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How to protect your greatest asset - your home - from subterranean termites

When it comes to protecting your home's value, you have no control over some of the factors that influence real estate values, like nearby retail development or the job market in your area. You can, however, take control over one major factor in your home's value, its health and the health of your neighborhood - termites.

Termites cause more than $2 billion in damage every year to homes in the United States, and statistics show that's likely more damage than what fire, storms or earthquakes cause.

Subterranean termites are unlike many other problematic insects or rodents in that they forage for food 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They feed on wood and cellulose products, which are part of your home's construction.

Termites live in colonies underground or above ground in moist areas, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). Each colony can contain up to 2 million termites - meaning your home could have several million termites living around the foundation and they are constantly seeking a food source.

It is important to be able to spot the signs of a termite infestation by looking around your home. Termites typically create what are called mud tubes and together they travel through these tubes in search of new food sources. Look for these mud tubes along your home's exterior. Keep in mind that termites are very small in size - from 1/8 to 3/8 of an inch - so they can travel through small non-cellulose cracks in your home, such as through your foundation.

The NPMA offers several tips to help you reduce the possibility of a termite infestation. These include lowering the humidity in crawl spaces or other areas with reduced ventilation to eliminate a moist atmosphere - the kind that termites seek out. Also, it is very important to keep wood or scraps of lumber away from your home. Never pile firewood against your home; that's a sound food source for Subterranean termites. By putting lumber against your foundation or wall, you're in essence inviting termites to feed right next to your home.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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