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Termites Pose Silent - But Very Real - Threat to Homes Across the U.S.
For many Americans, purchasing a home is one of the most important financial investments they will make. As such, most homeowners want to protect and maintain this significant investment. However, homeowners often overlook one serious threat to their property - one that can cause more than $5 billion in property damage every year, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). As spring approaches, the NPMA urges homeowners to take action to protect their homes from termites.
Termites, known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper with their saw-toothed jaws, can cause serious damage to the structural stability of a home. They feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the cellulose found in wood and paper products. One of the most common and aggressive species, the subterranean termite, lives in underground colonies of up to two million members and builds distinctive "mud tubes" to food sources.
"Termite infestations often go unnoticed until the destruction is extensive and costly to repair," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Unfortunately, damage from wood-boring insects is typically not covered by homeowners' insurance policies, so it is crucial to take preventative measures to protect your home. It's also suggested to contact a professional to inspect for termites once a year."
The NPMA recommends these tips to prevent termite infestations:
- Inspect perimeter of a home for rotting wood, mud tubes or a visible termite presence.
- Avoid water accumulation near the home's foundation by diverting water away with downspouts and gutters.
- Never bury wood scraps in the yard. If your home is newly built, remove any remaining grade stakes on your property.
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
- If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.
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.