Termite Swarm Season Provides Homeowners with Chance to Catch Damaging Pests in the Act

Terminix Advises Avoiding Costly Repairs by Guarding Against Infestation

Memphis, TN June 11, 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.

June 9, 2010 -- Terminix offers tips to avoid costly repairs by guarding against termite infestation. 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.swarmwarning.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.

Valerie Sherman