Termite invasion destroying GTA homes

WATCH: Termites are eating their way through GTA homes at alarming rate. Cindy Pom reports. 

TORONTO – If you’re a Greater Toronto Area homeowner and having termite problems, you’re not alone.

Reports of these pesky insects burrowing inside homes across Ontario have been growing in recent years.

According to statistics, termites cause an estimated $120 million in property damage a year in Toronto alone, which can then drop neighbourhood property values by up to 25 per cent.

“Even though a single termite is just six millimetres long, a colony can contain anywhere from 50,000 to one million workers,” said Horacio Parreira, owner of City & Country Pest Control in a media release. “Left undetected, an infestation can cause serious damage to a home’s structural foundation, and even cause houses to collapse.”

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In recent years, the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association has called for building codes to mandate the use of masonry.

The organization suggests the highly durable form of construction can help act as a barrier by minimizing the home’s wood-soil contact which is a key entry point for termites.

A study released by Western University researchers say these insect colonies can grow very large and is believed to be linked to their genes.

“No matter where you find termites in the GTA, they are all very similar genetically, almost like kin,” said Western University biology professor Graham Thompson.

“Their genetic similarity may prompt termites from different properties or even neighbourhoods to join together as if they were one big family.”

Pest control experts say termiticide, administered by ministry-licensed technicians, is normally used to treat infested buildings.

However, one of the best ways to get rid of termites is to prevent them from appearing in the first place by treating the foundations of buildings undergoing construction or renovation.

WATCH: Western University biologists examine the Canadian termite invasion

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