Tough economic times have prompted some Jersey homeowners to make tough choices.

They may forgo pest management at a time when they need it the most.

New Jersey Pest Management Association head Len Douglen says the economic downturn, people losing jobs, and tight household budgets are keeping some homeowners from paying attention to termites, ants and other household pests that can destroy a property.

"Insect and rodent pests do not care about the state of the economy," says Douglen, "But everyone trying to keep up with rising costs at the gas pump and elsewhere is well aware of it."

Spring and summer months are the most active time for pests. Nationwide termites alone cause more than $5 billion in damage annually.

Douglen says, "This alone is ample reason for homeowners and others to have regular inspections to detect an active colony and, more importantly, to seek advice on the many ways termites and other insects should be deterred from gaining access."

Douglen makes the point that certain things can be do-it-yourself projects. But he advises homeowners to be very cautious about letting pest management go. Douglen explains they get adequate advice to make sure do-it-yourself doesn't wind up being more expensive.

Douglen makes the point that your home is probably your biggest investment. And even when money is tight you still have to protect it from unwanted, insidious intruders, such as bugs, rodents and the like.