What You Need to Know About Termites in Florida

There are 21 species of termites in Florida, making it a hotspot for termite damage.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Updated on Apr 27, 2022
Thanks to a humid and warm year-round climate,
Florida
is one of the country’s most diverse termite populations, with 21 distinct species swarming across the Sunshine State. 
If you own a home in Florida, you need to know your termite 101: how to identify an infestation, when to expect a swarm, and what to do if you discover termites in your home. 
Nobody wants to deal with termites—but for homeowners in Florida, ignorance is not bliss. Fail to catch the telltale signs of a termite infestation, and you could be looking at thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Luckily,
car insurance
broker and comparison app
Jerry
has compiled a guide to everything you need to know about termites in Florida. 
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How to tell if you have a termite infestation

Part of what makes termites so destructive is that they’re easy to miss. When a termite infestation descends on your home, these busy little insects could be munching away inside your walls for months before you realize that anything’s wrong.
Prevent serious damage to your home by knowing the early warning signs of a termite infestation. Keep your eyes peeled for these surefire indicators of termite activity: 
  • Discarded wings: Worker termites don’t have wings, but their reproductive siblings do. If you notice a lot of discarded wings, especially around window sills, you probably have termites. 
  • Mud tubes: The #1 sign of subterranean termites are the thin tunnels of mud they build along foundations to get into your house. 
  • Hollow-sounding walls: Knock on walls and other wooden structures in your house. If there’s an oddly hollow sound, you may have an infestation. 
  • Droppings: Termite droppings, or
    frass
    , look like small piles of sawdust or salt and pepper. 
Other common signs of an infestation are peeling or bubbling paint, swollen walls or floors, and tiny round holes in drywall

Are termites a problem in Florida?

Yes, most homes in Florida are subject to termite infestations, as demonstrated by the US Forest Service’s map of
Termite Infestation Probability Zones
.
If you own a house in Florida, learning about termites is an unpleasant but unavoidable part of responsible homeownership. Here are the three most common types of termites in Florida and when to look for them. 

Subterranean termites

These are the real bad guys of the termite world. Subterranean termites, including the Formosan “super-termite,” build sprawling colonies underground and then burrow into your home through the foundation, leaving no trace aside from spindly mud tubes. 
As the most common and most destructive type of termite in Florida, subterranean termites are the ones you need to watch out for. Formosan termites typically swarm at night during the late spring, while other varieties of subterranean termites swarm in daylight from October to June.

Drywood termites

Drywood termites, as the name suggests, eat dry wood, usually in attics or other dry areas of your house. The biggest sign of drywood termites are the piles of droppings they leave behind. 
These termites tend to swarm throughout the year, so keep an eye out no matter what the weather looks like. 

Dampwood termites

Dampwood termites, which swarm at night at all times of year, are attracted to wood that’s wet, decaying, or in direct contact with the ground. These termites are the least likely to damage your home; they prefer to invade rotting logs, moist woodpiles, or other wooden structures close to the ground. 

What to do if you have termites

If you notice the fateful signs of a termite infestation, there are a host of ways to attack the problem. 
When it comes to professional solutions, there are basically four options: 
  • Bait stations: This is the least invasive approach to traditional termite removal. Exterminators will leave small plastic containers around the perimeter of your house to attract and kill termites. Although it’s less disruptive than other methods, it can take months to work. 
  • Liquid pesticide barrier: If you have subterranean termites, a pest control company can dig a trench around your home and apply a lasting chemical moat of termiticide that will kill any termites that attempt to breach it. 
  • Fumigation: For major infestations, fumigation is the way to go. Exterminators cover the entire house with a tent and pump in gas that kills all the termites in the building. Your whole family, including pets, will need to stay out of the house for at least 24 hours. 

How to save money on homeowners insurance

Unfortunately, in most cases your homeowners insurance policy will not cover termite damage. Knowing the warning signs of an infestation is the best way to protect yourself. 
When it comes to other perils, though, you can rely on your homeowners insurance—which makes having the best policy important. You can be sure you’re getting the best deal on the insurance you need (and save money on
car insurance
at the same time!) by downloading the Jerry app. 
As a licensed insurance broker,
Jerry
is a genius at getting drivers and homeowners the best deals on insurance. Just download the app, enter your information, and Jerry will connect you instantly with quotes from 50+ top insurance companies. 
With Jerry, you won’t need to waste time comparing rates or filling out paperwork. Jerry handles all the forms to get you signed up, and you’ll get all the savings with none of the work! 
Jerry
was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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