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Termites on a piece of damaged wood.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – One of the most devastating, yet tiny insects may come feasting at your door this spring. Termites will soon be active as warmer temperatures arrive. So educate, prepare and be ready before this pest interrupts your growing season plans.

The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), an investor-driven professional pest control marketing organization, designated March 6-12 as Termite Awareness Week in 2022. During this week, a PPMA educational campaign will launch with programs available on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube and Pinterest.

Why termites?

Termites are ground-dwelling insects, meaning people typically have a hard time knowing they are present. Rising soil temperatures in the warm season bring the bugs out of their semi-dormant state, and they are usually very hungry.

“The spring is an optimal time to schedule an annual termite inspection, which can help avoid costly damage to most people’s largest investments, their homes,” said Alabama Cooperative Extension System Entomologist Xing Ping Hu.

According to the PPMA, the estimate for last year’s property damage because of termites was $6.8 billion in the United States.

On the Defense

One of the most efficient defenses to a potential termite infestation is regular and consistent annual inspection. When conducting a termite search, it is best to hire a licensed pest control expert. These professionals have knowledge on termites that most homeowners do not, so this will provide people with peaceful confirmation of their home’s foundation status.

“Homeowners must set up a time with a licensed technician,” Hu said. “Most importantly, be at home during the inspection and give the inspector access to the entirety of your premise. This primarily includes your house, garage, attic, basement, crawl space, sink and any other structures requiring a survey.”

Inside the Inspection

A typical termite inspection contains two components: a walk-around search for evidence of termites and an examination of premise conditions that are conducive to termite activity. “These investigations are much more than merely walking around for signs of termite activity,” says Hu. “Step two of the inspection process is equally important as step one.”

Some items to look for when surveying for termite evidence include but are not limited to:

  • above-ground mud tubes and mud-holes
  • live and dead swarmer
  • shed wings
  • hollow or blistering wood damage
  • sagging floor
  • bulging paint/wallpaper
  • brittle drywall
  • frass in case of dry-wood termites

Each of the findings by the pest control professional are compiled into a graph that is used in creating a termite treatment plan for the home.

“Be sure to ask the contracted inspector for a copy of the report for records,” Hu said. “Continuing education on termites is crucial as a homeowner.”

More Information

Prepare to defend your home this spring. Researching about termite activity in your area is a perfect start to Termite Awareness Week. For more information about termites, visit the Alabama Extension website at www.aces.edu.

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