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Subterranean Termites: The Most Common Termites in the Greater Tampa Bay Area

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Subterranean Termites are the most common and economically important wood destroying insects in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties. Subterranean Termites live in the soil, they make and move through tunnels in the soil to get cellulose, predominantly dead wood. This Termite prefers a moist environment to thrive.

What Structures Are At Risk?

Any structure that has wood in it, on it or attached to it, is at risk of having Subterranean Termites. This typically includes the structural timbers in building, flooring, trim wood, window frames, door frames, stored books, paper, boxes and any other cellulose containing items.

Will I Know If I Have Subterranean Termites?

termitesBecause of their obscure nature, infestations of Subterranean Termites are usually not visible. The surest signs of Subterranean Termites in a structure are the presence of swarming winged Subterranean Termites (called alates) occurring in structures. They may also be discovered by the presence of mud tubes and/or damaged wood.

Exterminating Subterranean Termites in the Greater Tampa Bay Area

How Are Subterranean Termites Typically Controlled?

Prevention: A critical aspect of Subterranean Termite management. Prevention centers upon disrupting their ability to locate moisture and wood.

1. Landscape plants, wood mulch and irrigation should not be placed within two feet of the foundation wall.

2. Avoid moisture accumulation near the foundation such as leaky plumbing and/or air conditioning condensation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Soil needs to be graded or sloped away from the foundation in order for surface water to drain away from the building.

3. There should be no contact between the building woodwork and the soil. Exterior woodwork should be a minimum of 6 inches above the ground. Never stack or store firewood, lumber or other wood products against the building.

4. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber; be sure to remove wooden form boards; grade stakes used during construction. Remove stumps and roots around a building. Prevent trellises, vines, etc . from touching the building.

Soil Barrier Treatment in Greater Tampa Bay Area

Treating the soil alongside the foundation with liquid termiticides has long been the traditional and preferred method for underground termite management. The goal is to place a continuous pesticide barrier between termites and the structure to be protected. There are two types of termiticides, repellent and non-repellent.

Bait Monitoring Systems in the Greater Tampa Bay Area

Soil bait monitoring stations are inserted into the ground around a structure and in areas where Subterranean Termites are likely to be active. Soil bait monitoring stations at first contain untreated cellulose material that works as a food source in the monitoring device. Once Subterranean Termites find and feed in the monitor a cellulose material with a toxicant is also placed in the monitor for the Subterranean Termites to continue feeding on. It is extremely important that in soil bait monitoring systems be properly set up and carefully inspected to be effective in below ground termite management.

In most cases baits work much more slowly than soil barrier treatments and the customer should be aware of the possibility of a lengthy baiting process. An often cited advantage of Subterranean Termite bait is that they are “environmentally-friendly” because they use very small quantities of pesticides and decrease the potential for contamination. Furthermore, bait monitoring systems can be used around structures with nearby bodies of water, wells, cisterns, sub-slab heating ducts and other features that may preclude a soil treatment.  These methods are ideal for termite control in the Greater Tampa Bay Area.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Subterranean Termites?

If a Subterranean Termite infestation is suspected in your home or business, a thorough examination of the structure should be conducted by Alternative Pest Management. The results of the inspection will dictate the best treatment option/s as no single control method is best for all situations.  We are experts at dealing with underground termites.  We have exterminated termites everywhere from Tampa to St. Petersburg and everywhere in between.

The State of Florida, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a publication called “Protecting Yourself and Your Property Against Subterranean Termites” take a look at:

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