(NewsUSA) - Signs of spring often include flowers sprouting out of the ground, leaves emerging on trees, increased animal activity and a general feeling of renewal. However, one of the more unpleasant signs that spring has sprung is the emergence of termites. As this is the time of year termites come out in search of a new habitat, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has declared March 25-29 Termite Awareness Week. This designation serves to warn homeowners about termite dangers and to educate them about ways to ensure their home isn't the next feeding ground for these voracious pests.
"As many homeowners typically take stock of their homes in the spring time and plan for improvement projects, the NPMA has designated this week after the official start of the season as the perfect time to inform them about why their homes may be vulnerable to termites and how to protect their most expensive investments," noted Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA.
Termites are known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to chew through wood, flooring and even wallpaper undetected. Swarmers, looking to start a new colony, are typically the first sign of termite season as these winged pests show up inside homes in early spring. It is important that homeowners do not mistake swarmers for flying ants, as the two species look alike to an untrained eye. Discarded wings near windowsills and doors signal that swarmers have already found their way in.
As termites cause $5 billion in property damage every year, the NPMA offers these termite-prevention tips for homeowners:
* Avoid water accumulation near the home's foundation.
* Keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation.
* Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and AC units.
* Replace weather stripping, and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
* Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
* Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
Find more information about pest prevention, identifying an infestation and locating a pest control professional at www.pestworld.org.