Keep Termites and Bed Bugs out of Your Home
May 1, 2013
Don’t Bug Out
Keep Unwanted Pests Out of Your Home
The weather is warming, which makes it a perfect time for termite swarming. Swarm Season starts when large numbers of termites leave their colonies in search of new nesting sites, usually March through May, depending on the species. Termites are present throughout Florida. Chances are, anywhere you stand, there are termites nearby.
Conehead termites are a particularly invasive species of termite that attack homes and buildings, as well as lumber and wood products and are capable of causing widespread damage. A native to the Caribbean, the conhead termite was first introduced to the U.S. in 2001 and eradicated in 2003. The recently confirmed presence indicates a reemergence. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) deployed incident response crews in Dania Beach this past March in order to eradicate and terminate colonies of Conehead termites that threatened to spread into the surrounding areas.
Though Florida’s climate is particularly conducive to termite infestation, many homes lack any type of termite protection. Regular inspection and prevention practices are essential to protecting homes from termite damage. FDACS urges Florida homeowners to safeguard their home by following these simple steps:
- Divert direct water sources, such as roof downspouts and gutters, away from the structure’s foundation as termites are attracted to moisture.
- Seal cracks and holes to prevent termite entry, including spots where utilities and pipes enter the home.
- Do not stack firewood or lumber next to your home and inspect it carefully prior to bringing it indoors.
- Schedule an annual home inspection by a licensed professional pest control company.
- Obtain a termite protection contract and renew it annually.
While termites swarm in the spring, bed bugs can settle into homes anytime throughout the year. FDACS has joined forces with various state, local and private entities to promote public awareness about the prevalence of bed bugs and inform consumers on how to protect themselves from bed bug infestations. Adult bed bugs are normally the size of an apple seed while immature ones are much smaller. Bed bugs can be found in the seams of bedding and sofas, backpacks, behind headboards, dressers and various other places. FDACS recommends that consumers take the following steps to prevent, detect and remove bed bugs:
- Remove all clutter from your home, which makes finding bed bugs easier.
- Closely inspect any second-hand furniture for bed bugs before you bring it into your residence.
- At home and when on travel, look for signs that bedbugs may be present, such as small brownish-red to purple spotting on bedding, mattresses, furniture and luggage.
- If your home is infested, follow pesticide label guidelines when using registered pesticides or select a licensed pest control company that has the experience and understanding necessary to manage bed bugs.
FDACS regulates and licenses pest control companies and conducts regular inspections to ensure that businesses are in compliance with the rules and regulations that govern pesticides and pest control. To verify if a pest control company is licensed or to file a complaint, call 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352), (850)-617-7997 or visit www.flaes.org.