Here's a list you won't want your town on: termites. The insect exterminator Terminix this week revealed its top-15 markets for termites.
And the winner is--Mobile, Ala., which reported the most cases of termite infestations in 2016, followed by three cities in Texas and four in Florida.
"We consistently see higher levels of termite activity in the southern United States, particularly in and around coastal cities where the weather is damp and humid -- the perfect environment for a growing termite colony," said Paul Curtis, manager of technical services for Terminix.
The high number of infestations in Florida, an ideal termite environment, can also be attributed to the presence of six invasive species, including the Formosan subterranean termite, Asian subterranean termite and West Indian drywood termite. Pest Control Technology reported that researchers from the University of Florida predict these species will continue to expand, potentially impacting half of the structures in South Florida by the year 2040.
Here's the full list:
- Mobile, Ala.
- San Antonio, Texas
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Tampa, Fla.
- Miami, Fla.
- Los Angeles, Calif.
- Orlando , Fla.
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Dallas, Texas
- Baton Rouge, La.
- Houston, Texas
- Oklahoma City, Okla.
- San Diego, Calif.
- Philadelphia, Pa.
- Little Rock, Ark.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, each year in the United States, termite infestations impact more than 600,000 homes. They cause roughly $5 billion in damage and repairs for homeowners. The cost of termite damage is rarely covered by insurance plans, so many homeowners are left to foot the bill on their own.
To prevent termites from chewing through their wallets, homeowners should be on the look-out for signs of an infestation, including termite droppings, discarded wings, hollow or damaged wood, and mud tubes -- pencil-sized dirt tunnels -- near the bases of homes.
Prior to encountering one of these signs, there are several preventive measures homeowners can take to help reduce the risk of an infestation. Terminix suggests these four strategies:
- Trim all shrubbery near home exteriors to allow airflow and quickly dry damp areas
- Use products such as synthetic mulch or pea gravel when landscaping
- Properly maintain home exteriors to prevent water from leaking into wooden siding and windows
- Ensure crawl spaces are properly ventilated to minimize the amount of moisture around floor joists and subflooring