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Study: Tampa the 10th worst city in U.S. for termite infestations

Patrons to Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry walk past a large inflatable that houses the Towering Termite Tour presented by Termidor. [Times files]
Patrons to Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry walk past a large inflatable that houses the Towering Termite Tour presented by Termidor. [Times files]
Published Apr. 6, 2018

TAMPA — If you happen to see a few extra termite tents or exterminators around Tampa, there's a good reason.

The city is has the 10th largest number of termite infestations in the country, according to a study conducted by Terminix.

Tampa is one of four Florida cities in the top 25, and it makes sense.

According to Dr. Phillip Koehler, a endowed professor of urban entomology at the University of Florida, termites thrive in hot climates.

"The Gulf Coast of the United States is a very good place for termites because we have high relative humidity, we have a lot of rainfall and we have soils that allow drainage," Koehler said. "Termites do extremely well in those circumstances."

Two other Florida cities ranked just ahead of Tampa (Jacksonville and Miami at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively). Orlando came it at No. 12.

While the majority of cities on the list are from warm climates, some northern cities such as Philadelphia (No. 15) and Pittsburgh (No. 20) made the list, too.

"Those places have large buildings that have central heating, so the temperatures in the soil never get that cold underneath the building," Koehler said. "A termite colony that gets established doesn't have any competition, and so those colonies get very large."

Although Tampa is a hotbed for termites, residents can protect themselves with regular visits from pest control services.

"You don't want to wait until they've eaten the house for it to be able to protect it," Koehler said. "So basically, a homeowner doesn't have the tools or products to be able to protect the house themselves. They really have to rely on a professional service to do this."

THE TOP 25

1. Houston

2. Los Angeles

3. Mobile, Ala.

4. San Antonio

5. San Diego

6. Dallas

7. Memphis, Tenn.

8. Jacksonville

9. Miami

10. Tampa

11. Phoenix

12. Orlando

13. Atlanta

14. Cincinnati

15. Philadelphia

16. Sacramento, Calif.

17. Honolulu

18. San Jose, Calif.

19. Baton Rouge, La.

20. Pittsburgh

21. Savannah, Ga.

22. Nashville, Tenn.

23. Little Rock, Ark.

24. Tucson, Ariz.

25. Louisville, Ky.