MARCH 15-21 IS TERMITE AWARENESS WEEK
Hulett Environmental Services encourages public awareness of termite threats during the spring season
As temperatures continue to increase and the ground becomes warmer, termites will emerge to launch an attack on vulnerable homes across the country. To promote public vigilance against termites, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recognizes March 15-21 as Termite Awareness Week. Hulett Environmental Services is proud to take part in this annual observance by educating homeowners about the threat of termites and the possible signs of an infestation this spring.
Termites are known as “silent destroyers” because their constant gnawing can go unnoticed until significant structural damage to the home occurs. Termites can feed 24-hours a day, seven days a week on the cellulose found in wood and paper products.
Hulett Environmental Services offers the following signs that termites may be present in a home:
- 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.
- Darkening or blistering of wood structures.
- Cracked or bubbling paint.
- Small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest.
- Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills, indicating swarmers have entered the home or swarmers themselves, which are often mistaken for flying ants.
If homeowners notice any of these signs, they should contact a pest professional who can best determine the extent of the problem and recommend a proper treatment plan.
For more information on termites, please visit www.bugs.com
The truth is, there are two kinds of homes: those that have had termites and those that will get them. And, while they cause $5 billion in damage each year, there is no reason to run away from the purchase. A pest control professional can correct the problem so that you can live comfortably in your dream home.
Termites are nearly impossible for homeowners to treat on their own. On the other hand, pest control professionals have the training, expertise, equipment, and technology to eliminate termite infestations.
After buying a home, homeowners should consider scheduling a professional inspection annually, or at least once every 3-5 years, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. Also, keep the following termite prevention tips in mind:
- Keep it dry: Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units which are on the outside of the home. Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry. Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
- Avoid providing harborage: 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.
- Know the signs: Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Monitor all exterior areas of wood, including windows, doorframes and skirting boards for any noticeable changes.
A home is often the single largest investment a person will ever make. Homebuyers should arm themselves with as much information as possible about the existing home so they can make informed decisions for their families.
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There are many steps homeowners can take to protect their greatest investments from termites. Experts at Hulett Environmental recommend the following tips:
- Carefully inspect the perimeter of the home for mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and rotting wood.
- Repair fascia, soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
- Keep basements, attics and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
- Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches up off the ground, and inspect it closely before bringing it indoors.
- Divert water away from the property through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
Here are a few facts to help homeowners protect themselves from stinging insects over the next few months:
- Stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room every year. They can swarm and sting en masse, which can be life threatening especially for anyone who has an allergic reaction.
- Unlike some stinging insect species, wasps are known for their unprovoked aggression. A single colony of wasps can contain more than 15,000 members, so an infestation should not be taken lightly.
- Common nesting sites include under eaves, on ceiling beams in attics, garages and sheds and under porches. Some stinging insects can build their nests in the ground, including yellowjackets and velvet ants (which are actually a species of wasps). Over-seeding the yard provides more coverage and discourages these pests from nesting around the property.
- Painting or staining untreated wood in fences, decks, swing sets and soffits will help keep stinging insects such as carpenter bees out. Carpenter bees create nests by drilling tunnels into soft wood, which can severely compromise the stability of a structure over time.
- Only female carpenter bees have stingers. Female carpenter bees will only sting if threatened, but reactions to these stings can range from mild irritation to life-threatening respiratory distress.