TODAY   |  March 28, 2014

Bug alert! Dealing with creepy crawlers at home

As the weather warms, Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association visits TODAY to analyze which pests and bugs represent the most serious risks, and what you do to prevent an infestation in your home.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> morning for that. waiting all morning for that. it's also the sound of spring, tamron. and we're glad it's finally here. we're not so happy about the bugs that start showing up with it.

>> and some pose serious risk to our health. you'll want to know how to prevent an infestation. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> as a punishment for being mean to me, we're going to make willie put these ants in his pants. the reality is, this is springtime, but are all of these pests damaging to us personally or our property?

>> fortunately, no. but there will be a lot of insects this spring. they're just as excited for the warm weather as we are. and it is important people understand about the risks they can pose to property and to health.

>> okay.

>> let's take a look at some of these. we've got ants down here, live ants and wood. what kind of damage can they do?

>> yeah. first of all, ants are the number one nuisance pests in america. the ones you typically think of crawling across your countertops and sugar bowl . good news is, no property risk and no damage to our health. but they can contaminate food sources. the ants you most want to worry about this season are the carpenter ants , the big ones we have here. they can actually do damage to wood. you'll see some of their handy work right here.

>> wow.

>> a lot of people are surprised. it's a beautiful piece of art, but not something we want in our home.

>> what can you do about it?

>> the most important thing is to eliminate the moisture. that's what they're attracted to. leaky ceilings, leaky pipes, good time of year to take care of this.

>> moving on to termites.

>> yeah, we've got termites here. called the silent destroyer. they can eat away at our homes 24 hours a day , 7 days a week. they can eat a cup of wood every two hours.

>> wow.

>> yeah. so all of this destruction actually equates to about $5 billion worth of property damage every year. and generally that damage is not covered under your homeowners insurance policy.

>> how do you know?

>> it's a good question. this wood looks fine from this side, but actually if you turn it over, we'll see the damage these temperature mites have caused. so it is important to have an annual inspection done for termites at least every year, every 1 to 3 years. also interesting to note, termites don't just eat on the wood, they eat the cellulose in wood. so they'll eat books and even in our wallpaper, too. this is the pest you want to contact a professional to inspect.

>> now we get into ticks that affect your health.

>> these are the ones we hear associated with lyme disease which can be debilitating. certainly these are found in certain parts of the country, but ticks are all over. different species do transmit different diseases.

>> what do you do?

>> important to cover your head if you're outside in the woods. you really want to make sure to put insect repellant with at least 20%, and cover up, put your pants inside your socks and shoes.

>> extra measures for kids?

>> kids we want to pay attention to. you want to inspect. spring is a really heavy time where lyme disease is transmitted. if you do find a tick on your child, most people don't know how to take care of them properly. they want to take a pair of fine-nosed tweezers, put them as close as you can to where the tick is and pull upward. don't want to twist or turn.

>> it can be a sign of lyme disease if you see that bull's eye rash. but you can still have lyme without it. so if you suspect something, go see a doctor.

>> what are we looking at here?

>> a variety of different stinging insects. they are a pest, that buzzing sound we hear, be fearful. they send over 1/2 million people to the hospital every year. if you see signs of some kind of stinging insects on your property, you want to contact a professional to take care of that.

>> thank you. we're out of time, but great information this