(StatePoint) This spring and summer, your home could be under attack by termites, known as "silent destroyers" because of their ability to quickly and quietly cause serious property damage. As the temperature increases, so does the potential for termite swarms and infestations by other insects seeking to chew up your home and its value.

In fact, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), termites cause more than $5 billion in property damage each year all across the country. What's worse is that damage caused by these wood-destroying insects is typically not covered by homeowners' insurance policies.

"No matter where you live, wood destroying insects pose serious property risks and can seriously compromise the structural stability of a home. Homeowners need to regularly inspect their homes, as these hungry pests typically remain hidden until damage to your house becomes visible," says Missy Henriksen, Vice President of Public Affairs for the NPMA. 

The key to preventing pests from attacking your home is to eliminate their access to food, water and shelter:

* Carefully inspect the perimeter of your home for rotting wood, mud tubes or a visible termite presence. Be vigilant!

* Eliminate any sources of moisture or standing water, as water attracts termites and other insects.

* Divert water away from your property through properly-functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

* Seal cracks and small openings along your house's foundation, and screen windows and doors.

* Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house.

* Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently. 

* Keep all food containers sealed and avoid leaving pet food dishes out for long periods of time.

* Keep trash containers clean and sealed, both indoors and outdoors.

* Do not stack firewood or lumber near your home, and inspect it carefully before bringing it indoors.

* If your home is newly constructed, remove old form boards and grade stakes left behind.

* If you see signs of an insect or termite infestation, contact a licensed pest professional promptly to treat it.

For more tips on seasonal pests, visit PestWorld.org, where you also can use the site's "Find a Pro" zip code locator if you have a problem that needs professional help.

"Remember, a termite colony can chew 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so if you see signs of a problem move quickly to contact a pest professional to eliminate it," urges Henriksen.


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