National Week Aims to Help Homeowners Protect Health and Property Value

National Inspect and Protect Week observed October 4-8

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- With temperatures dropping, we aren't the only ones looking forward to a cozy bed at the end of the day; pests and rodents are also on the prowl for a place to call home. During National Inspect and Protect Week, RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment) © will give homeowners the tools they need to prevent pests from finding a home in and around their own this fall and winter season.

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Dedicated to raising awareness of the potential damage pests can cause, National Inspect and Protect Week, Oct. 4-8, encourages individuals to inspect their homes for pests in order to protect their family's health and their property's value.

"Bedbugs have covered the front pages of news media in recent months, but in the meantime, significant damage caused by a multitude of other pests has gone overlooked," says Janet Hurley, Integrated Pest Management Specialist for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and National Inspect and Protect Week spokesperson.  "This week provides the perfect opportunity to highlight these issues as they become more relevant during colder months."

To help homeowners pest-proof their homes for the fall, RISE suggests homeowners follow the steps outlined by the acronym I.N.S.P.E.C.T. By INvestigating, Studying, Preparing, Eliminating, Cleaning and Treating, individuals can effectively diagnose their pest problem, move to a safe solution, and protect their homes and families from future harm. More information about each step can be found on www.debugthemyths.com.

Uncontrolled pest populations can adversely affect health in many ways. Rodent and insect populations not only contribute to disease transmission and food contamination, but also cause asthma in children. In November 2008, a study by the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) indicated that developing antibodies to cockroach and mouse proteins was associated with a great risk for wheeze, hay fever, and eczema in preschool-aged children living in urban environments.  The study, published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggested interventions directed toward cockroach and mouse allergen reduction may have strong long-term benefit to inner city children susceptible to these exposures.

Additionally, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac poses risk to children and adults alike as more than one-half of the U.S. population is allergic to these noxious weeds, while ragweed plants release millions of pollen grains each day, irritating seasonal allergies.

In addition to health impacts, pests also can affect the value of our homes. Houses and business properties that overlook well maintained lawns receive higher preference and value as compared to properties that either do not have a lawn or have one that has not been maintained well enough. According to a survey conducted by Virginia Tech University, the change in value observed from a home with an uncontrolled lawn to a home with a well maintained lawn ranged from 5.5 percent to 11.4 percent.

In addition to the easy-to-follow I.N.S.P.E.C.T. checklist, www.debugthemyths.com/inspectandprotect includes resources such as lesson plans, coloring pages and mazes to help educate children about the difference between good and bad pests, and the importance of maintaining a clean, pest-free home.  The website also provides interactive tools that help identify pests, a forum to ask questions of pest experts, and even the opportunity to submit videos of pesky pest problems for the chance to win $250 to Home Depot.

"Pest inspection and prevention can be a less than glamorous task, but the resources and activities provided at www.debugthemyths.com help make the job a little easier, and a lot more fun," Hurley says.

About RISE

Established in 1991, RISE is a national not-for-profit trade association who works as a resource to the media and provides journalists and others with current and accurate information on key pesticide and fertilizer issues. They educate about the benefits of specialty pesticide and fertilizer use and the risks posed by pests, that left untreated can cause serious health and safety threats.

SOURCE RISE

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