Termite Season is Here: Is Your Property at Risk?

Monday, April 4, 2011

As spring warms its way across the country, flowers are not the only signs of spring sprouting out of the ground. It's also the time of year when termites come in search of a new habitat such as winter weathered homes. As a result of excessive precipitation experienced across the country this past winter, many homes may have sustained damage to walls, ceilings and insulation, creating moisture that attracts termites .

Termites are known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Swarmers, looking to start a new colony, are typically the first sign of termite season as these winged-pests show up inside homes in early spring. It's important that homeowners do not mistake swarmers for flying ants, as the two species look alike to an untrained eye. Discarded wings near windowsills and doors are often a sign that swarmers have already found their way in.

Because termites cause $5 billion in property damage every year, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) urges homeowners to take action. Termite damage is typically not covered by homeowners' insurance and can quickly add up to a hefty expense to repair structural damage.

"Termites have an insatiable appetite for cellulose found in wood, eating 24-hours a day, seven days a week. They cause serious and costly damage and compromise the structural stability of a home," advised Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "NPMA advises homeowners to have their homes inspected annually and especially if they've noticed swarmers."

NPMA offers these additional tips:

  • Inspect perimeter of a home for rotting wood and mud tubes.
  • Avoid water accumulation near the home's foundation.
  • Never bury wood scraps in the yard. If the home is newly built, remove any remaining grade stakes.
  • Keep mulch at least 12 inches from the foundation.
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.

To learn more, visit www.pestworld.org

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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