American homeowners prep for start of swarm season
October 3, 2012 Memphis, TN
Termites Take Bite Out of American Homes and Pocketbooks
(TERMINIX) – Termite swarms are coming, and while these winged insects don’t bite and they don’t sting, their colonies can take a sizable chunk out of your pocketbook.
Termites, which are found in every state except Alaska, swarm in an effort to find a mate and establish new colonies. Because termites eat homes from the inside out, they are seldom seen, and are often only discovered when their damage becomes evident or they swarm.
Termites cause more than $5 billion in damage each year, and the destruction they leave behind usually isn’t covered by homeowners insurance, leaving owners to pay an average of nearly $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs for repairs. The following three termite species are the largest threat to American homes:
Subterranean termites – As their name indicates, subterranean termites live in underground colonies. Their nests can contain a couple of thousand to more than one million and include a caste system comprised of workers, soldiers, a queen and king and supplemental reproductive termites. In order to travel above ground, subterranean termites build dirt-like tunnels to shield them from predators and the elements. Once in a home, they’ll eat wood, furniture, drywall and even books. Subterranean termites are the most destructive and widespread termite in the United States.
Formosan (Subterranean) termites – Formosan termites are a non-native species that were brought to America on warships returning from the Pacific after World War II. During the last 60 years, Formosans have slowly spread from coastal ports, and have been reported in 11 states (Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas). Formosan termites live in underground colonies like traditional subterranean termites, but their colonies are much larger, often with millions of members. Because of their extreme size, Formosan colonies can cause more damage in a shorter period of time than a traditional termite colony.
Drywood termites – Unlike subterranean termites, drywoods do not nest in the soil and do not build "shelter tubes". Instead drywoods establish their colonies in dry, sound wood. Drywood colonies are small in comparison to other termite groups, often containing only a few thousand members. As drywood termites eat, they produce small fecal pellets that homeowners often find in piles around the home. This is the most obvious sign of a drywood infestation. This termite species is found in the east from Virginia to Florida, throughout the Gulf Coast, in the Southwest, and in California and Hawaii.
Readers can use these tips to help protect their homes from termites this spring:
- Fix roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive above ground.
- Clean and repair gutters. Gutters that do not drain properly can allow water to accumulate near the foundation.
- Eliminate wood-to-soil contact. Any wood that simultaneously touches the soil and the home can provide termites with direct access to the structure. This includes keeping firewood or other wood debris from being stacked against the side of the home.
- Keep mulch or soil from being piled against the home’s siding. Soil or mulch allowed to pile up against the home can hide termite activity.
- Avoid storing items in the crawlspace. Pieces of scrap lumber, boxes or even books can serve as a food source for termites.
- Maintain adequate ventilation in crawl spaces. Termites prefer moist conditions. Eliminating moisture can help make the environment less suitable to them.
- Use a mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings. Screening will help prevent winged termites from entering the home.
- Schedule an annual inspection with a trained professional. Prompt treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.
Using the previous steps is not always enough to defend against termites. The following are professional options used to protect homes:
Baiting – Baiting is intended to combat subterranean termites. With this approach, small containers are inserted into the ground around the perimeter of a structure. These bait stations contain a material that prevents termites from growing. When taken back to the nest by termites, the material is shared with the nestmates and controls or eliminates the colony.
Liquid – A liquid termite treatment creates an area of treated soil around the perimeter of a structure. Subterranean termites that forage through the treated soil unknowingly take the treatment/chemical back to the nest and spread it from one nestmate to the next.
Fumigation – Fumigation is almost exclusively intended to control and eliminate drywood termites. This control option involves placing specialized tarps over a structure and introducing a gas that will eliminate the termites inside.
Termite Inspection and Protection Plan – The Termite Inspection and Protection Plan is a new approach to subterranean termite control offered exclusively by Terminix. This plan costs considerably less than traditional termite approaches and eliminates any initial baiting or liquid treatments. Homes that qualify for the plan receive an annual inspection to monitor for termite activity. If activity or damage is ever detected, the structure will be treated and the damage will be repaired as long as it is still under contract.
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Termite swarm season provides homeowners with chance to catch damaging pests in the act
June 10, 2010 Memphis, TN
Terminix Advises Avoiding Costly Repairs by Guarding Against Infestation
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (June 9, 2010) – With warm weather and plentiful moisture prevalent throughout much of the United States, termites have experienced one of their most active swarm season in years. That may not be as bad as it sounds: swarms provide homeowners with an opportunity to catch these damaging pests in the act.
"When a homeowner detects a termite swarm, it could mean the house is infested and may have already suffered damage," said Paul Curtis, Terminix entomologist. "However, identifying a swarm allows the homeowner to take action and alleviate a problem that might otherwise have remained hidden."
Termites, which are found in every state except Alaska, annually cause more than $5 billion in damage, and the effects are not usually covered by homeowners insurance, leaving owners to pay an average of $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs for repairs, according to Terminix.
Homeowners, therefore, must prepare their homes and be vigilant in monitoring for signs of swarms and infestation. But that isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
Because termites generally eat homes from the inside out, they often go unnoticed by unsuspecting homeowners. Termite colonies can remain hidden behind walls and other structural elements for years before their presence is detected and the extent of the damage caused becomes evident.
Usually, the most visible sign of a termite infestation is the presence of a swarm, which is a direct sign of an established colony.
Swarming is a weather-driven event that typically occurs on warm, calm days following a spring rain. During a swarm, winged termites leave their existing colony to find a mate and establish new colonies. Cities and neighborhoods throughout the country may experience subterranean termite swarms beginning as early as February, and they can continue as late as June. Termite swarm activity that is tracked by Terminix can be viewed via an interactive map at www.terminix.com.
"During a swarm, homeowners can be inundated with thousands of swarmers," Curtis said. "It can be a very surprising and troubling experience."
If homeowners are not present at the time of the swarm, they can still identify a swarm by a telltale sign: the presence of discarded wings. Because the termites will never fly again, they break off the papery appendages and leave them behind, often to be found around windows and doors.
However, homeowners don’t have to wait for evidence of a swarm to take action against possible termite infestation. There are a number of proactive measures they can take to reduce the potential for subterranean termite infestation and combat these wood-destroying organisms:
- Fix roof or plumbing leaks immediately. These leaks can allow termites to survive above ground and in your home.
- Eliminate any wood-to-soil contact around your foundation and remove wood debris, including firewood, from around your home.
- Don’t let mulch or soil touch the siding on your home. It makes termite access much easier.
- Use mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings.
- Avoid storing items in crawlspace area.
- Maintain adequate ventilation in crawlspace.
- Direct excessive ground moisture away from foundations.
Have your home inspected by a trained professional at least once a year. Treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.
Terminix, a division of The ServiceMaster Company, is the nation’s largest pest control provider. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix services more than 3 million customers in 46 states and 14 countries. Terminix provides pest control services and protection against termites, rodents and other pests threatening human health and/or safety. To learn more about Terminix, visit their Web site at www.terminix.com.
Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., ServiceMaster currently serves residential and commercial customers through a network of more than 5,500 company-owned locations and franchised licenses. The company’s brands include TruGreen, TruGreen LandCare, Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. The core services of the company include lawn care and landscape maintenance, termite and pest control, home warranties, cleaning and disaster restoration, house cleaning, furniture repair and home inspection.
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Terminix Unveils New, Affordable Approach to Termite Protection
February 18, 2008 Memphis, TN
Revolutionary Offering Can Reduce Cost of Protection by Up to 75 Percent
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (February 18, 2008) – Terminix, the nation’s largest pest control company, is introducing a ground-breaking approach to termite protection, giving consumers a new, low-cost option when it comes to protecting their home from America’s most destructive pest.
The Termite Inspection and Protection Plan is the first of its kind in the industry and is offered exclusively by Terminix. The plan offers consumers protection against termites and the damage they cause without the initial use of traditional treatment methods.
"The overwhelming majority of American homes have no termite coverage, meaning millions of homes are unnecessarily being put at risk," said Steve Good, Terminix senior vice president of business development. "Termites can cause financial ruin for homeowners if allowed to go unchecked. Because traditional termite treatments can be expensive, many homeowners believe they can’t afford termite protection. With this new low-cost plan, you can’t afford not to have protection."
Traditional termite control for subterranean termites includes using a bait or liquid to eliminate termites and their colonies. While these control options are essential for homeowners who have a termite infestation, they are unnecessary in homes with no termite activity or signs of damage. The Termite Inspection and Protection Plan is a more environmentally focused approach to termite control, keeping chemicals from being used in the environment until needed.
For homes that qualify, the plan includes a comprehensive annual inspection to monitor for termite activity. If termite activity or damage is ever found, the plan provides owners with a guarantee that offers unlimited damage repairs and treatments. This innovative approach gives homeowners the same level of protection as traditional options without the unnecessary costs.
"In the past, protecting your home from termites cost homeowners thousands of dollars. Now, for homes that qualify it can cost just hundreds of dollars," said Stefan Figley, Terminix director of termite marketing. "On average, customers can now protect their homes from termites for less than $1 dollar a day, opening the door for more American homeowners to take a bold, proactive approach to protecting their most important investment."
The ultimate goal for Terminix is to use the Termite Inspection and Protection Plan to broaden the availability of coverage by offering the plan through alternate distribution channels such as financial institutions, real estate companies and consumer retail.
Termites are wood-destroying insects that live in every state except Alaska and annually cause more than $5 billion in damage in the United States. Homeowner’s insurance usually does not cover termite damage, leaving Americans to pay an average of nearly $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs for damage repairs.
In their natural environment, termites recycle dead wood back into the soil. When they gain access to a home, though, they can cause extensive damage. Structural supports and other pieces of wood are not the only items on their menu. Once in a home, they will even eat furniture, wallpaper and books.
The Terminix Termite Inspection and Protection Plan is currently available in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
Terminix is an industry leader in termite and pest control services. Headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., Terminix employs 12,000 associates across 450 service centers and serves more than 3 million customers in 45 states. Terminix provides pest control service for termites, rodents and other pests. To learn more about Terminix, visit their Web site at www.terminix.com or call 1-800-TERMINIX.