The most significant damage to property within the U.S. is caused by termites which readily feed on wood in structures and other cellulose materials. The National Pest Control Association (NPCA) reports that termites attack 600,000 homes annually, causing more than $1.5 billion in damage.
Because the damage to structures is usually slow, it typically goes undetected for years so that the cumulative effects can be staggering. Eventually, the termite feeding activity can cause floors and ceilings to sag, walls to crack, and wood to become structurally unsound, resulting in the need for major structural repairs.
Rodents, especially rats, are a close second to termites in causing property damage and are responsible for $500 million to $1 billion in property damage per year. Approximately 20% of fires of unknown origin are suspected as having been caused by rodents gnawing on electrical wiring. They also gnaw holes through walls, doors, and cabinets, etc., in order to gain access to and move throughout the structure in their search for food, water, and nesting sites. They destroy millions of dollars’ worth of food products and carry several diseases which affect human and domestic animal health.