Inspections, Termites, Uncategorized

Termites: Why they’re Dangerous

Termite inspection

A termite inspection is a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of a home for evidence of wood-destroying insects or organisms. Our inspectors will visually inspect the entire interior of your home including entering crawlspaces, attics and the exterior of the property. After the inspection has been performed, the findings are reported on the current WDO report form from the State of Florida DACS 13645. A termite inspection can be performed by itself or combined with any other inspection. Please call our office for further details. JT Property Inspections and Service Incorporated Inspectors are all certified to perform termite inspections. You can order a termite inspection individually or include it with any other inspection.

Termite damage and cost

Termites have lived on Earth for more than 250 million years. While termites can be helpful in breaking down rotting wood in the environment, these wood-destroying insects also can cause extensive damage to homes. Sometimes called “silent destroyers,” termites may leave few signs of activity as they steadily consume wood and sheetrock paper in the walls, ceilings and floors of homes. Experts estimate that termites damage more than 600,000 homes in the United States annually. In fact, termites cause more damage to U.S. homes each year more than tornadoes, hurricanes, wind and hail storms combined. Unlike weather-related damage, termite damage is not covered by homeowners insurance. Each year, U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion to control termites and repair termite damage. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), control methods and repairs for damage caused by Formosan termites – the most destructive species of subterranean termite – account for more than $1 billion of this total.

Types of termites common to South Florida

There are about 45 different kinds of species of termites found in the U.S., each of which falls into one of the three main termite types – drywood, subterranean and dampwood. Each species has unique biology and behavior that impact what part of the country they live in, where they build their nests and their likelihood to damage homes. Below is a list of the most common termite found in South Florida.

Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites Found mostly in southern and western states, the drywood termite species in the US do not need contact with the soil and need relatively little moisture compared to the subterranean termite species. Dry-wood termite colonies are usually smaller than subterranean colonies.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean Termites Subterranean termites are named for the fact that they live underground in nature. This cryptic nature is due to this termite’s need for moisture and inability to survive in dry air. There are several species of subterranean termites from the natives to the dreaded Formosan subterranean termite.

Florida Damp-wood Termite

Florida Damp-wood Termite The Florida damp-wood termite, Neotermes castaneus, prefers wetter wood and is not a pest of significant economic importance. Usually this termite can be controlled by removing the wet wood or drying the wood but in certain cases, a localized control program is required.

Formosan Termite

Formosan Termite The Formosan subterranean termite is a voracious termite that can establish huge populations quickly. Fortunately, it is found only in certain warm areas but it is spreading. The Formosan termite is not native to the US but causes more damage per colony than any other termite.

Powder Post Beetles

Powder Post Beetles Lyctus planicollis aka powder post beetles is a wood-boring beetle in the family Bostrichidae (formerly in the family Lyctidae, which is now a subfamily of Bostrichidae), commonly known as the southern lyctus beetle or lyctid powderpost beetle. It is a serious pest of hardwoods including ash, hickory, oak, maple and mahogany and can infest many products in the home including hardwood flooring and structural timbers, plywood, furniture, tool handles, picture frames, baskets and ladders. Timber can be infested in one location and then be transported large distances by ship, after which the beetles can emerge and spread the infestation to new areas

Old House Borers

Old House Borers The old-house borer, or house longhorn beetle, (Hylotrupes bajulus) is a species of wood-boring beetle in the family Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles) and is the only Cerambycidae beetle that re-infests the same wood that it emerged from. Contrary to its name, it is more often found in new houses; this is in part because new home construction may use wood infected with the beetle’s eggs if the wood is not properly kiln-dried in production but is mostly due to the beetles need for the higher resin content found in wood less than 10 years old. Originating in Europe, the old-house borer now has a worldwide distribution, including the Mediterranean, South Africa, Asia, USA and Canada. Recently it has been found in Perth, Australia. In Australia, it is known as the European House Borer. Old-house borers prefer new softwoods, and particularly pine. Only the larvae feed on the wood. Larvae take up to thirty years to mature, depending on the moisture content of the wood and environmental conditions but typically mature in three to fifteen years, damaging the wood in the interim. Larvae usually mature in mid to late summer (July–August in the northern hemisphere), and the mature adults then cut large oval shaped exit holes 6–10 mm (¼ to 3/8 in) in diameter to exit the wood, leaving a course powdery frass around the vicinity of the hole. Adults are most active in the summer. They are black or brown with grayish “hair” on their upper bodies and wing cases. They have shiny spots that resemble eyes.