Some ugly little buggers can do a frightening amount of damage to your home. Experts say this season is a bad one for termites because of the mild winter.
Gary Shifflett and his crew from Blue Ridge Termite and Pest Management Group have been on more inspections this past month than the entire spring 2012 season. Because the ground didn't freeze very much, the little pests are closer to the surface.
"This is the time of year, with the snow that we had, the moisture content in the ground, it's just pushing these swarmers, pushing them to the top," Shifflett said.
Termites may be tiny, but they can do huge damage to your home. Homeowner Bill Bridge says he would rather pay for proactive treatments than a pest problem later.
"In this economy too, you're trying to save every penny you can and save what you need to and with housing values up and down that's just an added cost that no one needs," he said.
So how do you know if your home is infested? Experts say to keep an eye out for unexplained mud or dirt inside your house. Also look for tiny holes in wooded areas or what appear to be small, white maggots inside of dirt.
Experts say wood-to-ground areas are especially easy for termites to infest because it's an area of their own without other animals or insects inside the space.
If you happen to see a swarm of termites, your home may be infested with a mature colony - which has more than one million termites. A colony that size can eat 12 to 16 inches of wood a year.
Ridge says termites aren't the only problem; he's happy the pesticide used on his home kills other bugs too.
"Especially with stinkbugs - major problem around here, lady bugs as well," Bridge said.
Termite season runs through June. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause about $5 billion in damage every year.