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Snowy, Icy, Cold Winter Leaves Homes Vulnerable to Termites
The National Pest Management Association advises homeowners and buyers to beware of infestations
FAIRFAX, Va. – After one of the harshest winters experienced by much of the United States, Americans are ready to welcome spring with open arms. However, the trifecta of Arctic cold, snow and ice may have left many homes battered and vulnerable to the most destructive pest – the termite. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) urges homeowners to be aware of the property threats posed by termites and to learn how to prevent and quickly resolve infestations, a message that is particularly timely during Termite Awareness Week, March 16-22.
“As the weather warms, termites emerge from their overwintering spots in search of mates and new structures in which to establish their colonies,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “Termites send out large numbers of swarmers — often mistaken by homeowners as winged ants — in search of these habitats and food sources. Some of the swarmers will mate and start new colonies.”
The NPMA encourages all homebuyers to obtain a wood destroying organism inspection separate from their home inspection and all homeowners to have a termite inspection done every one to three years. Those who live in more termite-prone areas should have more regular inspections. According to a recent NPMA survey, more than half (52 percent) of Americans have never had their homes inspected.
While swarmers and their discarded wings are the most visible sign of a termite problem, here are five other warning signs homeowners should know:
- Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home
- Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped
- Cracked or bubbling paint
- Small piles of feces that resembles sawdust that may evidence a termite nest
- Rotted tree stumps or landscaping timbers in close proximity to the home
NPMA recommends the following termite prevention tips:
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry
- Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units on the outside of the home
- Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles
- Replace weather stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows
- Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground
- Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation
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. For more information, visit PestWorld.org.