When nights get cooler shut out unwelcome pests

 It won’t be long before nights turn cooler, and legions of critters begin looking for a warmer place. That’s when many homeowners schedule their semiannual pest control service. There are also several things homeowners can do themselves to help shut out unwelcome multi-legged pests.  

KRISTI BAILEY

Some do-it-yourself preventive maintenance outside the home can help keep pests outside where they belong. Take advantage of the nice weather to check out the underside of your home’s siding with a mirror. If you find gaps, stuff them with copper mesh and seal them with latex caulk or foam. Windows, doors, and basement sashes should also be sealed with adhesive-backed weather stripping. 

As annoying as most pests are, they pale in comparison to termites. 

Termites are the biggest threats to a home despite the scary news about floods and wildfires. The National Pest Management Foundation says they cause about $5 billion in property damage a year in the United States.  

 Termites are sometimes called silent destroyers. They earned the moniker because when you find infestation signs, much of their damage is already done. That’s why preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure they don’t eat a chunk out of your home investment.   

 Termites may take up residence in a home for years – even decades – before they’re noticed. All the time, they’re nibbling away at the structure. An average subterranean termite colony can consume a two-by-four per year.  

 Older homes – like most of them here in the NE Tenn. SW Va. region – could have cracked foundations. That puts them at risk. But new homes aren’t immune if pretreatments during construction aren’t done correctly. When that happens, termite swarms can take hold as quickly as five years. 

 The Department of Housing and Urban Development and termites.com put Tennessee in a moderate to serious threat in its Termite Infestation Probability Zone. Another source is Pestpatrol.com’s section on “Destructive Termites in Tennessee” at http://www.termite.com/termites/termites-tennessee.html.    

A termite and home pest inspection are insurance against the unexpected. Buyers should also check to see if the sellers already a termite protection program in place have – many do. 

 For homeowners, inspections and preventative maintenance are essential steps to ensure the safety and value of a home and its resale value. Many choose the annual pest control protection service as a good time the check for signs of termites.  

 Exterminators also offer these tips homeowners so homeowners can help keep termites out of their homes: 

   – Eliminate standing water. Pests, such as ants, mosquitoes, and termites, are attracted to moisture. 

   – Keep tree branches cut back.  

   – Make sure that there are no cracks or tiny openings around the bottom of your house.  

   – Make sure that firewood and building materials are not stored next to your home. Pests like to build nests in stacks of wood. 

   You can find more information about termites, pest control, and myriad other items and issues of interest to homeowners at HouseLogic.com. It’s a consumer service of local and national REALTORS® intended to demonstrate that homeowner-REALTOR® relationship extends beyond the core areas of buying and selling real estate.    

NETAR is the voice for real estate in Northeast Tennessee. It is the largest trade association in the Northeast Tennessee – Southwest Virginia region representing over 1,500 members and 100 affiliates involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Pending sales, Trends Reports, and the regional market analytics can be found on the NETAR websites at https://netar.us/voice-real-estate-northeast-tennessee.