How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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When do termites swarm in Florida?

Sunday, July 15, 2018

There are two types of termites that can damage your home: subterranean and drywood. Subterranean termites live in the soil, are water-dependent, and build mud tubes up into the structure. The are the more aggressively destructive than drywoods and usually swarm from mid-December to mid-May, in the morning and often when the ground is moist after a rain. Peak activity is in February and March.

    Drywood termites do not need a water source and live in the wood inside the walls and attic of your home. They typically swarm from April to July, usually in the early evening.

    When there is an active infestation in your home and they swarm inside the structure, it can be a a horrifying event, with thousands of what appear to be small flying ants covering a room. The best way to avoid a termite invasion is to eliminate conditions that make it easy for termites to reach the two things they need—wood (cellulose) with moisture nearby—in your home.

    If you look closely at a winged swarmer, you can determine if it is a termite or ant by the shape of their body. Ants have a narrow waist between body segments and termites do not. Termites have straight antennae, and ants have angled antennae.

    Here’s some suggestions from the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension for keeping termites away:

  •  Building woodwork such as wood-siding should be a minimum of 6 inches above ground to prevent wood-to-ground contact.
  •  Any wood that contacts soil such as fence posts, deck poles, or other foundation structures should be commercially pressure treated and should not contact the house.
  •  Adjust sprinklers so they do not spray directly onto the structure.
  •  Channel all gutter down-spouts at least 2 feet away from the foundation of the home.
  •  Landscape plants should not be placed within 2 feet of the foundation.
  •  Remove old stumps, roots, downed branches, and other decaying vegetation from around the structure.
  •  Store firewood and excess building materials off of the ground and away from the house.

    Also, see our blog posts Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? and Do termites eat concrete?  

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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?

How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? 

Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?

How do I treat wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report? 

Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection? 

What's causing those holes in the fascia?

Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection? 

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

   Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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