What? I was hoping for snow, but those pipe dreams have now vanished. I am wondering if the rowdy relatives are returning or if the heat wave has ushered in a swarm of silent WDO guests in time for the holidays. Last week I had a white winged guest stop by. It is that time of year. As a real estate investor, I get concerned when white wings approach. You should too.

 

Every building owner in Florida has occasional guests. The invited guests are welcome as long as they don’t eat too much or stay too long, but sometimes a building inspection reveals a silent swarm chipping away at the cellulose infrastructure. Wood destroying organisms (WDOs) cause billions of dollars in property damage to residential and commercial buildings each year. In April Fox News reported a new hybrid species of termite that is breeding in South Florida. University of Florida entomologists predict the areas of Dade and Palm Beach counties may see this species thriving due to warmer climate conditions. To learn more about South Florida’s hybrid termite species, read the following article published this spring: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/04/01/termite-superswarm-threatens-south-florida.html.

 

Central Florida also sees its share of termite infestations. Recently, evidence of a silent swarm surfaced during a walk through survey in October. In a commercial structure in downtown Orlando, Commercial Building Consultants, LLC (CBC) discovered the huge termite mound. The active infestation surprised the building owners, who wished they had ordered the Property Condition Assessment sooner. CBC has WDO certification and a sister company that offers pest control services, so the owners were in good hands.

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Last week I contacted a pest control service about termite protection for a concrete block structure. I had previously been told that if a building is not wood framed, there’s no need for termite protection. The expert I met with insisted I had been lied to. He promptly pulled a book out of his vehicle and showed me evidence that termites damaged a concrete block residence, building their mound in a large built-in bookcase. Then the sneaky houseguests climbed throughout the walls boring holes along the way. The hoodwinked owners were shocked to discover their silent house guests.

Perhaps Yoda was right: I must unlearn what I have learned.

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These photos are ironic, but the termite damage to this book that sat on a wooden bookshelf in a concrete block home is reality; it’s binding in tact, hiding the silent swarm from the home owners for more than five years. That’s a long time and a lot of money in damage to the infrastructure within the walls. Did the sneaky pests learn from Yoda too?

“Judge me by my size do you?”

Termites have been around for a long, long time. Just ask the BBC. No judgment there. BBC appears to have a healthy respect for these ancient insects. Warm climates attract these pesky, invasive creatures. Hence, the reason we suffer so in the South. With so much development in Florida, it is unlikely a termite mound will go undiscovered for millennia, but who knows what the new South Florida hybridized species will do? BBC’s piece is interesting, if you’re curious how long these little devils can survive with the right climate and conditions, read this: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150729-2000-year-old-termite-mound-found.

 

Central Florida is not South Africa, but local weather for this Christmas Day might feel closer to the climate in South Africa than ever before. By the way, it is mostly sunny and 86 degrees in Johannesburg today and meteorologists predict the high will be 90 on Christmas Day. Just five degrees difference has me wondering what the termites will be up to on Friday in Florida. For more information about commercial buildings and projects in Florida, visit CBC’s website where you can see how the team brings Florida flavor to 42 states across the nation: http://www.commercialbuildingconsultants.com/projects/

Merry Christmas and may the force be with you.