Termites flourish during rainy summer

Crystal Clark reports

- The hot and rainy summer is creating a big problem for homeowners. Termites, which thrive in humidity, are wreaking havoc across the Bay Area.

May through August is typically swarming season, when drywood termites expand their colonies. The wood-eating insects can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. 

"The summers are getting longer, and the summers are getting hotter. The hotter it is, the more they thrive in heat," said Alex Hunter, a fumigation supervisor at Haskell Termite and Pest Control in Tampa.

According to Rick Freeman, Vice President  of Operations at Haskell, the rapid growth of the termite population, due to the hot and wet summers over the past few years, has created a boom in business. The company is nearly booked for tenting jobs through September.

Tenting is a process where exterminators cover a house with a tarp and pump poisonous gas into the sealed structure for about 24-hours. Homeowners and pets must leave during fumigation. Tenting can rid a home of termites for up to seven years.

According to pest experts, the tell-tale sign of a termite infestation is little piles of wings or spots that look like coffee grounds around window sills and doors. If a termite infestation is not addressed, the bugs can eat through nearly any wood structure in a home.

"They could tear up a two-by-four, they could tear up a half a wall," said Hunter.

And new homes are not immune to termite issues. Experts advise homeowners to stop the problem before it starts by having their home inspected annually.

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