You see it fairly frequently while driving through Southwest Florida communities… houses with the huge tents covering them and hazard signs warning you to stay away. I admit it’s a little unsettling at first. Little red flags pop up in my head as I murmur “that’s not good.”
But really, it is good! The homeowner is taking care of what’s actually a common pest problem in Southwest Florida homes – termites or wood destroying organisms as they are referred to.
Two Types of Termites
In Southwest Florida, there are two common types of termites, subterranean and drywood. Subterranean termites nest in the ground and use mud tubes to tunnel into your home, whereas dry wood termites nest in the wood and infest your home by air.
Subterranean termites, especially the Formosan kind are the most destructive. These colonies can grow upwards of 1 million termites and extend up to 3,000 feet. Yikes.
Why My House?
No, your house is not condemned or dirty just because you have termites. In fact, the home Jim and I purchase on island had to be tented prior to us moving in. It didn’t make it any less of a home in our eyes, because we understood that termites are a common problem that any home with a piece of wood is susceptible to.
Concrete Homes Can’t Get Termites
You would think that a home with a concrete foundation wouldn’t be susceptible to termites. But, it only takes a little crack in the foundation, or opening left near a pipe for termites to enter your home and attack the drywall, flooring and other wood in your home.
Two Common Treatments
Alright, so how to do you treat a home with termites?
Tent Fumigation – This is the one we mentioned, where a huge tent covers your entire home and is fumigated with hazardous gas to get rid of the termites. This obviously calls for you to remove any pets and family members during the process, which typically takes 24 to 72 hours to complete.
Injection – For special cases where dry wood termites are known to be in a specific area, having termiticides injected directly into the wood is another method of treatment.
Prevention: Most of our local pest services offer a preventative treatment sprayed or injected into the soil around the perimeter of your home. It’s also wise to have your provider do a periodic inspection of your home to detect any signs of termites before they spread rapidly and become a larger problem.
While termites themselves are not harmful to your pets, the treatment process certainly can be. That’s why it’s important to hire a professional termite company for the job. While some do-it-yourself termite treatments might claim they are safe for pets, you should be careful in using them in areas where your pets frequent regularly.
That’s the skinny on termites! There’s plenty of more information out there regarding the types of termites, how to tell the differences, the treatment options and cost of treatment.
Feel free to reach out to us for recommendations on what companies our clients have used in the past.