Serving all of South Florida

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, 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!

Termite Spotlight: Formosan Subterranean Termites

Formosan Subterranean Termites

The cornucopia of household pests that thrive in South Florida’s ideal conditions certainly won’t object. While most of us are familiar with Florida’s mosquitoes, ticks, rodents and other pests that carry pathogens and transmit diseases, other pests are out to get your house and they’re pretty sneaky about it.

Formosan subterranean termites live in underground nests and tunnel into your home in search of cellulose and non-cellulose materials

Formosan subterranean termites may go unnoticed for a while in homes, because they live in underground nests in the soil, outside your home and travel through tubes in search of the cellulose in timber structures, as well as support beams in stucco and brick buildings. But they don’t stop there. Formosan subterranean termites will also attack live trees, as well as plastic, plaster, asphalt and thin sheets of metal, according to a University of Florida report.

The point is that Formosa subterranean termites are hungry and bent on expanding their populations. This invasive species is capable of growing much larger populations in a shorter amount of time than domestic subterranean termites, wreaking much more havoc on Miami’s metropolitan area, as well as Monroe, Broward and Collier County homes. So where did these aggressive termites come from?

Originating in Southern China, Formosan termites got their name from a Taiwanese description, after they were discovered in Japan

Coptotermes formosas, the Formosan subterranean termite is thought to have originated in Southern China and was transported before the 1600s to Japan but this termite takes its name from a Taiwanese description in the early 1900s. From Japan, the Formosan termite made it to Hawaii in the late 1800s. Reported in South Africa in the 1950s, by the 1960s this destructive termite species appeared in Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina. “By 1980, a well-established colony was thriving in a Hallandale, Florida,” (Broward County), according to scientists at the University of Florida.

Formosan subterranean termites have piqued homeowner interests in the sheer force of these relentless insects.

With the capacity to forage for up to 300 feet, Formosan termites build primary nests, with many satellite nests that can contain populations of several million termites. By comparison, native subterranean termites produce colonies in the hundreds of thousands. Other notable differences include:

  • Increased percentage of soldier termites in comparison to native subterranean termites, with 10-15% Formosan soldiers, compared to the 1-2% soldier population in native species
  • Formosan termites can cause more structural damage than native species due to their impressive population size
  • More potential for damage to nearby structures due to their foraging range of 300 feet
  • Formosan communities, once established in an area, haven’t been eradicated to date
  • Formosan termites can chew through electrical wiring and cables, causing fire hazards

Where can these marauding subterranean termites be found in Florida today?

University of Florida entomologists report that Formosan subterranean termite activity has expanded, since the first colony in Hallandale, to include “all major urban areas of Florida,” including much of “the coastal areas of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.”

Tips for preventing Formosan termites entering your home

  • Repair leaky plumbing, replace damp wood and correct areas of your home that are prone to moisture, such as areas where air-conditioner condensation collects.
  • Make sure gutter downspouts drain away from your foundation.
  • Keep irrigation systems away from your house and foundation
  • Keep mulch at least 6” away from your foundation
  • Pile wood at least 20 feet from your house.

Get real protection with Hulett’s Annual Termite Protection program

While these measures can help deter subterranean termites, in order to really protect your home from termites in South Florida, contact a trusted, professional pest control service, such as Hulett Environmental Services to enroll in our Annual Termite Protection program.

Protect your home and loved ones with the highest quality, most environmentally responsible materials and IPM methods available. We also offer a million-dollar warranty against subterranean termites, as part of our Healthy Home Guarantee.

Contact Hulett to protect your home and loved ones from Formosan subterranean termites, as well as the vast array of household pests that thrive in the southeastern tip of the US. We will happily send a trained expert to inspect your property and diagnose the issue at no charge. With over 45 years as local leaders in responsible pest control, our skilled and trained staff, led by owner-operator and Graduate Entomologist, Tim Hulett, deliver the most convenient and effective pest control in South Florida, all day, every day, season to season, year after year!

Healthy Green: Tricks and Tips for Healthy South Florida Lawns

Healthy Green: Tricks and Tips for Healthy South Florida Lawns

Floridians love their lawns and South Florida’s lush, green manicured landscapes are some of the finest in the country.  With the area’s warm, humid climate, maintaining a healthy, attractive lawn may seem to some homeowners like a “set it and forget it” project, after the initial planting. Well, yes, if your intention is to offer a turfgrass buffet to a number of known lawn and landscape pests. Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties are not only inviting to many people, the sub-tropical climate makes life good for:

  • Chinch bugs who like to extract the juice from grass blades
  • Mole crickets who like to tunnel through your lawn, uprooting grass and drying out the root system
  • Sod webworms, who feast on grass, as larvae
  • Aphids and whiteflies who feed on ornamental plant leaves
  • Fire ants that build unsightly mounds in your yard and expose your family to attack by these aggressive ants.

Pest control is just a part of the solution to a healthy and happy lawn

On top of getting pests under control, you need to know when to water and how much fertilizer to use for different types of turfgrass, in order to establish a strong and healthy root system, and on and on, it’s exhausting. However, hope awaits at Hulett, where exceptional lawn care is our passion.

Like all living things, a beautiful, healthy lawn takes some good old-fashion work, informed watering and mowing practices and usually the help of a respected, lawn care professional. At Hulett, we’ve been helping local homeowners keep their yards in great shape for over 45 years.  Family owned and operated, with CEO, Graduate Entomologist, Tim Hulett calling the shots, our continuously trained staff, state of the art equipment and environmentally responsible methods and treatments make sure your lawn is at the top of its game, year-round.

Hulett takes your lawn to heart with exceptional standards and practices

Hulett’s Healthy Home is designed to repair any existing lawn problems and proactively addresses any new issues before they become problems. Our professionals know South Florida’s variety of pests and the appropriate treatment for each one. We study the life cycles, habits and behavior of pests and apply specific treatments for different types of pests. Equipped with the latest training and the most effective products, we emphasize precision in applications, adhering to industry standards.

  • We exercise stringent cleaning protocols in our equipment, using dedicated sprayers, reels and pumps for each separate lawn or shrub treatment, to safeguard against cross-contamination and the potential incompatibility of treatments. Starting each day with clean water and a clean mixing tank, eliminates any chances for cross-contamination. We start each day with a clean mixing tank and a 600-gallon fresh water holding tank. At the end of each day, we flush any leftover product and start fresh the next day.
  • We calibrate our equipment twice a month to ensure accuracy and monitor calibrations daily.
  • Our professionals use reference sheets that provide precise prescriptions for proper mixture of treatment and water flow amounts.
  • Our high-pressure water nozzles, unlike the shower head sprayers other pest control companies use, with their spray wands gets right down to business, with product reaching down beyond the thatch to nourish and defend your grass roots, at three times the volume of product penetration.

At Hulett, we constantly train and update our staff on industry innovations and the latest breakthroughs and treatments for your lawn, shrubs, florals, trees and other landscape plants. Our professionals are adept at customizing your lawn care services for specific pests and nourishment needs.

Hulett emphasizes its environmentally responsible stance

At Hulett, we focus on environmentally responsible treatments and methods, to keep your lawn and landscape plants protected, as well as your pets and your human family. Our technicians are skilled in using many nontoxic alternative methods to eliminate lawn pest infestations. Among these techniques, disrupting pest life cycles, modifying pest habitats, excluding pests and strategic bait placement excel where smelly sprays and chemicals can be ineffective and unpleasant.

We stand by our work:  Satisfaction guaranteed!

We guarantee our work and it shows! We will return to resolve any lawn care issue with your yard at no extra charge. Hulett understands your lawn care needs and we make your lawn care needs our priority. We promise to respond within a 24-hour period, or less should a problem with your lawn arise. Your lawn will be nourished and protected from lawn and plant pests, 24/7. Your lawn deserves our Healthy Home Services. Contact us today to set up a free lawn analysis and to take advantage of our $50 off Lawn Care offer.

Termite Spotlight: Conehead Termites

Conehead Termites

Conehead Termites

No doubt long-time SNL fans will be amused at the mention of the1970s sketch centered on an extra-terrestrial family’s struggles to adapt to Earth life, featuring Jane Curtain, Lorraine Newman and Dan Ackroyd. Like the pointy-headed family from the planet Remulak, conehead termites are also alien, an invasive species, introduced to South Florida via Central or South America or some Caribbean islands. Unlike the hilarious antics of SNL’s faltering and often confused Conehead family, these South Florida visitors aren’t funny at all.

Coneheads concern scientists in their potential to become permanent US pests

To date, conehead termites have been confined to “less than ½ square mile of residential, commercial and natural landscape area in Dania Beach,” in Broward County. More flexible and diverse than drywood and subterranean termites, coneheads readily adapt to a variety of habitats. Voracious eaters, these termites will devour dead wood of any type in a short amount of time in order to populate their colonies. According to Dr. Barbara Thorne’s 2015, Pest Control Technology article, conehead termites pose threats, not only to South Florida, but to other states, as well. Dr. Torne goes on to say that these fast-spreading termites display “tremendous potential for survival in a variety of structural and natural habitats across a broad geographic range, with decisive economic consequences if they become permanently established and spread.”

Conehead termites feast on dead wood from live trees, as well as many other wood sources

Consuming dead wood from dead or living trees, the conehead diet includes not only citrus trees, grasses, shrubs and roots, a concern not only for Florida’s agricultural and turfgrass industries, but for home and commercial property owners, as well. Coneheads may even share your home furnishing tastes, in an entirely different way than you do. Even cardboard and paper products are not immune to the conehead appetite. Hungry and highly destructive, conehead termites, if left to their own devices could cause extensive damage resulting in expensive repairs, not covered by your homeowner’s insurance.

Conehead termites are named for the dark, pointed heads of the soldier caste

Originally, when discovered in Broward County in 2001, coneheads were referred to as “tree termites” but this caused confusion, as Nasutitermes corniger isn’t confined to living and feeding in trees and by the fact that other termite species also live and feed in trees. Quite different in appearance from subterranean and drywood termites in South Florida, this invasive species was given the name, “conehead,” for the dark, distinctive teardrop or pear-shaped heads of the soldier caste. A sap-like substance squirted from the tip of soldiers’ heads acts to detain and deter lizards, frogs, birds, ants and other would-be predators from feasting on conehead termites, that can’t be bothered with tunnels and often crawl across lawns, like ants.

Smaller than other South Florida termites

Measuring just over 1/8 inch in length, conehead soldiers are just slightly shorter than the workers. Small, compared to Florida drywood termites, conehead workers and soldiers are around the same size as subterranean workers but somewhat shorter than subterranean soldiers.

Like South Florida’s Formosan and Asian subterranean termite species, conehead termites build foraging tunnels in the ground but unlike subterranean termites, conehead show-offs build extensive networks of half-inch brown tunnels on almost any surface, including 40 feet up tree trunks, inside structural walls, on the sides of houses and over roof eaves. These vast tunnel networks are often the first indication of an infestation.

Bent on colony expansion, conehead termite colonies expand rapidly

  • With multiple queens and kings and a population of around 20-30% workers and soldiers, conehead colonies can expand in a fraction of the time it takes other types of termites to expand their colonies.
  • Conehead termites build large, round, bumpy nests, in trees or in grass roots that can be as large as basketballs.
  • Reproductive alates, identified by long black wings and black bodies are larger than other South Florida termite species.
  • Conehead alates swarm, usually in May, forming shimmery, black clouds of tens of thousands of swarmers, from a single, large colony.

Conehead termite colonies can be tricky to spot in their early stages

After alates swarm, new kings and queens find secure places inside dead wood, where they grow their colonies, over the span of four years or more. Once grown to a sizable population, conehead termites build their extensive tunnel networks and ultimately, a primary nest, as well as satellite nests. This is how coneheads deceive homeowners. After eradicating mature nests and satellite locations, homeowners think their conehead termite infestation is a thing of the past. Not so fast, re-infestations can occur by maturing colonies that were hidden when the initial infestation was eliminated.

Conehead termites are so aggressive and opportunistic in their expansion efforts that Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is intent on eradicating conehead termites in South Florida. The good news is that “these exotic termites build conspicuous tunnels and above-ground nests . . . that render colonies more vulnerable to discovery and possible eradication.” Constant and diligent monitoring for conehead activity helps in this effort to keep these pests from spreading. As a number of termites thrive in South Florida’s warm, moist climate, proactive homeowners are urged to contact a trusted pest control professional, such as Hulett Environmental Services, for a free termite inspection and get started with services to create a pest-free barrier around your property.

You can also help in efforts to deter termites and other pests by:

  • Removing all debris and wood piles from your property
  • Repairing water leaks and replacing damp wood
  • Keeping gutters and downspouts clean
  • Making sure water drains away from exterior walls and foundations
  • Regularly monitoring your irrigation system
  • Trimming shrubbery and tree branches away from your home
  • Keeping mulch at least 6 inches from your foundation

At Hulett Environmental Services, our team of trained and certified termite specialists effectively and affordably defend your home and loved ones from the invasion of conehead and other South Florida termites. Locally-owned and operated, for three generations, with Graduate Entomologist, Tim Hulett, at the helm, our Healthy Home program protects your home and loved ones, with the highest quality, most environmentally responsible materials and methods on the market. For the most effective and convenient termite protection available for your home and lifestyle, contact us to schedule a free termite inspection today.

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