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Recently, a giant tent was erected over the Capri Community Center to house a “fly-in” for unwanted guests.

During a routine repair of the air conditioning system, it was discovered that the building was occupied even when residents and guests were not present. Dry wood termites had taken up residence, forcing the groups of people who use the building daily to find an alternate meeting space until the unwanted pests were eliminated.

The Capri Community Center has quite a history.

In 1967, the center was built in large part by a team of volunteers, using donations and numerous fund-raisers to make the dream of the local citizenry to have a community gathering place a reality. Bingo, spaghetti suppers and cookouts were held to raise the necessary funds, while at the same time offering the locals a chance to get to know one another and have fun doing so. The community population was expanding rapidly at that time, and has continued to do so until this day. The use of the Center has also continued to expand.

Capri Community Center hosts charitable events, serves as a meeting place for Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and is the voting precinct for the community.

It holds a free book-exchange library and a host of recreational, exercise classes and educational on-going events. Public meetings are held monthly during season to keep the community abreast of happenings that affect them and to offer opportunities for residents to get to know their neighbors.

The board who oversees the center believes a united community is better equipped to face major issues when they occur.

Dry wood termites are never wanted, but as those on the Isles say, “It’s not a matter of if you will have them, but a matter of when you have them if you live in Southwest Florida.”

According to Rudolf H. Scheffrahn and Nan-Yao Su, Professors of Entomology at the University of Florida Wood-Destroying Insects Unit in Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, many residents of Florida, especially those living near the coast and in southern communities will experience a dry wood termite infestation in their homes. This is true of businesses as well. In fact, there have been several tents erected over homes on the isles, and the Capri Christian Church has had to have multiple treatments without a tent to try and get the wood-destroying insects under control.

Dry woods do not require moisture or soil like their counterparts the subterranean termite. Dry woods spend almost their entire life cycle inside the dry wood upon which they feed. Only during brief periods in late spring or summer do they come out to swarm. Those that swarm are the young adults leaving the confines of their galleries to begin new colonies elsewhere.

Evidence of an infestation of dry wood termites will be wings that have been shed, pellets (feces) which resemble fine sawdust, and galleries or channels inside wood where visible. Sometimes people mistake swarming termites for swarming ants, but their differences are easy to recognize. According to information contained in the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Guide for Residential Homeowners, winged termites can be distinguished from winged ants because termites have a thick waist, straight antennae, and equal-length wings. Ants have a distinctly thin or wasp-like waist, elbowed antennae, and shorter hind wings than fore wings.

If a dry wood termite infestation is suspected, a thorough examination of the entire structure should be conducted by a pest control operator or building inspector. There are no home-remedies that can rid, nor protect from future infestations. There is also no single treatment for all situations.

Entomologists warn that dry wood termites can enter a structure in a piece of furniture, a picture frame, a piece of wood from a hardware store as well as a swarm that flies in through an open window, door or garage door left open. Most swarms occur at night.

Contact Ann Hall at ahall7911@coconuttele.net.

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