DIY Termite Prevention Tips for Homeowners in Fort Lauderdale

DIY Termite Prevention Tips for Homeowners in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Pest Control: Termite Control & Prevention

Hot, humid weather is inevitable when you live in the Fort Lauderdale area. Unfortunately, pests like termites thrive in these conditions, looking to our homes for a food source. Termites will eat wood inside out, sometimes going undetected for a long period of time. Some common termite species include drywood termites and subterranean termites. To enhance termite control around your home, it’s important for every homeowner to utilize preventative measures throughout their property.

Improper drainage is one of the most common reasons termites infest. Subterranean termites are looking for moist wood to infest, causing significant structural damage. Our gutters often clog, causing water to pool and create insulation vulnerable to termites. Likewise, the leaves, twigs, and debris can get caught and build up in gutters, softening your roof and causing it to rot. Divert your down-spout away from your home and consider utilizing splash blocks to prevent pooling water.

Showing off your beautiful landscaping and a green, lush yard is ideal for every homeowner. Unfortunately, the materials we sometimes use to create this can be beneficial to termites. Landscaping mulch can be aesthetically pleasing, but unfortunately, it can attract termites into our homes. Try to minimize your use of mulch but if you do utilize it, keep it away from your foundation by at least 15 inches.

Excessive moisture can cause multiple problems for your home, including termites. Leaking pipes or lack of airflow can create an ideal environment for these pests. A major step in preventing termites is eliminating excessive moisture inside the home. Enclosing your crawlspace is a great way to not only prevent termites and other pests, but to also improve the overall health of your home.

If you’ve taken as many precautions as possible to avoid termites but are still looking for extra protection, consider reaching out to your local Fort Lauderdale pest control company. These professionals can provide you with a termite inspection and a treatment and prevention plan customized to your home.

 

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How Do I Know If I Have Termites?

How Do I Know If I Have Termites?

It’s Termite Awareness Week, and termites are a known threat to southern homeowners. Termites can cause more than 5 million dollars in property damage throughout the United States, and it is normal for this damage not to be covered by homeowner’s insurance policies. Before the damage gets out of control, look for termite signs and consider getting a preventative termite treatment and warranty from professional help.

One of the first signs that termites are near is if you encounter swarmers near your home. Although swarmers do not cause wood damage, they do indicate that a colony is nearby.  If you notice swarmers, it’s best to take immediate action and have a local termite control company take a look.

Another tell-tale sign that termites are close by is the presence of mud tubes or tunnels along the foundation of your home. Termites use mud tubes to keep moisture when traveling to and from their colony and your home.

Some other signs of termites that you may notice are:

  • Hollowed or damaged wood: Wood damage can be found behind surfaces like walls and floors. This is caused by termites searching for cellulose, which can leave long grooves in the wood. Over time, these grooves weaken the wood and can create structural damage. If wood is hollowed, it will show a honeycomb interior and give off an empty sound.
  • Bubbles in paint: Discovering bubbles in paint means there is a buildup of moisture, which can either be from water damage or termite damage.
  • Frass: Finding the appearance of wood-colored droppings that litter the ground is a sign of a drywood termite infestation.

Even if you do not find signs of termites, now is still the perfect time to get preventative termite protection! With the Sentricon Always Active bait system, you’ll experience 24/7 termite protection, annual inspections, a lifetime termite warranty, and more! Reach out to your local pest control company to help identify the type of termite and recommendations on the best treatment plan.

What Attracts Termites?

What Attracts Termites?

Did you know that certain termite species, such as subterranean termites, are active year-round? This means that even on the hottest or coldest days of the year these pests can still cause considerable damage and destruction to your property. Termites are in search of two things: a food source and a place to establish their colony. The first step in preventing termites is knowing what attracts them so you can take the necessary precautions to avoid them!

Termites like to colonize near a food source, most often soft or rotting wood. Firewood and other wood piles throughout your property are a major attractant to termites. This wood provides them with both a supply of food and a place to create their colony. If you must have this wood on your property, place it at least 20 feet from your home and elevate it at least 5 inches off the ground.

Summer showers are inevitable, meaning that your gutters could quickly become clogged. While clogged gutters can damage your home’s foundation, they can also attract termites. As the debris blocking the gutters accumulate, the excess moisture can soften your roof and cause it to rot. These areas provide termites an easy way to get inside your home. Make sure that your gutters are cleaned out regularly, especially after a bad rainstorm or consider installing gutter guards.

Every homeowner wants their yard to look aesthetically pleasing but sometimes the materials used for landscaping (like mulch) can attract termites to your home. Mulch is comprised of wood chips that can retain moisture, making it a perfect source of food for termites. Instead of mulch, consider using landscaping rocks; if you do use mulch, place it at least 15 inches from your foundation.

If you suspect a termite infestation or just want to get ahead of preventing them, consider calling your local pest control company where they can provide you with the best termite control options for your home.

What Do Swarming Termites Mean?

What Do Swarming Termites Mean?

Spring and early summer mark the start of termite swarming season. Swarming termites, also known as alates, are classified as nuisance pests because although they can be bothersome to have around, they cannot bite, sting, or even chew wood. They do, however, signify the presence of an established termite colony nearby which can be problematic for you and your home.

Termites are silent destroyers, often causing significant damage and destruction to your home for long periods of time while going undetected. Learning the signs of termites, including the presence of swarms, is a critical first step in termite prevention.

When dealing with termite swarms, several questions are posed: When is swarming season? Where should I look for swarms? Can these swarms cause damage? Why are they swarming? How can I prevent them?

When Is Swarming Season?

This question depends on what type of termite you are dealing with. Subterranean termites begin their swarming season in the spring, usually during daylight hours. Drywood termites, on the other hand, don’t swarm until late summer and early fall. Dampwood termites tend to swarm during the summer months. The weather also plays a factor into when termites will swarm. Each species has its own set of conditions that are ideal for swarming but most of them will start the day after a rainstorm when the weather is still overcast and there is little to no wind.

Where Should I Look For Swarms?

While termite swarms can be found both indoors and outdoors, they cannot survive indoors because of the lack of soil in which to colonize. Swarming termites can be found anywhere termites colonize. If they do make their way indoors, they can often be found near windows and light fixtures as they are attracted to the light.

Can These Swarms Cause Damage?

Termite swarms themselves usually do not cause damage. Swarming termites cannot bite, sting, or chew. As termites get ready to swarm, they make a tube which they use to launch. When conditions are ideal, they use the tube to launch themselves. After a brief flight of only a few seconds, the termites land and break their wings away from their bodies and pair with a mate. Those pairs that survive then create a chamber underground that they use to breed and the new colony is formed. Swarm launches are usually spread out over a few days with a large release on the first day and smaller launches on subsequent days. Termite swarms can indicate the presence of an existing colony nearby so while the swarmers themselves may not cause damage, the nearby colony can.

Why Are They Swarming?

The primary purpose of termite swarms is reproduction and expansion of the colony. When the original termite colony reaches capacity and needs to expand then the swarming process begins, usually occurring once per year. The number of termites in each swarm varies depending on which type of termite species is swarming and the size of the colony.

How Can I Prevent Them?

In order to prevent termite swarms, one must prevent termite colonies from establishing nearby. Prevent termites by:

  1. Getting rid of water sources by eliminating or reducing standing water around your home.
  2. Repairing any leaky faucets, pipes, and air conditioners.
  3. Diverting water away from your house with properly functioning spouts, splash blocks, and gutters that are clear of debris.
  4. Repairing and replacing damaged roof shingles, fascia and soffits on your house.
  5. Replacing weatherstripping on doors and windows.
  6. Routinely inspecting foundations for loose mortar, uneven or bubbling paint, wood that sounds hollow when you tap it, and for the presence of mud tubes which termites use to reach food.
  7. Regularly inspecting wood in and around your home for noticeable changes, making sure to check windows, doors, and skirting.
  8. Making sure there is at least an 18″ gap between the soil and the wood portions of your home.
  9. When storing items in the attic or basement, using plastic storage containers and metal shelving instead of cardboard or wood.
  10. During swarming season, keeping doors and windows shut as much as possible. Keep outdoor lights turned off at night also, as they will attract swarming termites.
  11. Keeping firewood stored at least 20 feet away from your home and elevated off the ground.
  12. Keeping plants a few feet away from your home.
  13. Making sure there is at least a 4″ barrier between your mulch and the side of your home. You can also use mulch made of rubber, plastic, or gravel.
  14. Removing any tree stumps from your property.
  15. Scheduling an annual termite inspection of your home and property to help detect termite problems early before they can cause significant damage.

Because a termite swarm indicates a nearby colony, homeowners should take precaution when one is spotted nearby. If you suspect you have a termite infestation, contact a professional pest control company who can inspect your property and set up a termite control plan.

 

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Termites: Prevent Before They Infest!

Termites: Prevent Before They Infest!

Termites cause costly and considerable damage to homes and property each year. These pests are known to go undetected for some time, making it more challenging to eliminate them. It’s necessary to know the warning signs of termites and how to prevent them from infesting your home.

Termites need water to survive. They will seek moist, wet areas inside or around your home to build a new colony site and utilize the water to survive. Eliminating unnecessary moisture both inside and outside of your home is a great start to termite prevention. Storm drains should always be directed away from your house, draining at least a few feet from the foundation. Inside, ensure that there are no leaky faucets or water pipes. If there are leaks, fix them as soon as possible. If your home has a crawlspace, consider investing in a crawlspace enclosure which will help eliminate moisture under the house while also preventing mold, wood rot, and other pests.

In addition to searching for water, termites also search for wood. If there is any exposed wood around your house that is easily accessible to termites, they will find it and destroy it. Reducing soil-to-wood contact around your home is essential in preventing them. Get rid of any lumber, mulch, plants, or other wood items that are around your foundation. If you do want to use mulch for landscape purposes, keep at least a 4-inch barrier between the mulch and the side of your home. Always clean up and get rid of fallen branches, dead wood, or old tree stumps throughout your property.

Termites can be extremely difficult to detect, prevent, and eliminate once they are established. If you suspect or discover that you have a termite problem, or even want to get ahead of the prevention game, contact a professional pest control company who can set you up with annual termite inspections and even a termite control plan.

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