<font size="3" color="#990000">Protect your home from termite damage</font><p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">(ARA) – As Americans head outside to tend to their lawns and repair their houses, it’s just as important to consider what might be happening out of sight, deep inside the home.</span></p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt"><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Termites, which are found in every state except Alaska, live in colonies that eat continuously. These wood-destroying pests eat homes from the inside out, making their presence difficult to detect. Termites annually cause more than $5 billion in damage, and the destruction termites cause is not normally covered by homeowners insurance, leaving owners to pay an average of $3,000 in out-of-pocket costs for repairs, according to Terminix.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"In most cases, it’s easy to tell when a house is in need of repair. Either the paint is chipping or the roof is leaking. But that’s not usually the case with termite activity," says Paul Curtis, a Terminix entomologist. "Because termites are often active in the least visible areas of a home, it can be difficult for the homeowner to tell whether they have a termite problem or not."</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Usually, homeowners will only be able to tell they have a termite infestation during swarm season. That’s when winged, reproductive termites leave their colonies and establish new ones.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">A swarm can be identified by the large number of flying termites and by the discarded wings they often leave near doors and windows.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">"Termites do not discriminate. They eat wooden framing, support beams and the wood flooring inside your home the same way they would a tree in the forest," Curtis says.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">While swarming only takes place during certain times of the year, termite colonies never stop eating, even to rest or sleep. Unless evidence of a swarm is discovered, or damage is severe enough to be noticed, a trained professional will most likely be required to identify the presence of termites within a home.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">Although eliminating termites requires the help of a trained professional, homeowners can take the following proactive steps to make their homes less inviting to these wood-destroying pests:</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">1. Fix the roof or plumbing leaks. The moisture from these allows termites to survive above ground.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">2. Clean and repair gutters. Gutters that do not drain properly can allow water to accumulate near the foundation.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">3. Eliminate wood-to-soil contact. Any wood that simultaneously touches the soil and the home can provide termites with direct access to the structure.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">4. 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.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">5. Avoid storing items in the crawlspace. Pieces of scrap lumber, boxes or even books can serve as a food source for termites.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">6. Maintain adequate ventilation in crawlspaces. Termites prefer moist conditions. Eliminating moisture can help make the environment less suitable to them.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">7. Use a mesh screen on all windows, doors and ventilation openings. Screening will help prevent winged termites from entering the home.</p>  <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">8. Schedule an annual inspection with a trained professional. Prompt treatment and regular inspections can save thousands of dollars in damage repair.</p>  <p><span style="line-height: 200%; font-family: Verdana, sans-serif; letter-spacing: 1pt; font-size: 10pt">Courtesy of ARAcontent</span></p></span>