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Termite Identification Guide | Westfall's Lawn Care and Pest Control


Termites are destructive pests that thrive in Florida. Use our pest guide to learn about termites, including the types of termites in our area, what attracts them, and how Westfall's Lawn and Pest can remove them from your property!

Termites are wood-eating insects that thrive in Florida. When you call Florida home, it is never a question of whether termites will find their way to your property but when!

Termites are fascinating insects that have lived on earth for millennia. To help you learn more about these pests, we have compiled a list of interesting termite facts.

  • There are approximately 45 species of termites in the U.S. and more than 2,300 species worldwide.
  • Termites are social insects that live in colonies with caste systems, which means termites have different social classes based on their roles and responsibilities.
  • The termite caste system has three levels — reproductives, workers, and soldiers.
  • Worker and soldier termites are blind. Only termites that have become fully mature and reproductive termites develop eyes.
  • Since termites live in dark places and many of them are blind, termites communicate through pheromones (chemical signals) and vibrations caused by head-banging.
  • Termites build the largest nests of any insect.
  • Termites cannot "eat" wood without help from single-cell organisms in their guts that aid them in digesting cellulose (wood).
  • Ants are the termite's main predators. Ants can attack termite colonies or termite workers looking for food.
  • In the U.S., subterranean termites cause more damage than drywood and dampwood termites. Formosan termites, a subterranean termite species, are responsible for the most significant amount of damage in the U.S.
  • Very large and architecturally impressive termite mounds in Australia and Africa have become tourist attractions.

Florida is home to several types of termites; subterranean, drywood, dampwood, and Formosan. Working with a professional to identify the termites on your property is key to effective termite removal. Each termite species has unique behaviors, nesting habits, and preferred food sources. 

Termites are not a pest that causes direct harm to people, but they do cause costly damage to our properties. They are known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper and remain undetected. Each year, termites cause more than five billion in property damage repairs – costs not covered by homeowners' insurance.

Avoiding termite damage is best accomplished by proactively partnering with a local pest control company. Through regular termite inspections, professionals can identify a termite problem and eliminate the infestation before they cause extensive damage. 

Termites generally become a problem on our properties after they build a new colony there or on a neighboring property. When the worker termites leave the nest to forage for food, wooden structures in your yard or home could become their new foraging sites. Once termites find an appropriate food source, they will return daily.

Termite swarms occur when winged reproductive termites swarm from a mature termite colony. They will look for a mate, drop their wings, and find a suitable place to build a new nest. Unfortunately, their new nest could be in your yard or house.

Termite swarms are most likely to occur in the early spring. Finding winged termites crawling around your home's exterior or interior walls or finding piles of their wings on your property are signs you need to reach out for immediate help.

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites have high moisture needs. They live and feed in areas with damp soil. They prefer to invade and feed on pieces of wood inside and outside our homes damaged by water or decaying.

Wood in our homes near windowsills, water pipes, air conditioners, or other areas where there is moisture present is most likely to be invaded by these termites. Subterranean termites are the most widespread group in the country and the most likely species to discover inside our homes.

Formosan Termites

Formosan termites are subterranean termites that can nest either in the ground or above the ground. They maintain their high moisture needs when nesting above the ground by building unique carton nests. Formosan termites usually build carton nests on flat roofs or between wall voids. Their ability to nest in multiple locations makes controlling these termites difficult. 

Drywood Termites

Drywood termites are efficient feeders that, despite living in smaller colonies than other species of termites, can cause significant damage due to their feeding habits. They will feed on a piece of wood until nothing is left but a thin exterior shell. These termites prefer to nest in dry pieces of wood.

Unlike other species of termites, drywood termites nest within the wood they are feeding on. Wooden furniture, lumber, wood flooring, and wood trim can provide drywood termites with nesting sites and food sources.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites prefer to live and feed outside; these termites are less likely to wind up in our homes. Dampwood termites have extremely high moisture needs and like to nest and feed on wet and decaying wood. Logs, tree stumps, dead trees, old fence posts, and utility poles commonly become infested with dampwood termites. 

If termites have found their way to your Bradenton property, don't try to tackle the infestation on your own. Termites are challenging pests to control and eliminate and require the experience of a professional.

Contact Westfall's Lawn and Pest for termite control near you to address the infestation; we can recommend a course of action for proper termite control. We are a local pest control company serving customers in the Bradenton area since 2001.

Termites in Florida live all around us, and preventing problems with these pests can be tricky. In conjunction with professional pest control services, try making the following changes around your property to make it less inviting to termites:

  • Create a crushed stone barrier between mulch or soil in your foundation.
  • If possible, replace wood mulch with rubber mulch or another non-organic material.
  • Make sure your yard has good drainage and remove areas of excess moisture. 
  • Remove old fencing, construction debris, woodpiles, and fallen trees from your property.
  • Inspect your home's exterior and use silicone caulk to seal any cracks you discover, and place mesh screens over vents and chimneys.

For more information about termite control in Florida, please reach out to us at Westfall's Lawn and Pest today!

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