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Guess Which Cities Have the Biggest Termite Problems?

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Los Angeles homeowners have more than a few reasons to knock on wood.

The City of Angels just topped a list of the nation’s most termite-infested metropolitan areas, according to a recent report from pest control company Orkin. L.A. knocked off perpetual champion Miami to claim the dubious honor for the first time, with Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; and Chicago rounding out the top five.

Termite infestations can cause dangerous—and expensive to fix—structural damage to homes if the problem goes untreated.

The list was based on metropolitan areas (that’s the city and surrounding towns and suburbs) where Orkin performed the most first-time termite treatments between Feb. 1, 2021, and Jan. 31, 2022.

The “winners” of this year’s list all shared similar climates that made them ideal homes for both subterranean (in the ground) and dry-wood species of termites.

“Miami and Los Angeles are very similar as coastal cities,” says Orkin entomologist Glenn Ramsey. “Both have subterranean and dry-wood [termites], so that compounds termite activity. High humidity, high moisture in the ground, will elevate the ability of termites to survive in larger numbers.”

Termites are drawn to sources of cellulose, including the wood inside of homes. They range from a 16th of an inch to about an inch long. That small size doesn’t mean they are an entirely hidden menace, however. Termite infestations will show telltale signs that can be spotted with a bit of vigilance.

Dry-wood termites produce holes in the wood they are eating, kicking out a pile of pellets through the hole. Subterranean termites will build mud tubes from the ground to the wood that can be spotted along the foundation of a home.

Even well-hidden termites will show signs of their presence like warped flooring, rippled paint, and hollow-sounding wood in the areas where they are feeding.

Luckily, there are steps homeowners can take to make even the hidden parts of their home less appetizing to these pests. Ensuring that moisture is not collecting around the foundation of your home is a good way to ward off termite species that need moist ground to live.

Regular once-overs of the exterior of a home can help catch termites before they become a scourge.

“A good thing that homeowners can do is just inspect their yard,” says Truly Nolen Pest Control branch manager Ed Baker. He’s based in Pompano Beach, FL. “In my yard specifically, I noticed that my fence was starting to come apart. When I did a very close inspection, I saw that it had termites in it. If you have any stumps around the property, you can also drill into them and see [if there are] termites in there.

If you spot termites in your home, it’s not the end of the world. Termites consume wood relatively slowly. It takes around five months for 60,000 termites to eat a foot of a two-by-four. A difference of a few days between discovery and treatment won’t do much harm.

“There’s nothing you need to do today to prevent more damage,” says Ramsey. “The best thing you can do is write down where you saw the termite activity, for when pest control comes.”

The post Guess Which Cities Have the Biggest Termite Problems? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

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