Termites are a common threat to homes in the South, with Eastern Subterranean termites being the most common in Northeast Georgia. American Pest Control has been servicing homes in the area since 1971 and their technicians are highly trained in insect identification. When 2018 Technician of the Year, Andy Deutsch, spotted a drywood termite in the Five Points area of Athens, he knew he had encountered something different. With the assistance of termite manager and long-time employee, David Butler and Dr. Brian Forschler of the UGA Entomology department, the insect was positively identified as a West Indian drywood termite. After discovering the infestation, Andy noted “I was absolutely shocked to find the species in this part of Georgia, especially being a structural infestation and not just in a piece of furniture.”
According to the National Pest Management Association, drywood termites can chew through support beams, floors and walls, causing expensive home repairs. Termite species cause a collective $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States. In Northeast Georgia, that damage is usually caused by Eastern Subterranean Termites, not drywood. This species is usually seen along coasts, and can be transported in furniture and other timbers. “Somebody brought in a piece of furniture or a piece of artwork, had it sitting in the house, and had a swarm from that structure. That’s the only way it could have gotten started.”, said Dr. Brian Forschler , Principal Investigator for the University of Georgia Household and Structural Entomology Research Program.
To help homeowners reduce conditions conducive to Eastern Subterranean termite activity, American Pest Control is sharing tips to protect homes:
- Storage: Store firewood and other wood storage items 20 feet or more away from the structure.
- Moisture: Termites need moisture to survive. Reduce moisture content in a crawl space by having a moisture barrier installed.
- Wood to Earth: Eliminate wood to earth contact on deck posts, stairs, and other wooden structures attached to the home by insulating points of the structure that contact the ground with a concrete barrier.
- Inspect: Always check for evidence of pest activity when introducing furniture or other wooden items to the home.
- Call on a Professional: When purchasing a home, contact a well-trained pest professional to complete a preliminary inspection.
To protect your home from the threat of termite damage or in the case of an active infestation, be sure to contact a licensed pest management professional immediately. For more information and prevention tips, please visit http://www.ampest.com.