Native subterranean termites are destructive insects that can be difficult to detect. These bugs have a significant economic impact, causing billions of dollars in structural damage across the country annually. Subterranean termites are responsible for 95% of this damage nationwide. Homeowner's policies typically don't cover the cost of repairs. Since property owners often don't realize they have an infestation until the damage is done, they can be stuck covering the repair costs.
Termites have been detected in every continental state but prefer humid environments like the country's southeastern region. Termites are found in homes from Boca Raton to West Palm Beach, Jupiter to Fort Pierce, and the rest of South Florida. Florida termite identification can be challenging without the help of experts, but fortunately, homeowners can eliminate termites and prevent future infestations from occurring with professional termite control. This service is an affordable option that can give you peace of mind about your most important asset. You can rest assured that your home is protected even in an environment where subterranean termites thrive. Read on to learn more about subterranean termite identification and elimination from the termite control experts at Hulett Environmental Services.
What Are Native Subterranean Termites?
Native subterranean termites are one of three termite types, the other two being dampwood and drywood. Subterranean termites are distinguished from the other types by their nesting behavior. These insects live in colonies and prefer to nest underground where it's naturally moist. They may build carton nests above ground in the right conditions. They travel above the earth's surface via mud tubes to build a network of linked feeding locations. The subterranean termites in any region can be either native or nonnative/invasive. Native insects occur naturally in and develop with the surrounding habitat. Nonnative pests have been introduced into the environment, and invasive species threaten resident species of plants, animals, and insects.
At Hulett, we frequently identify infestations of these common subterranean termites:
- Formosan (Coptotermes)
- Asian (Coptotermes)
- Eastern (Reticulitermes)
Eastern subterranean termites are native to Florida, and Asian and Formosan species are considered invasive. Formosan and Asian termites are found throughout the state, and Eastern termites are primarily located in South Florida.
Like all termites, eastern subterranean termites colonies consist of workers, soldiers, and reproductives (king, queen, alates, alate nymphs, and supplementary reproductives). A single colony can contain as many 100,000 to 1,000,000 insects that forage for food within a range of 150 feet. These pests enter your home through joints or cracks in the foundation or via shelter tubes that they install along walls. Entomologists and pest control professionals look to alates and soldiers to identify which termite species has infested a structure.
The annual flight of winged termites or alates is often the first sign of an infestation that homeowners notice. These discreet pests often go unnoticed until the alates fly off to form new colonies. After indoor flights, you'll often find dead alates around windows, sinks, and bathtubs.
You can distinguish subterranean termite soldiers from other termite types by their narrower pronotum or the segment behind their heads and their smaller size. A rectangular head further distinguishes eastern subterranean soldiers.
Eastern subterranean alates are dark brown, winged insects around 0.4 inches in length, including their wings. You can distinguish subterranean termite soldiers from other termite types by their narrower pronotum or the segment behind their heads and their smaller size. A rectangular head further distinguishes eastern subterranean soldiers.
The habits of the subterranean termite species make it difficult for you to spot them. They often live underground and forage for food inside your walls, so it's hard to lay eyes on them.
For eastern subterranean termites, their flight season starts in early January and ends in April. You're most likely to see swarming behavior after rain on a warm, bright afternoon. Female reproductives search for nesting sites within crevices of moist wood, and male reproductives follow. Once a male and female pair establish a nesting site and begin laying eggs, a new colony begins. Larvae hatch from the eggs, and the larvae molt into workers. Some workers may eventually turn into soldiers or alates, but a new colony can take five to 10 years to produce alates.
Termites eat cellulose. Cellulose is found in wood, making homes and other wooden structures a potential target. Termite damage will likely occur behind your walls and won't be noticeable until the pests have hollowed out your walls.
Termites can cause damage to your home and property. When they infest wood, they hollow it out, leaving only a thin wood veneer behind. If this has occurred, the surface may look like it's peeling or blistering. You can detect the presence of termites by pressing on the wall with the tip of a screwdriver to see if it seems hollow. Eastern subterranean species termites may leave behind soil on infested wood, giving it a dirty appearance.
How to Get Rid of Native Subterranean Termites
DIY pest control methods can be difficult, costly, and ineffective. When your home is at risk of costly structural damage that can lower your property value, it's best to leave it to the professionals. Of termite control products, the EPA notes, "Pest management professionals have the knowledge, expertise, and equipment as required by the label, which minimizes risks and maximizes effectiveness." Subterranean termite control professionals use products like a liquid control system and a termite baiting system to target these pests. These treatments are quick and effective.
A qualified technician will give you recommendations for how to keep your property free of termites. They may suggest that you:
- Identify and fix any leaks.
- Eliminate any wood debris or firewood near your home.
- Implement proper soil grading and drainage around the foundation.
- Remove blockages near vents.
- Close any openings in the foundation or where utilities pass through the structure.
- Trim back any shrubs or trees near your home.
A technician can recommend a customized termite control solution to help you eliminate these destructive insects as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Serious Are Subterranean Termites?
The average cost to fix the structural damage that termites cause is $3300. It typically costs around $4 to $7 per linear foot for repairs.
How Do Subterranean Termites Get into a Home?
They enter your home via openings in the foundation, and they search for wood that has been damaged by water.
Is Termite Control Affordable?
The cost of termite control can vary based on the size of your home, type of treatment, and severity of the infestation. Look for termite control services that offer a free inspection. The service may be more affordable than you think.
Just Call Hulett
Hulett is a family-owned pest control company that has been ridding homes of native subterranean termites for over 50 years. Our experienced technicians are trained to spot the signs of a termite infestation and work with you to eradicate these destructive bugs quickly. Insects are constantly adapting to their environment, which is why we train our technicians through Bugs University on the most up-to-date treatments and application methods for termite control. When you need termite control service in South Florida, just call Hulett!