ATLANTA — Atlanta-based Orkin Pest Control has announced its third annual "Top 20 Termite Cities" list with the top three unchanged. Miami continues to lead with Tampa and Atlanta following. Los Angeles moved up to fourth from fifth place.
According to the survey, which is based on the number of homes being treated for termites, the pests consumed enough wood last year to build 238 new homes, in just the 20 cities alone.
Orkin's consumer specialist Judy Donner noted that while the hot, moist climate makes southern cities popular among termites, they are found throughout the country. The only termite-free state is Alaska.
"Homeowners, too, may provide termites with the ideal environment they need to survive and multiply," Donner warned. "Once termites find a wood source in your home, they will eat 24 hours a day, 365 days a year until it is gone," she added.
Donner suggested the following home tips to help discourage termites:
* Eliminate moisture on pipes and crawl spaces.
* Ventilate crawl spaces throughout the house.
* Remove loose wood (firewood, tree stumps, etc.) from beneath and around the house.
* Remove trellises from exterior walls.
* Replace wooden sills on basement windows with concrete.
* Install small-mesh screens on attic windows and vents.
Donner also advised homeowners to call a professional for a free home inspection. "An untrained eye may have difficulty spotting infestation signs since termites work deep inside the wood," she said. "Thousands of dollars worth of damage may be caused before termites are found."
Commonly found subterranean termites can have 1 million workers, headed by a queen capable of producing up to 10,000 eggs annually.
Top Termite Cities
Miami remains in the top spot on its termite list, Orkin Pest Control reports, but Los Angeles moved up to fourth from fifth place.
CITY 1990 1989 RANK RANK Miami 1 1 Tampa 2 2 Atlanta 3 3 Los Angeles 4 5 Norfolk, Va. 5 8 Washington, D.C. 6 4 Orlando, Fla. 7 6 Raleigh, N.C. 8 11 Dallas 9 14 Houston 10 10 St. Louis 11 13 Greenville, S.C. 12 12 Charleston, W.Va. 13 7 Charlotte, N.C. 14 9 Nashville, Tenn. 15 17 Richmond, Va. 16 19 Jacksonville, Fla. 17 -- West Palm Beach 18 16 New Orleans 19 18 Roanoke, Va. 20 20