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Article Teaser: Two very different, but serious pest control problems are showing up unexpectedly across the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of neglected homes are sitting vacant, sometimes for years, due to the mortgage crisis and the stagnant real estate market.

Keep reading below...

Foreclosures Causing Major Pest Control Problems

Copyright (c) 2008-2017

Two very different, but serious pest control problems are showing up unexpectedly across the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of neglected homes are sitting vacant, sometimes for years, due to the mortgage crisis and the stagnant real estate market. Guess who moved in.

From California to Florida, and from Michigan to Arizona, the mortgage crisis is causing pest control problems across the U.S. So far, two serious but different problems have emerged. The first is termites, the second is mosquitoes.

The cause of the problems is essentially the same... neglect. The homes at greatest risk have been unoccupied the longest. In some cases homes have been unoccupied for several years, either because they've been for sale in a stagnant real estate market, or because they have been foreclosed, then put on the market.

To be foreclosed, the homeowner had to be in arrears long before foreclosure. During that time, they most likely didn't get the home inspected for termites. It wasn't a priority. Even if they knew they had a termite problem, they weren't financially able to do anything about it. Then comes the foreclosure process which can take several months to a year in some cases. If the home didn't sell at auction, it went back on the market, to wait a while longer. The neglect drags on.

All this time, the termites are happily munching away. Eventually someone will have a real problem to deal with. Foreclosed properties are nearly always sold as-is. That means any seller can get the home inspected, but as a general rule, the bank will not make repairs. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of room to negotiate this issue.

Termite exterminators are reporting larger and more active swarms on the west coast of Florida From Tampa to Ft. Myers. The research that has been done on drywood termites indicates a typical colony consists of 5,000 to 10,000 termites. It can take four years for termites to mature to the point that they begin to swarm. By that time a home may have multiple colonies. Experts believe the termite colonies in the empty, uninspected homes could be growing larger than normal. Larger colonies can lead to the larger swarms observed by the inspectors and exterminators.

It has been estimated that termites do more damage than all tornadoes, hurricanes, and wind storms combined and involve 5 times as many houses as fire. In the United States, the cost of treating and repairing damage caused by termites has been estimated to be between 1.2 and five billion dollars a year.

Inspecting for termites is the key to early detection and removal. The State of Florida requires that termite inspectors be licensed. It takes an expert to find termites

The bottom line is that anyone purchasing a home that has been through foreclosure will need to get a termite inspection immediately. The chances are quite high that after several years of neglect a termite treatment will be needed as well. In fact, considering the risk, the treatment would be excellent insurance against future problems.

A number of the homes involved in the ongoing mortgage crisis have swimming pools. If the homes get neglected, the pools do too, leading to a second widespread pest control problem - mosquitoes. Even houses without a pool can have areas of standing water that can breed mosquitoes,

Mosquitoes are a problem first because they bite and are a nuisance. But more importantly mosquitoes are also a serious threat because they can carry three diseases: Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), and West Nile fever / encephalitis (WNV). All of these diseases are caused by viruses that are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. In addition, mosquitoes can transmit heart worm in dogs.

If an unoccupied home has a pool, it can be a threat. If the pool has an intact screen enclosure, and if the doors of the enclosure are kept closed, the mosquitoes have no way to use it to breed. If, on the other hand, there is no screen enclosure or if the enclosure has holes, or if the doors aren't kept closed, well then all heck can break loose.

One neglected pool can be the source of hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes in a very short period of time. In Florida, over the course of a summer, one untreated pool can yield millions of mosquitoes, each one potentially carrying disease.

Some areas of the country, including California, Florida and Arizona, have so many pools involved that they have enlisted the help of airplanes and helicopters to help locate and photograph unattended pools. One mosquito control district in California created a dedicated swimming pool crew tasked solely with finding and treating neglected swimming pools.

Once found, technicians on the ground will cross reference photos with street maps to locate the potential threats. After they are located the pools will get treated with one of several options. Some mosquito districts use small pouches of organic material that last for months. Others use mosquito "dunks." Still other use various types of fish that can survive the conditions and eat the mosquito larva. Be aware that "dunks" and live fish don't mix.

Some are recommending a fish called Gambusia affinis, also called the mosquito fish. This species has been used by farmers to control mosquitoes in irrigation ditches and cattle ponds. Ecologists, however, warn that if Gambusia are released into the wild, they can wreak havoc with native fish and local ecosystems. These experts say any small fish that is native to the local area will eat mosquito larva and, if accidentally released, would not cause environmental problems. Other options include platys, mollys, swordfish and guppies. Contact your local fish shop with questions.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Russ Frank is the owner and manager of Florida Bug Inspectors. He holds all major pest control certifications offered by the State of Florida and has been solving pest control problems daily for over 25 years. Please visit his two sites: http://www.inspection-termite.com/ and http://www.pest-control-tampa.com/

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