Spring and Termites Go Hand-in-Hand, Yet Only 50 Percent of Americans Have Homes Inspected According to New Survey

National Pest Management Association says homeowners worry about termites but don’t take action

FAIRFAX, Va. (March 25, 2013) – American homeowners may not be surprised that the first full week of spring is also Termite Awareness Week, recognized by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Chase’s Calendar of Events. Spring is prime termite season as swarmers, or winged termites, emerge in search of establishing new colonies, which often include vulnerable residential properties. Spring also kick starts the housing market with buyers on the hunt for that perfect home, and home remodeling projects move into full swing. The NPMA urges homebuyers and homeowners alike to pay particular attention to signs of a termite infestation and to seek an inspection.

This advice comes on the heels of the group’s new survey, finding 38 percent of U.S. adults worry about discovering termites in their home, 33 percent have or know someone who has experienced termite damage and that despite these concerns, more than half (52 percent) of Americans have never had their homes inspected.

As the housing market continues to recover, it is imperative buyers take proactive measures and arrange for a pest inspection in addition to the general home inspection—especially when it comes to foreclosed or long-vacant homes on the market.  Most home inspectors are not trained to uncover a termite problem and saving a few dollars by skimping on optional inspections is not recommended.

“When it comes to ensuring the structural stability of your future home, a wood destroying organism (WDO) inspection is a must,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Termites cause approximately $5 billion in property damage annually, an expense not typically covered by homeowners' insurance. Avoiding a termite or WDO inspection leaves the buyer vulnerable to unexpected out-of-pocket costs down the line.”

Termites can also quite literally eat homeowners out of house and home without them even knowing it until it’s too late. Termites are known as "silent destroyers" due to their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected, 24/7, and can compromise the structural stability of a home within several years depending on the species.

Here are a few red flags that termites may be present in a home:

  1. Mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source) on the exterior of the home
  2. Soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped
  3. Darkening or blistering of wood structures
  4. Cracked or bubbling paint
  5. Small piles of feces that resembles sawdust near a termite nest
  6. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home

If any of these signs are present, experts recommend you contact a pest professional to properly identify the problem and termite species, and effectively remove the colony. To learn more about termites or to find a qualified 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.