Category Archives: Termites

Termites Are Swarming: What You Need To Know!

As we move further into spring and eventually transition into the summer months, termite activity will increase in the form of termite swarms. Unfortunately, the presence of swarms does not mean that termites are just now showing up in your immediate environment. Often referred to as “the silent destroyer” termites are generally present throughout the year, but homeowners may only be aware of them once the swarms are visible. An infestation may already exist been taking place, potentially causing damage to your home.

What Is a Termite Swarm?

Termites
Termites can enter the structure of your home and remain undetected for extended periods of time. Subterranean termites are especially skilled at creating mud tunnels that twist and wind their way through your house. These tunnels allow colonies to gain access to your home, where they can grow and develop over time.

As the colonies grow and become over crowded, or if there is a shortage of food, the laws of nature dictate that it is time to find new areas to colonize, essentially forcing the displacement of many of these termites. These mature colonies will produce reproductive termites that are winged, enabling them to fly and seek out other spaces to inhabit. These “swarmers” or winged termites, can often be confused with flying ants, or even mosquitoes to the untrained eye.

Although the primary responsibility of termite swarmers is to reproduce and create new colonies, many will not survive as they may fall victim to other predators or the elements. This may account for the vast numbers that leave the colony all at once, giving a good indication of the size and development of the colony.

When and Where Termites Swarm

Termite
Swarmers will leave the colonies in large droves, and prefer to fly on warm days. The warm weather makes the spring season the optimal time for this to occur with peak periods between May and June. Certain types of termites are more prone to swarming during the day while others will swarm at night.

With indoor termite swarms, worker termites will create small, exit holes in door or window frames, baseboards, walls or any wooden structure. This allows the swarmers to exit and continue on their search for livable space. Swarmers typically gravitate toward windows or doors where light comes in, if they are unsuccessful in reaching the outdoors they will die within hours. Homeowners may notice small piles of insects or sometimes just their wings, around the window sills or furniture.

For swarms occurring outside, homeowners will observe large clusters of small, winged termites with swarming time lasting about 30 minutes in any one location.

Signs of Infestation

Observing the evidence of a termite swarm both indoors or outdoors should prompt homeowners to look for additional signs of a termite infestation. Since these low profile insects will work inside wood or underground, they are not always easy to spot. In other instances, termites can leave behind obvious signs that they have been inhabiting a space for quite some time.

Common signs of termite infestations:

  • Discarded wings- after a termite swarm, swarmers will shed their wings after taking flight
  • Fecal Matter –Small piles of fecal matter may be left behind, particularly by Drywood termites.
  • Mud tubes – made from wood and soil, subterranean termites are experts at tunneling their way into your home through mud tubes, designed to protect them and provide ease of entry.
  • Wood damage- although internal wood damage caused by termites goes unnoticed until it has progressed to a more destructive level , keeping an eye on visible areas of the home that are made of wood, can be helpful for early detection.

Termite Tips

Homeowners are encouraged to be aware and observant of evidence of termites in order to catch any brewing infestations. :

  • Annual Inspection by a state-licensed termite inspector will look for signs of previous and active infestations as well as conditions conducive for new infestations
  • Taking careful note of the evidence from an indoor termite swarm (such as broken termite wings near window sills or doorways) can be useful in determining where the infestation may be lurking.
  • As in the case of older homes, knowing the history of the home, including previous termite problems, is helpful in keeping a professional termite inspection top of mind.
  • Any additional structure built onto the house requires special attention. Termites can use the gaps and spaces in between concrete pads to travel and set up their colonies.
  • Mud tunnels found on the exterior walls of the home are also a good indication that an infestation is nearby.

Termites are currently swarming now in Southwest and Central Florida as well as throughout Arizona. Contact your Truly Nolen termite expert as soon as possible to schedule a thorough inspection to accurately identify the type of termite at hand, as well as the most effective treatment application needed.

Accurately identifying and treating a termite infestation is best handled by a trained and licensed termite professional. Your Truly Nolen professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan SM, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites under a single contract. Call Truly Nolen today to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free!

Spring into Swarms: Prepare your Atlanta Home for Termite Season

Spring time in Atlanta, Georgia is truly the ideal time of the year to enjoy the many outdoor activities that the city has to offer. Warm sunshine and cool breeze invigorates the whole city and breathes new life into nature. Although this great weather can encourage homeowners to spend most of their days out of the house, it is important to remember that while you are out and about, pest problems may be lurking on the inside of your home.

Termite swarm
While pest control should be addressed 365 days of the year, changes in the seasons means that different pests can be more active during one season and more dormant during others. In the case of termites, spring is the optimal time for them to swarm and infest new areas. Properly preparing your home to prevent termite damage is key to weathering the swarm. Truly Nolen of West Atlanta, GA outlines special concerns for Atlanta homes, paying close attention to areas in the home more susceptible to damage such as crawl spaces, attics, basements, chimneys and any wooden structure that may be attached to, or near to your home.

Why Do Termites Swarm?

Found throughout most of the United States, termites are particularly prevalent in the South East, with Atlanta claiming one of the top hot spots for termite infestations. In particular, subterranean termites are the most common type, making a name for themselves in many Atlanta homes. Drawn to moisture, subterranean termites will build their nests in wet wood, as well as underground, hence the name “subterranean.” Winding their way through tunnels in the soil, subterranean termites are on the search for wooden structures in any form, as this contains cellulose, which is the primary basis of their diet. Trees, decaying woods, branches and other wood elements don’t stand a chance against these voracious eaters. Unfortunately, many of these wooden elements can also be found near to or attached to your home, making them the perfect gateway for termites to enter.

Should termites find their way into your home and establish their colonies, there will come a time when these colonies will become overcrowded or these termites will be on the search for new areas to inhabit. When this happens, “swarmers” or winged termites will emerge and swarm, indicating the start of the termite reproductive cycle. These swarmers have the primary responsibility of taking flight in order to reproduce, in turn creating new colonies away from its current environment.

Areas of Concern in Atlanta Homes & How to Prepare

With much of Atlanta surrounded heavily by trees, combined with the wooden architecture and construction design elements of most Atlanta homes, there are many opportunities for these wood destroying insects to enter the home and wreak havoc. Termite infestations can be a tremendous financial drainage for homeowners who are not aware of a problem until it is too late. This is also a consideration for those wishing to buy or sell their properties, as undiscovered termite problems can damage property values and affect pending transactions.

Residents in Atlanta are advised to be particularly aware of certain areas in the home that are more prone to termite infestations. By being cognizant of these areas, homeowners can be proactive in scheduling regular inspections from a trained Truly Nolen pest control expert. In addition, homeowners can also take steps to help deter termites from wreaking havoc in their home.

Areas that are susceptible to termite damage include:

  • Crawl Spaces – Construction elements that are found in crawl spaces can be cellulose in nature, thus providing ample bait for termites to forage. Also, crawl spaces are prone to excessive moisture if not properly ventilated, making them an ideal environment for termites to flourish.
    How to Prepare: Ensure that all crawl spaces are inspected for insufficient ventilation, being sure to address this sooner than later. Proper ventilation decreases the humidity factor, where termites tend to thrive.
  • Basements – Close to the ground, basements can serve as an entry point for termites due to issues with moisture and its proximity to the soil.
    How to prepare: Ensure that all window frames or doorways in the basement are properly sealed and caulked. Proper insulation, as well as maintaining adequate temperatures allow for less moisture in the air and can also deter termites.
  • Chimneys – With chimneys having a direct route to the exterior of the home, as well as the presence of chopped firewood, termites can find their way inside.
    How to prepare: Routinely check firewood for signs of termites and store at least 20 feet away from the house if possible.
  • Attics – Old, wooden exposed beams in the attic can provide the perfect place for termites to get their fill.
    How to prepare: For older homes in particular, a professional attic inspection can reveal any signs of damaged or rotting beams that may be in need of repair.
  • Porches/Decks – Generally constructed of wood, termites are notorious for doing damage as exposed porches and decks are prone to weathering from natural elements such as rain or snow.
    How to prepare: Regularly apply protecting sealants to help keep moisture from infiltrating the wood. This will ensure that your deck lasts longer, as well as provide a barrier between the wood and water, keeping termites at bay.
  • Wooden sheds –Outdoor wooden sheds can find themselves under attack since they are prone to getting wet.
    How to prepare: At the first sign of rotting wood, replace or repair the damaged area to avoid giving termites an easy meal. Applying insecticide, or painting the exterior of the shed can also help discourage termites.
  • Wooden siding- With cracks and creases to hide in, wooden siding is often a source of termite infestation in most Atlanta homes.
    How to prepare: Ideally, siding should start at a minimum of 6 inches from the ground to avoid wood to soil contact.
  • Wooden fencing – In direct contact with the soil, untreated wooden fencing makes it easy for termites to crawl up and do damage to the fence itself, as well as to adjoining structures.
    How to prepare: Addressing any signs of decaying wood is the first step in keeping your wooden fence termite free. It can also be helpful to paint the fence, as this will create an additional barrier to the wood.

Since termite infestations can often go unnoticed for a period of time, it is important for residents in Atlanta to schedule home inspections on a regular basis. Consistently monitoring and treating your home will ensure that termites do not have a chance to enter, and any existing problems are dealt with safely and efficiently by your trained service professional.

Your Truly Nolen West Atlanta professional can provide a free home inspection and customized treatment options that are just right for you. Through Truly’s Total Termite Protection Plan℠, homeowners are covered for protection from all types of termites. Call Truly Nolen today at 404-939-7277 to schedule your free inspection and discuss how we can help you keep your home termite free this spring!

Clay Soil in Dallas, TX Could Mean Easy Entry for Pests and Termites

Termite
It is well documented that certain areas of both north Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth have long standing issues with housing foundation movement. While there can be numerous factors associated with the “how” and the “why” a home’s foundation shifts over time, the overwhelming cause is a result of soil movement (i.e. contracting and expanding).

Many houses, particularly those in north Texas lie on top of clay soil that interacts with moisture differently than do most other soil types. Clay soil has properties comparable to a sponge, expanding with higher levels of moisture and contracting when less moisture is present. When parts of the foundation move disproportionately to others, the remaining areas of the foundation are under distress. This constant duress over time causes cracks in the foundation that eventually cause cracks in surfaces such as brick and dry wall in and outside the home.

Cracks in a structure’s foundation do not have to create structural issues for them to be a problem. Small cracks in a home’s foundation or walls can grant easy access for common household pests. North Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth residents are no stranger when it comes to pest issues such as ants, cockroaches, beetles, and spiders.

One “silent destroyer” especially prevalent is the termite. Despite the devastating damage they’re capable of causing, termites are roughly only a few millimeters to 1 centimeter in length. The termite’s small size is particularly problematic if there are drywall cracks in your home due to the fact that termite swarms gain entry into your home practically undetected through these small cracks.

Subterranean termites specifically pose a very serious threat when the foundation of your home shifts drastically, considering they enter a home upwards from the ground, making any cracked slabs of concrete or expansion joints a potential infiltration point. A slight crack as narrow as 1/64th of an inch, is enough for termites to squeeze through, especially if that same crack is emitting a source of moisture, which in turn makes plumbing pipes critical areas to monitor.

Truly Nolen’s Total Termite Protection PlanSM is the most comprehensive termite control program in the industry (covering all species of termite), as it is backed by a $1 Million Dollar Guarantee. For more information on scheduling your Free inspection for your Dallas, TX home visit: https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/tx/dallas/dallas.asp#local-termite-control or https://www.trulynolen.com/locations/tx/fort-worth/fort-worth.asp#local-termite-control.

Carpenter Ants vs. Termites

It’s important to differentiate between two flying, wood-destroying pests – the carpenter ant and the termite. Many people will often confuse the two, as both pests are very similar in color, size, and shape. Knowing what pest you have will make getting rid of them faster, easier, and safer, saving you time and money in the long run.

According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause an estimated $5 billion in property damage each year. Homeowners are generally aware of the devastation termites can leave in their wake, but carpenter ants can also prove to be destructive to the wood found both in and outside of the home. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t actually eat the wood they come in contact with but instead hollow out galleries inside the wood for nesting and living as they feeding on food left behind by people (especially meats and sweets). Carpenter ants are frequently mistaken for winged termites during mating season when the male and female ants leave the colony to find a suitable mate. If an infestation from either pest is left undetected for a prolonged period of time, they each can cause expensive damage. Treatments for either a carpenter ant or termite infestation should be handled by a pest control professional.

There are certain characteristics that can be used to differentiate swarms of carpenter ants as compared to termites, the most important being the appearance of elbowed antennae and small or pinched waist with wings that are longer in the back than the front pair.

carpenter-ant-vs-termite

Carpenter Ants Termites
Bent antennae Straight antennae
Hourglass waistline No waistline; straight abdomen
Unequal wing length in the front and back Equal wing length in both front and back
Wings are partially translucent Wings are opaque or appear to be silver in color

Carpenter Ants

Characteristics

  • Carpenter ants are normally 5/8 inch long.
  • Carpenter ants have two small wings and two large wings (females only).
  • They also have very narrow, hourglass-shaped waists that separate their abdomen from their thorax and head.
  • Their antennae are elbowed.
  • Carpenter ants have reddish-brown thoraxes and heads with black abdomens.
  • They commonly nest around man-made structures and are the most common household pest in Florida.

Infestation

  • Carpenter ants do not feed on the wood they remove. Their feeding habits are similar to other ants, favoring sweets.
  • Carpenter ants search for moist wood to build their nests, particularly in attics, ceilings, and floors.
  • Carpenter ants are not a typically a year-round concern for homeowners. However, during spring swarm season, carpenter ants travel en masse to find new nesting locations.
  • Their nests consist of an expansive network of tunnels and passages within the structure of your home. Over time, these nests can seriously weaken your home’s structural integrity.

Termites

Characteristics

  • Termites are normally 1/4 inch long. Termite swarmers range from 3/8 to 1/2 inch long.
  • Termites have four wings of equal length (reproductive only).
  • They have thick waists which are similar in size than the rest of their bodies.
  • Termites have two antennae that are straight.
  • They are characterized by thin white skin and are commonly light to medium brown in color.
  • Nests are either underground (subterranean) or in the wood of your home (drywood).

Infestation

  • Termites feed on wood and some species build nests in wood.
  • Drywood termites, unlike subterranean termites, do not need contact with soil for their moisture needs. They get their moisture from the wood they eat.
  • Termites can be a huge problem anywhere. Also problematic are the nesting habits of many termite species which can make them difficult to spot.
  • Termites can cause serious structural damage to any home in a matter of months if left untreated.

The first step in controlling a pest problem is identifying the pest itself. If you are unsure which pest you’re dealing with or if you need help eliminating an infestation, Truly Nolen can help. Our Four Seasons Pest Control program will help prevent ant infestations in and around your home throughout the year, including carpenter ants. Our Total Termite Protection plan will eliminate termites and prevent future infestations. Most importantly, it’s backed by our Million Dollar Guarantee.

St. Petersburg Roof Collapse Caused by Termites

Subterranean termites take a big bite out of local homes

st-petersburge-termiteWHAT: The above photo taken last week depicts exactly what happens when a colony of subterranean termites makes a home out of your house. As roofs collapse, subterranean termites are creating havoc in other homes unbeknownst to their owners.

Why have subterranean termites arrived months ahead of schedule? And what can homeowners do to prepare and prevent?

Jeffery McChesney of Truly Nolen saw a 30 percent increase of these silent destroyers last winter and predicts this year to be even worse. The increase in rain has allowed soil to get saturated, creating the perfect moist conditions for termites to thrive.

Available for interviews upon request, Jeffery has these tips (and more):

  • Eliminate or reduce moisture in and around your home.
  • Maintain at least an 18-inch gap between your home and soil.
  • Trim hedges and other vegetation to prevent ventilation blockages.

WHERE: St. Petersburg area.

WHO: Scott Brody

WHEN: Subterranean termites swarming now, months earlier than normal.

WHY: Subterranean termites swarming now, months earlier than normal.

  • Termite damage is rarely covered by home insurance.
  • Subterranean termites are the most destructive species of termite.
  • An estimated $5 billion in termite-related property damage occurs every year in America.

CONTACT: To schedule an interview with Jeffrey, please contact Michelle Hawthorn, TilsonPR at 561-910-4301
mhawthorn@tilsonpr.com

National Pest Management Month: Four Common Pests to Watch Out For

We all know the feeling of the cringe-worthy moment when we hear little scurries across the floorboards, or see teeny droppings in our cupboards and run to call for the first available pest control service appointment.

For more than 30 years, the National Pest Management Association has celebrated the month of April as ‘National Pest Management Month’ to recognize pest management professionals for their efforts in protecting individuals’ health and property from those cringe-worthy moments. With spring season upon us, now is a good time to brush up on four common household nuisances and how to prevent or identify an infestation.

So the next time you see a creepy crawler and wonder what it is, keep in mind these four common pests:

Ants: Ranging from reddish browns to blacks and even yellow, ants are common throughout the year. No matter the climate, ants have an arduous way about them, making their homes in the tiniest of places. As the number one nuisance in the U.S., ants are capable of infesting office buildings, homes and restaurants. Ants are often attracted by sweets and proteins, so keep spills, pet food and other foods cleaned up and/or containers tightly sealed.

Termites: Termites live in colonies that can grow to large numbers. Their usual methods of infesting a home can include entering through cracks in concrete floors from underground, a space as small as 1/64th of an inch or larger. Termites can also be carried in through infested wood such as old furniture, firewood or building materials. Both Subterranean and Drywood termite colonies even have members equipped with wings, being able to fly into a home and begin a new colony. Make sure to have your home thoroughly inspected yearly by a professional to spot termites and/or damage before it’s too late.

Spiders: Varying greatly in size, spiders are often the sign of a more serious insect infestation. As carnivorous hunters, spiders feast on insects such as ants and crickets and hide in cracks and crevices under well-protected areas inside or outside the home. Being popular all year round, the best way to reduce the risk of spider invasions is to remove clutter, repair windows and screens and dust regularly.

Bed Bugs: Bed bugs are known to be travelers, packing away in your suitcase until the most opportune moment to make themselves cozy in your home. Living up to one and a half years, bed bugs produce between one and eight eggs daily. Since you can’t feel the bite of a bed bug, homeowners should be aware of inflamed bites with clusters or rows. Inspect your surroundings carefully when traveling to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you.

The Billion Dollar Chew: Termites Eat Through Homes and Businesses

Each year, termites cause billions of dollars in damage, and homeowner’s insurance will not cover the cost of treatment.

These invisible destroyers cause more damage in the U.S. than storms, fires and floods combined. The National Pest Management Association estimates that termites are responsible for $5 billion in property damage every year.

While you sleep, termites may literally eat you out of house and home and even your business. And while they eat 24 hours a day, their damage is insidious because you usually do not see them or the damage they cause until it’s too late. Termites are known for their industriousness and can always find a way into your home, whether the structure is made of wood or concrete.

Homeowners might notice termites when they swarm around spring time, a likely sign of infestation. But they can swarm in both the spring and fall, anytime the environmental conditions are right.

The U.S. is home to many species of termites, the most common being Subterranean and Drywood termites.

Subterranean Termites tunnel in the soil. The ability to tunnel allows them to find and feed on countless pieces of wood. This mobility also allows them to create much bigger colonies than those of wood inhabiting species. A Subterranean termite colony can have hundreds of thousands to several million members working in a caste system.

Drywood Termites can cause serious damage to houses and furniture. These termites are easier to spot because they produce coarse sand-like fecal pellets that can be spotted long before you discover the termites themselves. The Drywood termite not only eats the wood structure, but lives inside the wood structure. These insects will construct a virtual city within the wood, complete with connecting tunnels to get around it. They can enter the home by flying in or being carried on previously infested wood, such as furniture or construction materials.

Preventing termites is as important as exterminating them. A termite prevention program should include the following elements:

  • A professional inspection done at least once a year. The potential damage is too great to rely on “do-it-yourself” methods.
  • An ongoing preventive system including sodium borate-based materials, which can be painted, sprayed, or spread onto the wood, or injected into hollow spaces inside the walls of the home.
  • Having your pest control professional establish an “early warning system” that detects termites in the soil before they reach the home itself. Many systems establish bait stations around the perimeter of the home to detect the approach of termites while they are still several feet away.

By taking the necessary precautions, you can help prevent your home from becoming a termite’s permanent residence.

Pests to look out for in the early spring

Warmer weather introduces new challenges in terms of pest control. As winter wears on and spring approaches, homeowners may want to check for signs of infestations.

Ants
Carpenter ants are a common issue in the spring. They are more than just a nuisance- they are known to cause structural damage in homes. Spotting one or two ants isn’t indicative of a nest, but homeowners would still benefit from checking for their presence. Ants tend to congregate near the spot that they entered the building. The SnoValley Star suggests looking around where wiring comes through the wall, around windows in the basement, and small, out of the way spaces. Carpenter ants are known to nest in wood, and can often be found in walls and ceilings.

Wasps
Wasp nests can also pose a new threat in the springtime. The University of Michigan warns that yellow jackets tend to nest in attics, walls, and under eaves. The only way to verify an infestation is if the insects are spotted flying in and out of a crack in the walls. Paper wasps, one of the more common species, are typically found on horizontal surfaces such as beams, overhangs and supports in places such as attics, garages and tool sheds. Both types of wasps gravitate toward quiet, out​-of-the-way areas, but can be dangerous if they choose to stay in the walls of a home.

If a nest is spotted, but no wasps were seen in the area, it’s possible that the nest is dead or inactive. Wasps only use their nests for one season, so it may be that the nest is not in use. It’s better to have an exterminator come and look at the nest before attempting to remove it, however, to avoid the risk of getting stung.

Termites
One of the most common pests early on in spring is the termite. These pests are nearly impossible to spot, and the best method of prevention is to have a house inspection each spring. According to Business Wire, they can chew through most flooring materials in addition to wallpaper, making them able to invade a home with ease. Tips for termite control include keeping the areas around a house’s foundation dry, keeping holes sealed and stacking lumber away from structures.

Ask an exterminator agency to send a professional to evaluate the risk of pests for your home if you’re concerned about infestations as spring approaches.

Termites terrorize Texas

Swarming termites were a disconcerting sight for many San Antonio residents this holiday season, states amateur scientist Forrest Mims in an article for San Antonio Express-News.

Several days before Christmas, Mims noticed flying insects on his property. Upon approaching the swarm, he noticed a patch of ground below it covered in a rippling, shimmering white film, he writes. What he was looking at was actually a thousand winged termites, which then suddenly  took off into the air.

While termites serve an important purpose in nature eating up dead tree particles, they’re a major nuisance for residents. There are a variety of termite species and most share the commonality of destroying wood and causing severe damage for homeowners.

Subterranean termites live in underground colonies that can contain up to 2 million members, according to the National Pest Management Association. They build mud or soil tubes in the ground around exposed concrete foundation, which homeowners should be aware of when expecting their property for signs of an infestation.

Meanwhile, drywood termites rarely come into contact with the soil and live in dry wood, as their name implies. They can also cause serious structural damage.

If residents suspects termites on their property, they should contact a pest management professional promptly.

Tree termites terrorize Florida residents

State officials are taking action against nasutitermes corniger, a Caribbean species of termites that is destroying trees, walls and ceilings throughout South Florida.

Unlike many of their relatives, nasutitermes corniger build basketball-sized nests above ground and dig visible brown tunnels on the sides of houses, which can cause serious damage for homeowners. While Department of Agriculture officials thought they eradicated the pests when they first turned up in Dania Beach in 2001, the termites showed up again last year, according to Sun Sentinel.

The organization is currently planning pest control initiatives to eradicate the species before spring, when nasutitermes corniger fly around to form new colonies and increase their populations.

Barbara Thorne is a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland and is helping plan the campaign.

"Certainly all of South Florida could be at risk, up into Central Florida," Thorne told the newspaper. "Once this gets out, there will be no containing it, ever. So we're trying to deal with this now."

While a similar campaign took place last year, officials said it wasn't as successful as they had hoped.

Nasutitermes corniger, or tree termites, which are native to rainforests, are beneficial to their home environment because they eat dead wood on the exterior of trees. However, these pests can wreak havoc in residential areas. They destroy outer frameworks and materials used to build walls and structures. Tree termites can also severely damage roofs. Often, wood infested by this species requires replacement. To avoid mounting renovation costs, homeowners should contact a pest control professional promptly if they suspect tree termites.  

Spotting an infestation
While a ballooning nest may be an obvious sign of infestation, the early starts of a nasutitermes corniger population can be difficult to detect, as they build large colonies before establishing a home. These bugs present an especially serious threat because they don't nest underground or compete for space resources with other termite species. A home is therefore at risk of infestations from above and below, Department of Agriculture officials explained to Sun Sentinel.

Florida officials say pest control experts are able to identify these critters. If residents spot insects around their house, they can put a sample in a bag and bring it to an exterminator for evaluation. Tree termites are about 3 to 4 millimeters in length and have cream-colored bodies and dark brown heads.

Homeowners who suspect a nest or tunnels on their property should take a picture and show it to a professional as soon as possible. One expert told The Miami Herald tree termite nests often resemble wasp nests.

Protecting the home
There are several measures residents can take to protect their home from a tree termite invasion. As they come from a tropical climate, nasutitermes corniger are attracted by moisture and humidity. While wetness may be difficult to control on outside walls, residents can ensure their roofs aren't leaky and repair any water damage immediately following rainfall.

Because these termites forage on the ground, homeowners may also consider monitoring moisture in their yard and eliminating brush buildup to prevent any potential problems with the bugs.