Termites have been around for over 250 million years. They are social insects and live in colonies which are usually located in the ground or in wood. These colonies contain castes or groups of individuals who share the same body form and job description. The common castes are workers, soldiers, swarmers, or secondary reproductives. Each has a purpose and job responsibility in the colony. Workers maintain the colony, soldiers protect the colony from other insects such as ants, and the reproductive’s, including the queen, are responsible for reproducing more termites to maintain the colony. A successful colony’s queen may live to more than 30 years. New colonies are formed by either a founding pair of reproductive swarmers or by isolation of a portion of a large colony. After the swarming flight, mated queens lay few eggs the first year, as few as 22.
Most termites feed on cellulose from wood and wood by products such as paper; some tropical species feed on fungi, carrion, etc. They are worldwide in distribution with about 2,500 described species, about 50 of which are found in the United States.
The question is often asked as to how many years are required before a newly constructed building will show signs of a termite infestation. If a colony is started by a pair of termites swarmers at the time of construction, at least 3 or 4 years are required before even a few swarmers will be produced. Evidence of damage may take longer. However, if the structure is built over or close to a strong existing colony of termites, hundreds of swarmers may appear within a year and substantial damage might be noticed within a year.
Termites are usually divided into 3 groups based on the location of their colony: the subterranean, the Drywood, and the dampwood termites.
It is necessary to know which termite group is causing the problem because each group is quite different biologically and therefore requires different control methods.
The University of Florida has found that 2/3 of all Florida homes can have a termite infestation within 5 years after being built because of chemical barrier failure. Dr. Phil Kohler, of The University of Florida says: “It’s NOT if your home will get termites but WHEN it will get termites”. He also states: “We live in a sea of termites here in Florida. Virtually all areas of Florida have termites.” There are two problems to understand, the first is just mentioned above with building over an existing colony. The other is that since1987 the government canceled the use of all long term liquid termite and insect controlling materials, such as Chlordane, to protect your home. Those liquid materials would protect a structure for many years, even 10’s of years to come. The liquid materials we now have to protect your home will only last a few years, maybe if weather conditions do not interfere, 5 to 7 years, IF APPLIED PROPERLY! Unfortunately, there are many pest control operators and contractors that DO NOT follow the proper application procedures. If these application procedures are not followed exactly, the protection to your home will be even shortened or non-existent in less than the 5 to 7 years for liquid pre-treatment termite service.
If your home is older than 5 years and you have not had your home retreated with a liquid termite treatment or you do not have an inground termite baiting system, your home is at risk for a termite infestation. This does not mean you have a termite infestation currently, it is just at risk because there is no protection in the ground to keep the termites away from your home.
It is very important that if you own a home in this area, you have that home inspected yearly for any termite infestations. This will give you the peace of mind and assurance to know that you will not have any costly surprises arise from hidden termite damage. As you have read above, termites can hide for years before being noticed, or they can be active almost immediately with existing colonies near your home.
The solution is to have Collier Pest control come to your home with our state certified termite inspector and provide a free inspection, offer helpful information and show you the long term solution to how to protect your home with our affordable in-ground termite interception and baiting system by Exterra. If you are not going to own your home for a long period of time to come, we then suggest a liquid termite treatment with only 5 to 7 years of protection.
Call Collier Pest control today for a free estimate and full explanation on any of our services. Don’t let unwanted pests spoil your beautiful Southwest Florida lifestyle. Remember, Florida does not have to be shared with insects!