Time to Look for Termite Infestations

By Respess, Susan P. | The Florida Times Union, February 20, 1999 | Go to article overview

Time to Look for Termite Infestations


Respess, Susan P., The Florida Times Union


Ah, spring. . . . Yikes, termites!

It's the one harbinger of spring that most homeowners hate to see. The termite that's been munching away in your stack of firewood, or eating you out of house and home from the frame up is probably on the move.

Pest control companies say spring, when the insects begin swarming, is the best time to look for termite infestation. Because of the mild winter, termites may be swarming soon in your house, especially near light sources.

The swarming, according to Massey Services, an Orlando-based company, is triggered by humidity and temperature, and it signals the insects' move from the ground below and around homes to the outside.

The swarmers, who often come out of their established colonies after a rain, are the winged reproductive termites. They are looking for mates and new colony sites, said David Cooksey of McCall Service in Jacksonville.

Termites, which are active year-round, chewed through enough wood in 1998 to cause more than $1.1 billion in damage to U.S. homes, said Orkin Pest Control. As a result, Orkin ranked Miami the worst-hit in the nation among the top 10 termite-infested cities. No. 3 is Tampa and No. 5 is Orlando. Atlanta made it to the top 10 at No. 9.

Any time termite swarming or other termite signs occur, pest control companies said, you immediately should call the company with whom you have a contract and ask for an inspection and possible retreatment.

If you have no contract, call several companies and compare what they offer in terms of guarantees, inspections, retreatments and coverage for termitedamage repair costs. Also, find out how the contract can be canceled. Some contracts allow the company to cancel, leaving your home unprotected.

Here are tips from pest control companies McCall, Orkin and Terminix on sightings:

Look for wings or sawdust near windows, doors and in the garage, and also around heating vents and in bathtubs or sinks. Indoor swarmers are trying to get outside, and they may head toward light around windows or doors. Close off the room, vacuum them up and try to determine from where they are emerging. …

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