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As spring and summer roll around, homeowners’ thoughts turn to landscaping and beautifying the yard. Many homeowners like to mulch the landscaping plants for many reasons; it keeps down weeds, retains moisture, and looks good, among other things. However, mulch is not a completely innocent substance. Mulch is a wood product, and unfortunately, there are insects that can damage property that love to live in mulch.

The first is carpenter ants. One of their key attributes is that they chew up tons of wood into fine sawdust that rots, turns into compost that in woodsy areas is great for new growth. However, when the wood they have chewed up is the wooden floors, siding, or other parts of the house, they are no longer beneficial. They hollow out the wood of the dwelling in order to build nests. It may be years before the ants create a lot of damage to a dwelling, from doors and windows that stick to floors that slope, ceilings that sag, and walls that bulge, but the infestation may not be noticed until the damage is done.

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Christine G. Barlow, CPCU

Christine G. Barlow, CPCU, is Managing Editor of FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation, a division of National Underwriter Company and ALM. Christine has over twenty-five years’ experience in the insurance industry, beginning as a claims adjuster then working as an underwriter and underwriting supervisor handling personal lines. Before joining FC&S, Christine worked as an Underwriting Supervisor for Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, and as Senior Underwriter/Underwriter for companies Montgomery Mutual, Old American, Charter Group, and Nationwide. The publications Christine has written or edited include Personal Lines Unlocked: The Key to Personal Lines Underwriting, Personal Lines Endorsements Coverage Guide, Commercial Flood Insurance Coverage Guide, Personal Flood Insurance Coverage Guide, Homeowners Personal Lines Coverage Guide 5th Edition, Personal Umbrella Coverage Guide 2nd Edition, and Condominium Coverage Guide 2nd Edition, all published by the National Underwriter Company. Christine regularly writes for Claims Magazine and National Underwriter Magazine. Christine regularly presents and moderates webinars on a variety of topics and is an experienced presenter. Christine graduated cum laude from Towson University, Maryland, with a degree in Sociology/Psychology with a concentration in Gerontology.

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