Florida 'Super Bug' Termite Chews Through Plumbing

Florida is dealing with a termite unlike any other. Two invasive termite species are breeding in the area to produce a new 'super' pest that can reproduce more quickly than it's parent species and the ability to live in a greater range of environments. The hybrid species is also twice the size of its parents. It not only chews through the baseboards and studs, but also, concrete and plumbing. As an added bonus, termites also spit acid.

Both termite species originate in Asia although they come from very different regions. The diversity in regions in what allows the termite to travel to climates it has not previously been. With no natural predators the bug is quickly spreading from southern Florida to Tampa and soon to more northern states. The insect breeds from May-July and work round the clock, chewing about a pound of wood per day.

Why Do Termites Live In Bathrooms?
Termites build mud tubes and plant their nests, bathrooms are attractive to termites because they often have excess moisture. For example, a bathroom with an inadequate ventilation system, leaky pipes, or an excess of humid showers will lead to high humidity levels and damp ground - the perfect habitat for termites.

How can I tell if there are termites in a bathroom?
There are a few common warning signs.

  • Loose Tiles
  • Discolored or sagging ceiling
  • Damaged or hollow-sounding baseboards and/or walls
  • Drywall or wallpaper with small holes
  • Jammed door or windows.

What should you do if you find termites in a customer's bathroom?
Call a professional pesticide control technician. The first step is getting rid of the termites. A professional will most likely fumigate the space and apply subterranean liquid termicides. Once the pest control technicians have completed their work and it's safe for you to re-enter, you will need to inspect all of the plumbing for damage. While termites don't eat pipes for food, 'Super' Termites will chew through PVC piping to make room for their tunnels.  You will also want to check for structural damage in floor and ceiling joists, heavy items like bathtubs hold the risk of falling through a termite-weakened floor.

 


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