It turns out the warm, sunny weather of Ft. Lauderdale isn’t just appealing to us as humans. The warmth and humidity make Ft. Lauderdale an optimal environment for termites as well. Termites prefer temperatures of 75-95℉ and the average temperatures of Ft. Lauderdale often fall within that range. Though we can understand their preference for the warmth, this shared affinity doesn’t come as good news for Ft. Lauderdale residents.
Compared to the rest of the United States, the diversity and presence of termites are more widespread in Florida. 21 different species of termites exist within the state, at least six of which are invasive by nature. This puts Florida at the top of the list of states with the most invasive species.
According to the University of Florida, the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area is the only place in the continental United States where populations of Asian and Formosan termites are concurrently present. Due to a high level of human activity and the optimal tropical climate, termites thrive in Florida. See the following map, created by the University of Florida, for an in-depth look at termite distribution in Florida:
Ft. Lauderdale termite damage
Ft. Lauderdale District Manager, Christopher Gibbs, weighed in on the prevalence of termites in the area. “Over the course of last year in 2017, we have seen a significant increase in Drywood Termite infestations throughout South Florida and even more Formosan Termite related calls which are particularly destructive and troublesome to both home and business owners.”
Entomologists at the University of Florida predict an expansion in termite activity. They further foresee a risk of subterranean termite infestation for half of the structures in South Florida by 2040. If you have a crawlspace or basement, your home could be at an even higher risk for subterranean termites, as subterranean termites often begin their infestation underground as their name suggests.
Termites are similar in size to ants, but they do not have a segmented waist. Both termite swarmers and soldiers have straight antennae extending from their heads, but soldiers also have mandibles that help them chew through wood. Workers and soldiers are a creamy color except for a darker head, and neither have eyes or wings. Swarmers can range in color from a pale yellow to black and have both eyes and wings.
Most common termite species in Southwest Florida
Drywood termites, again as their name suggests, live in wood with a moisture content at or below 12%. These termites are slow all around. They do not reproduce quickly, and their short legs do not allow them to move as quickly as subterranean termites. A colony might take up to five years to develop. A telltale sign that you might have drywood termites is piles of termite feces, or frass, accumulating near wood. Often, they can be found in attics, as they do not require being in close proximity to the ground.
Subterranean termites are the most common type of termite found in homes. Their colonies are large in number, but due to their affinity for spring wood, they often leave the grain and surface of wood intact and can, therefore, be difficult to detect. These termites live underground and build tunnels to food sources. Their saw-like jaws make it easy for them to consume wood 24/7.
The Formosan termite, a subterranean variation, is a common pest in Ft. Lauderdale. This species is typically more aggressive than other subterranean species. A Formosan colony eats an average of 31 grams of wood each day, but larger colonies may consume even more. In only six months, Formosan termites can cause significant structural damage. Additionally, these termites often chew through the insulation covering of cables, causing power outages.
Dampwood termites are most common in the Pacific states, meaning they aren’t often a pest we see in Ft. Lauderdale. As you might guess from their name, dampwood termites take up residence in damp, decaying wood. They do not require soil contact, so any wood with a constant moisture source is susceptible to the dampwood termite.
Do I have termites?
Termites often chew through the under layers of wood, leaving the surface intact and making them difficult to detect. That being said, there are some signs you can look for to determine whether or not you have termites. Here are some of the most common:
- Mud tubes forming on exterior of home (termites use these tubes to find a food source)
- Wood that sounds hollow when tapped upon
- Darkening or blistering wood
- Small piles of feces near walls or wood furniture (these will resemble sawdust or coffee grounds)
- Discarded wings near doors or on window sills from termite swarmers
Preventing termites in Ft. Lauderdale
Because termite damage is considered avoidable, able to be prevented by routine maintenance, home insurance traditionally does not cover it. Termites cause over $5 billion in damages to the property each year, so prevention should not be taken lightly. Regular inspections by an Ehrlich pest specialist can ensure that your home stays termite-free. In addition to routine inspections, check out our tips that will help reduce the possibility of a termite infestation in your home or business.
Gibbs assures Ft. Lauderdale residents, “As a full-service Pest Control Provider we are able to address all termite related issues through our highly tenured Termite Inspection Team and Service Team including our dedicated termite specialists and fumigation team.” Early detection is the best case scenario for a termite infestation. The sooner we are able to identify termites, the sooner we can work to eliminate them and minimize the damage they cause. Ehrlich provides free inspections to property owners and our termite control services are covered by our Termite Warranty. Ehrlich Pest Control is the best option in your quest for peace of mind.
Our Ft. Lauderdale team is the area’s top experts in termite control. If you suspect that you have a termite infestation, don’t waste any time. Contact us today.