Does my home have termites?
This is the question every home owner has about their home, and more importantly, what every home buyer wonders about the home they are interested in purchasing.
Some home sellers have their own termite inspection done before selling their homes. While these inspections are usually truthful, I always recommend that home buyers get an independent inspection by a company of their choosing. Like Blue Ridge Termite.
What will a termite inspection tell me?
First, a “termite” inspection (as it is commonly called) is officially called a wood destroying insects (WDI) inspection, leading to an official WDI report. Wood destroying insects, as defined by North Carolina law, means “organism such as termite, beetle, other insect, or fungus which may devour or destroy wood or wood products and other cellulose material in, on, under, in contact with, and around structures.”
If any of these organisms were not inspected for, it should be noted specifically on the report. The inspection report will note any visible signs or evidence of infestation. These signs can include termite wings, frass (fine wood particles or powdered wood), damaged wood or mud tubes. If the termite inspector sees any actual live wood destroying organisms, he lists the locations, and the organisms, separately on the report. Your inspector will also list separately any areas in your home that have been damaged by these organisms.
In addition to the “bugs” portion of the report, your inspector will also note whether or not he sees any signs that the structure has been treated for wood destroying organisms and whether or not any current evidence of infestation appears active or not.
What areas are inspected?
Termite inspectors should inspect all areas that are visible and accessible at the time of inspection including, but not limited to, attics, crawl spaces or outbuildings.
The report is not an opinion as to whether or not you have infestations in areas such as, but not necessarily limited to, those that are enclosed or inaccessible, areas concealed by wall coverings, floor coverings, furniture, equipment, stored articles, or any portion of the structure in which inspection would necessitate removing or defacing any part of the structure.
In other words, the report only tells you whether there is evidence of infestation in visible areas.
What if you don’t see anything live?
Not seeing live wood destroying organisms is not a guarantee that a live infestation doesn’t exist. In fact, much of the time an infestation is active but finding the actual live bugs would mean we’d have to damage the structure–something we’re not allowed to do unless specifically authorized by the home owner or agent. And even if you did tell us to tear your home or structure apart, the bugs may still prove to be elusive, and may only reveal themselves for certain during a swarm event.
For this reason, if any evidence of infestation is reported, and no evidence, or very dated evidence of treatment is found, it’s very important to find out whether or not the structure has in fact been treated. And more importantly, whether or not the structure is under a current treatment contract for the wood destroying organism(s) in question. If there is evidence of infestation with no visible evidence of treatment, a treatment of the structure must be done before the issuance of a Wood-Destroying Insect Information Report on the structure which states that the structure is free from subterranean termites or that a previous infestation is inactive.
You said there is damage. How bad is it?
As wood destroying organisms inspectors, we are qualified to determine the type of organism that caused damage to a particular wood member, but are not trained to provide an opinion as to the structural soundness are any particular piece of wood.
The top of the Wood-Destroying Insect Information Report sates clearly:
THIS IS NOT A STRUCTURAL DAMAGE REPORT.
What about mold?
Mold is not listed as a Wood Destroying Organism and is outside the scope of the WDI information report. If you wish your property to be inspected for mold or mold-like conditions, please contact the appropriate mold professional.
Have more questions?
Call us or fill out our online form to learn more, or to arrange your WDI inspection.