Homeowners' Winter Blues Won't Melt Away with the Snow

FAIRFAX, Va. (March 8, 2010) For homeowners, the end of winter also signals the end of snow shoveling and high heating bills. But one looming effect of winter - especially after a season that brought heavy snowfall and harsh weather to many regions of the country - is the potential for serious pest issues in the spring. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that when ice dams form on roofs during the winter they can damage walls, ceilings, insulation and drywall, with resulting moisture attracting pests such as termites and carpenter ants.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining properly. The melting snow backs up behind this dam and can leak into a home, causing water damage.

It is this water damage that attracts termites and carpenter ants, as these pests specifically seek out moisture. According to the NPMA, termites alone cause $5 billion in property damage in an average year, but the number could rise after a year with excessive moisture. Carpenter ants are also attracted to moisture and cause serious property damage as they excavate wood to build nests.

"With the unusual amount of snow this winter in many regions of the U.S., more homeowners may now be dealing with ice dams and subsequently termite and carpenter ant infestations down the road," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "Homeowners should take steps to ensure that the snowy winter does not lead to serious pest issues a few months from now."

To prevent ice dams, the NPMA recommends that homeowners:

  • Promptly clear snow off roofs.
  • Ensure that gutters and insulation are properly installed. 
  • Clean out gutters and install gutter guards.

Most importantly, homeowners should contact a licensed pest professional to inspect for signs of pest infestations.

To learn more or to find a pest professional, 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.