smaller than subterranean termites

Subterranean and conehead termites are an invasive species that need ground contact to survive. These termites enter your home through ground to wood contact, foraging great distances for food to take back to their nests. Subterranean termites form large colonies with millions of workers who can cause widespread damage supporting their growing populations. Drywood colonies are smaller with infestations usually confined in one location but can consist of multiple nests.

Infesting sound, non-decaying wood in older homes, drywood termites have adapted to drier, indoor conditions

Adaptable, drywood termites, on the other hand, not needing soil contact to survive, and relatively little water, due to a harder outer cuticle live in the wood they infest. Typically infesting sound, non-decayed wood in more seasoned homes, drywood termites will infest hardwood flooring, wood frames, window sills, doors and furniture, in addition to fascia boards and attics.

Pairs of discarded wings found inside your home can indicate a drywood termite infestation

Likely, drywood termites will enter your home during swarming season, when young reproductives fly in search of mates and a place to start their own colonies. This mating activity occurs in the summer months, after showers, generally. After drywood alates or reproductives mate, the new couple shed their wings and find a new home in cracks in your home’s wood. One indication of a drywood termite infestation can be evident in pairs of wings found on window sills and in light fixtures.

Drywood termite “frass” indicates drywood termite activity

Termite infestations can go unnoticed for an extended period of time because drywood termites live inside your home’s wood, out of sight and can remain dormant for a year or more. While not always the case, drywood termites are often found in wood near ground level. In addition to finding discarded pairs of wings on window sills, pellet shaped excrement called “frass,” can be an even more telling sign of drywood termite activity. From light brown to almost black in color, these distinctly shaped pellets are formed by drywood termites’ ability to extract water they need to survive from their excrement. Usually found in piles, these six-sided fecal pellets resemble mounds of sawdust or coffee grounds.

Hollow sounding wood and paper thin wood surfaces point to drywood termite infestations

As drywood termites ingest the interior spring wood inside your boards and timbers, the surface of the wood appears blistered or warped as the structural foundation beneath the surface has been carved out for termite galleries. Termite infested wood may sound hollow when tapped and can be easily punctured by a pointed tool. Sometimes, a honey comb pattern on wood surfaces is evidence of termites burrowing into wood. Because multiple nests can exist in one structure, when one nest is found, all areas must be checked for additional nests.

Hulett offers two termite treatment options

Hulett Environmental Services wants you to be aware that when it comes to termite treatment options, you have two options – fumigation where your home is tented as well as no-tent fumigation. We offer both forms of treatment here at Hulett.

It is important to note that not all homes qualify for no-tent fumigation. However, we will happily come out to your home and conduct a FREE termite inspection. After the inspection, we will advise you if your home is a good match for our no-tent solution.

If your property does not qualify for the no-tent solution, have no fear, Hulett also offers fumigation. The fumigation process requires experience and knowledge and Hulett is your best local option. Locally owned and operated, we know South Florida and we know termites. Hulett has been a trusted source for all of your fumigation needs, whether tent or no-tent, for over 45 years. Education and training of our technicians is a priority and so is keeping your home happy and healthy.

No-tent termite solutions target termite colonies:

  • Hulett technicians perform injections of an advanced repellent product directly into termite galleries.
  • Immature nymph workers spread these specialized materials throughout the entire termite colony.
  • When the repellent materials infiltrate the entire colony, the queen dies and the colony collapses.

Monitoring for additional colony activity may be the only other inconvenience you’ll need to endure with Hulett’s innovative, alternative no-tent termite treatment. With over 45 years as a leader in the local professional pest control business, Hulett has tented thousands of homes and businesses in South Florida. However, with technological advances in pest control materials and methods, we can offer you other, simpler environmentally responsible ways to solve drywood termite issues. With our no-tent termite treatment, you won’t need to worry about:

  • Moving out of your home for several days, making arrangements for accommodations for your family and pets and upsetting routines.
  • Relocating your furniture, houseplants and other large objects away from fumigation areas.
  • Removing (or film wrapping) all uncanned food items from your home.
  • Removing all cosmetics and medications from your home.
  • Whether or not your roof will be damaged or your landscaping compromised.
  • Special shrub and tree trimming activities.
  • Disconnecting satellite dishes and antennae.

Hulett’s no-tent treatments work in certain homes. However, depending on the infestation found in your home during our FREE termite inspection, it may be determined that your home does not qualify for the no-tent approach. We will recommend the best approach for your property, whether to tent or not to tent. If tenting is found to be the recommended course of action, Hulett has 45 years of experience with tenting homes and we are committed to excellence in South Florida’s homes.

Just call Hulett! We will be happy to schedule a FREE termite inspection to help keep your home happy and healthy for your family.

Ant Spotlight: Caribbean Crazy Ants

Caribbean Crazy Ants

Originally thought to be Paratrechina pubens, an ant from the Lesser Antilles that were imported in shipping containers to South Florida’s shores in the 1950s, the large populations of crazy ants found in Florida in the 1990s were a slightly different species called Nylanderia fulva, the tawny crazy ant, whose point of origin is actually Brazil. Introduced to Colombia in the 30s and 40s as a biological control for leaf-cutting ants and poisonous snakes, according to a 2012 University of Florida IFAS article, tawny crazy ants are on the rise in “24 counties in Florida: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Clay, Collier, DeSoto, Duval, Hardee, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, and Sarasota.”

Small, reddish-brown ants get their names from their erratic actions

Not a large ant, by any means, compared to the reigning invasive ant species in the Southeast, the formidable, South American fire ant, these small, 1/8-inch, hairy, reddish-brown ants with ridiculously long antennae and legs behave in some, well . . . crazy ways.

Moving rapidly along dense foraging trails, Caribbean crazy ants seem to break into their own samba interpretations, dashing madly about in all directions when disturbed, possibly in pursuit of a dance partner. All kidding aside, like many invasive species, crazy ant populations contain multiple queens in order to accelerate population growth. Crazy ant populations number in the millions, with infestations described as ants, “blanketing yards and sidewalks.” Also, known to overcome small animals and livestock, crazy ants lodge in the nostrils of animals, asphyxiating newborn livestock. With one population of crazy ants in the millions, these colonies consist of a network of nests that make these ants impossible to control by homeowners with commercially available products.

Adaptable and resistant to fire ants, crazy ants can cause a lot of damage

Incredibly adaptable to areas with high moisture conditions, like South Florida, crazy ants can also survive in drier conditions, which is why their cousin, the Rasberry crazy ant has been spotted marauding around Texas, along with the longhorn crazy ant. In the Southeast, crazy ants are overtaking South American fire ants, causing a disruption in ecosystems. While the dreaded fire ant’s venom packs a powerful punch to humans and animals, this invasive species builds noticeable mounds in your backyard and only attack humans and pets, when provoked.

Crazy ants might make you miss your aloof fire ant neighbors

Interestingly, crazy ants, originating from the same area of the globe as fire ants, secrete venom that acts as an antidote to fire ant venom. This peculiar adaptation allows the smaller, crazy ants to triumph over larger, more venomous fire ants.

Crazy ants, with an appetite for honeydew, produced by aphids and scale insects, move the aphids from infested plants to healthy plants, in order to enjoy the honeydew. This activity can decimate agricultural crops and eliminate insects that are attracted to crops, drastically reducing food sources for birds and other animal life that rely on insects as food sources. Crazy ants will feed on dead insects as well as rabbits, lizards and other small animals.

Crazy ants invade your electric circuits

Additionally, while fire ants generally keep to themselves in large, visible mounds in your backyard, crazy ants don’t mind invading your home, jamming your electronics and causing shortages in your electrical circuits. Not the only ants to be attracted to electrical currents or warm, enclosed spaces, such as switch boxes and electrical plates, crazy ants fired up by electricity send out attack signals to their colonies, causing a pile up of crazy ants answering the call to battle. As crazy ant carcasses pile up, circuits jam and electrical failures occur. While crazy ants pose no direct health threats to humans, they cause frustrating power failures and annoying cleaning situations.

South Florida residents need to contact a trusted pest control professional to eliminate crazy ant infestations

South Florida residents can help prevent crazy ants by taking a few common-sense steps but attempts to eliminate crazy ant infestations should be handled by a professional pest control company, such as locally owned and operated, Hulett Environmental Services.

Prevention tips include:

  • Removing yard debris and clutter that provide shelter for insects.
  • Repairing any pipes, spouts and faucets that leak water necessary to crazy ant survival.
  • Minimizing standing water on your property, including flowerpots and animal water bowls.
  • Check your property for established colonies. Crazy ants don’t build mounds, so you will likely notice thick, golden-brown ant trails on structures, on vegetation or erratically darting around on the ground.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee

South Florida’s temperate climate can present pest problems year-round. Hulett Environmental Services suggests that the best way to control crazy ants and other household pests is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. Hulett’s Healthy Home Program addresses potential pest entryways and corrects conditions that attract pests to your home. Hulett’s knowledgeable technicians quickly eliminate current infestations, with our environmentally responsible, integrated pest management methods and materials that protect your family and pets. We guarantee it.

Our technicians administer baits and other population-reducing materials that circulate throughout the colony, eliminating the network of nests in a crazy ant colony. Contact us today to schedule a free pest inspection. Eliminating any current infestations, such as crazy ants, and getting your home back on track requires a customized plan that starts with a company you can trust. Serving South Florida exclusively, Hulett can answer any questions you may have regarding your Greater South Florida area home! Just call Hulett!

Pretty Termites Cause More Damage

South Florida, famous for her stunning array of beaches and picturesque barrier islands just added one more item to her long list of beautiful things: Termites.  If you’re like most folks, you prefer your termites as far away from your home as possible but, yes, according to reporter Brad Buck’s May 16th article, on Phys.org, a University of Florida (UF) study, recently published in Insectes Sociaux introduced the idea that some subterranean termite specimens deemed “pretty” for their symmetrical traits, “are more destructive than their uglier counterparts.”

Symmetrical traits indicate the health and maturity of termite colonies

Conducted by Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center entomologist, Thomas Chovenac and UF/IFAS entomology professor Nan-Yao Su, the research team determined that symmetry in termite traits pointed to the overall health and age of termite colonies. Symmetrical or “pretty” specimens tend, “to come from mature colonies,” with large populations, said Chouvenc, adding, that “so-called ‘ugly’ termites,” with asymmetrical traits, “generally come from young colonies. Such ‘ugly’ termites develop under stressful conditions, are short-lived and not very efficient at maintaining the colony.”

The researchers concluded that the larger and more established termite colonies are, the prettier the members are and the more destructive they can be. “If you have a mature colony with a million termites at 100 percent of their capacity, your house may be in trouble,” Chouvenc said. “If the colony is very young, with just a few hundred termites in poor shape, then it would take more time for them to damage a structure. In the end, mature termite colonies are the ones doing the most economic damage.”

Researchers studied Asian subterranean termites, an aggressive non-native species

Speaking of damage, the research team focused their study on Asian subterranean termites, an invasive species introduced to the South Florida area in the 1990s. Along with South Florida’s other invasive species, Formosan subterranean termites, Asian termites account for a major percentage of the $40 billion-dollar expense caused by termites annually, worldwide.

Asian subterranean termites are voracious eaters, bent on population growth

Invasive subterranean termites forage further than native subterranean species and show more aggressive patterns, eating through plastic, wiring and concrete to get to cellulose, their food source. Because one Asian subterranean termite queen can lay 1,000 eggs a day, Asian colonies can grow very rapidly. Caring for their young, a factor in the development of “pretty” termite reproductives, soldiers and workers, researchers noted that in younger colonies, under more stress than more mature colonies, young termites did not get as much care as in more mature colonies, with more workers to nurture the young.

Asian subterranean colonies, supporting multiple queens, accelerate the formation of new nests within colonies. With multiple queens, Asian termite populations can number in the millions. More workers caring for the young equals more extensive damage to your home, in a shorter period of time than other less organized or aggressive termites.

UF/IFAS study suggests eliminating young colonies

The UF/IFAS study also pointed out that “because young colonies have small numbers of poorly efficient termites, compared to mature colonies, there is an incentive to eliminate such young colonies before they grow too big, to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place.”

Excellent idea except for the fact that most homeowners are unaware that termites are lurking under the ground entering their homes, until significant damage is already underway.

A free termite inspection gets your home and property ready for termite prevention

Starting with a free termite inspection, our entomologist-trained and certified technicians inspect your home and property for signs of termite activity. Subterranean termites burrow through the soil outside your home, building mud foraging tunnels to transport wood from your home to their nests.

Our customized plan stops termites before they can enter your home

Our goal is to intercept termites before they can enter your home, by devising a customized plan and Preventative Termite Treatments that protect your perimeter so it is cut off from termites, ‘pretty’ or otherwise. Year round, our comprehensive termite protection plan safeguards your most expensive investment.

Any current infestation is addressed quickly and Hulett will return to address any termite activity at no extra charge as long as the annual termite bond is kept active.

Hulett Environmental Services has been family owned and operated for 3 generations making us the leading pest control company in South Florida for over 45 years. Contact us today for a free in-home termite inspection!

No Tent Fumigation: Advantages of the No Tent Approach

No Tent Fumigation

Several different types of termites can cause expensive, time-consuming headaches for South Florida homeowners, including native and invasive drywood, dampwood and subterranean wood–eaters. When young drywood reproductives, aka alates, swarm, usually once a year, winged termite couples can enter your home through tiny cracks in the wood, on any floor of your home. Once inside, the young couple seals the opening and gets busy growing a new termite colony. Because drywood termites live inside the wood they are infesting, they may go unnoticed for years, until they do extensive damage to timber structures, hardwood flooring, doors and windows, home furnishings, attics, fascia boards and wooden frames as well as support timbers in stucco and brick homes.

Tell-tale signs of a drywood termite infestation can involve swarming and frass

Typically infesting sound, non-decaying wood in older homes, drywood termites are well adapted to dry environments, doing the best at 60°F, but have been known to survive at 110°F, as well. Drywood termites have a thicker cuticle than other types of termites; this added protection helps them retain body moisture, plus these termites efficiently reabsorb water from their excrement that form distinctive, pellet shapes, known as “frass.” If you have noticed what looks like a pile of sawdust near wooden features in your home, you may be in the grips of a drywood termite infestation.

Additionally, should you encounter winged alates swarming inside your home, or notice pairs of wings near windows or light sources, there’s a distinct possibility, you need to contact a trustworthy and reliable professional pest control company, such as Hulett Environmental Services. Available when you are, we will arrange a convenient time to conduct a free termite inspection. Our entomologist trained termite specialists can assess your situation and set up a convenient time to get your home back on track to good health, as soon as possible.

Tent or No Tent Termite Fumigation

As a South Florida homeowner, you’ve probably seen tents for fumigation going up, turning houses into temporary circus tents. For over 45 years, Hulett has tented thousands of South Florida homes with excellent results but the good news is that the evolution in liquid materials to combat drywood termites may make tent fumigation unnecessary, except in cases of multiple infestations.

How does “no tent” fumigation work?

An advanced non-repellent material, introduced to termite colonies, is directly injected into existing drywood termite galleries. Because the materials are non-repellent, drywood workers don’t avoid these materials in their busy schedules, moving food and supplies around to different areas of drywood termite nests.

Workers coming into contact with the other termites in the colony, eventually infect the queen, through transfer of the liquid material, from one termite to another termite, throughout the colony. Once the queen is infected, it’s only a matter of time before the colony collapses. As a preventive measure, common termite entry points are treated to deter future infestations.

Hulett’s No Tent termite control for drywood termites saves time and money

In some cases, the No Tent option offered by Hulett eliminates the need to tent your home and “move out” for a few days. It also means you don’t have to pack up all of the food, medicine and other sensitive items from your home. Say goodbye to:

  • Upending your family’s entire routine and spending money on hotel or rental accommodations
  • Moving plants and flowers out of harm’s way
  • Removing all food that is not canned from your home
  • Removing all medications and cosmetics from the area
  • Potential roof and landscape damage
  • Special tree and shrub trimming and pruning to accommodate tents
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting satellite dishes and antennas

During your free in-home inspection, our trained termite technicians will determine if your home is a candidate for the No Tent option and make recommendations based on their expertise. At Hulett, we are committed to your satisfaction and devoted to resolving any issues that may arise in termite control around your home as soon as humanly possible. Because we know you’re busy, we offer flexible appointment times to fit your schedule and lifestyle.

Hulett’s Healthy Home Guarantee offers year-round protection from pests

In South Florida, it’s a great idea to protect your home from termites year-round. Our
Annual Termite Protection Program creates a protective barrier around your property, to give you the peace of mind that comes with relying on a local company with over 45 years of experience and expertise in keeping South Florida homes and families protected from all manner of household pests. Building on three generations, the Hulett Family Team guides clients to the most responsible, effective and affordable pest control services in South Florida. It’s our Healthy Home Guarantee!

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