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  1. #1
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    Default termite activity

    For those of you who do termite inspections, you understand the extra step of trying to determine if the evidence is from past activity, or if an infestation is still present. Sometimes the answer is not really easy to get.

    What are the ways and things you do to try find an answer to the past or current activity question?

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  2. #2
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: termite activity

    If we are talking about Sub-termites. First check to see if the building has ever been treated and how it was treated and with what and when and by ?

    If you have no information on any past treatments but you have evidence then you should call for a treatment. You do not need to see a live termite to make the call just evidence.

    If you do not make the call then you may end up paying for a treatment 6 months down the road...

    Best

    Ron


  3. #3
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    Default Re: termite activity

    It's true that most times it can be very difficult to "date" evidence of an infestation. Even if you have information about a treatment this may not be adequate.

    Call the evidence that you see and report just that. Recommend that the clients obtain documentation of any prior treatments from the seller and advise them to contact the company providing those treatments for additional information. I have seen some homes where there was evidence of past treatments such a holes drilled through slab areas for chemical injections and even found the required tags that were placed after a treatment yet evidence of termites is still visible. In these cases I cannot always, read not very often, determine if the treatment was successful. In Nevada the termite guys do not usually do significant repair work so any structural damage I would report just as I would if caused by other sources.

    Nevada Department of Agriculture tags only state the company name and license number, the date of treatment and the type, dilution rate and amount of chemicals used. It does not say how the chemicals were applied, where they were applied or if any non chemical procedures or repairs were completed. This type of information is typically not available to the home inspector unless provided by the seller in a disclosure or on site during the inspection.

    Even with the treatment report you cannot visibly verify that the treatment was done as they said or if the proper amounts of chemical were applied in the proper areas. Unfortunately with rising chemical and operating costs and the low level of termite activity in this area some applicators have been showing high levels of chemical application without actually using the rated amounts of material.

    Let the licensed pest guys "verify" the efficacy of their treatment and do not attempt to determine whether or not their work is adequate.

    Of course, if you can see live termites then likely the treatment was not adequate.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: termite activity

    John, are you using the NPMA 33 report? There's information on there about recommending re-treatment if the original treatment is older than 5 years or the paperwork isn't available.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    For those of you who do termite inspections, you understand the extra step of trying to determine if the evidence is from past activity, or if an infestation is still present. Sometimes the answer is not really easy to get.

    What are the ways and things you do to try find an answer to the past or current activity question?

    Down here we always had the same answer every time, and it was an indisputable answer: Evidence of termites can only be made by LIVE termites, and if there is no contract stating that there are no live termites, then LIVE termites are presumed to exit.

    Ever seen old damage with live termites in them? Yep.

    Ever seen new damage with live termites in them? Yep.

    That means that "old" or "new" does not determine or affect "damage with live termites", and the only way to presume the termites are 'not live' is to have evidence that someone killed them and that same someone says they is all still dead.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: termite activity

    Yup, NPMA 33.

    How far into affected wood components do you guys dig while looking for live insects?

    What about mud tubes? Lets say you find a hefty tube. Will moisture on the inner part of the tube be enough for you to conclude current activity.

    I do like Jerry's approach. Unless it can be proven otherwise, assume it so.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: termite activity

    John, I can count on one hand the amount to times I saw live termites last year. If I see mud tubing or galleries, I recommend treatment for the protection of the new homeowner. It doesn't matter whether it's old or new. I apply the five year criteria on the NPMA 33. Usually there's no paperwork available.

    If the house is covered under a currnet warranty, then I won't recommend treatment.

    A local exterminator will recommend treatment without any evidence of termites. If there are the patched drill holes, that's enough evidence for him to recommend re-treatment.


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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Yup, NPMA 33.

    How far into affected wood components do you guys dig while looking for live insects?

    What about mud tubes? Lets say you find a hefty tube. Will moisture on the inner part of the tube be enough for you to conclude current activity.

    I do like Jerry's approach. Unless it can be proven otherwise, assume it so.

    John,

    My experience in the termite biz has told me that if the termite tunnel appears to be dark in appearance that is an indicator that subterranean termites are still working that tunnel.

    Also any good termite control person will break down any active tubes at the time of the original treatment. If the tubes are found to be built back up again upon follow-up inspections, he can assume that termites are still active in that area.

    rick


  9. #9
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Even if you have the invoice or treatment sticker of a PCO stating that treatment was made recently, how do you know it is correct? Are you willing to guarantee the work of another person? Are you prepared to be labile for their work? Do you have a lot of extra $$$$$$$?

    I have seen PCO invoices stating pre-treatment on new builds, tested the areas purportedly treated, and found that no termiticide was used. I have also personally watched PCOs "treating" with only water or a very low concentration of termiticide.

    If you find evidence of previous activity, like others have said, how can you be certain that it is only previous and not current? The question about how far into the wood one should probe is absurd. Are you willing to tear the entire house down and sift through the wreckage with a microscope in order to satisfy your curiosity? I think not. Even so, what if you miss them?

    WDI Inspection Rule #1: Evidence of previous termite activity = termites.
    Thanks for your input and I'm not ashamed to admit I sometimes learn from what you say. Having said that, are questions that produce good information really absurd?


  10. #10
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    Even if you have the invoice or treatment sticker of a PCO stating that treatment was made recently, how do you know it is correct? Are you willing to guarantee the work of another person? Are you prepared to be labile for their work? Do you have a lot of extra $$$$$$$?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    the only way to presume the termites are 'not live' is to have evidence that someone killed them and that same someone says they is all still dead.

    Not sure if you missed the 'warranty' part at the end ... I even underlined it in my original post.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Thanks for all the good information everyone.

    Another concern is judging the structural damage caused by termite activity. Obviously, commenting on the visible damage is easy. About the non-visible damage issue, what do you say in your WDI reports and what recommendations do you make?


  12. #12
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Hello, My Name is Mark Sullivan, I am new to this site and I am the owner of Mark's Exterminating in Zachary Louisiana. to comment on the above, to me old tunnels, tunnel scares on slab or termites found 10ft from structure I recommend treatment or I walk. I have never had a termite call back in 15 years (knock on wood). I think i have just been lucky,,lol
    I have also watch people do pre-treats with water. They have a company here that will go out with a 500 gallon tank and do 12 pre-treats a day. and after last month where I got lucky, I will not do an inspection with out a infrared camera.

    If this guy would have called me 2 weeks before they swarmed in his kitchen, I would have passed the house on WDIR (Wood Destroying Insect Report). Myself and 3 other companies couid not find the termites on the outside to save ours lifes. It took a infrared to find them. (FORMOSAN Termites & $50,000.00 in damage later.

    So to me any thing with the hint of termite must be treated


    Mark Sullivan
    Mark's Exterminating
    225-938-4389
    Pest Control Services, Lawn Services | Zachary, LA


  13. #13
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    John,

    My experience in the termite biz has told me that if the termite tunnel appears to be dark in appearance that is an indicator that subterranean termites are still working that tunnel.

    Also any good termite control person will break down any active tubes at the time of the original treatment. If the tubes are found to be built back up again upon follow-up inspections, he can assume that termites are still active in that area.

    rick
    This is not always the case. In my 20 years in pest control, I have seen where tubes were removed, and they were rebuilt as the termites gradually died off. Additionally, another thing I have seen is that termites in the structure can build a tube DOWN to the soil and die when coming in contact with the treated soil.

    However, you should err on the side of protecting the buyer and make sure the home is protected.


  14. #14
    Jeff Ledford's Avatar
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Thanks for all the good information everyone.

    Another concern is judging the structural damage caused by termite activity. Obviously, commenting on the visible damage is easy. About the non-visible damage issue, what do you say in your WDI reports and what recommendations do you make?

    The NPMA 33 says that the inspector is not qualified in damage evaluation. If you use the NPMA 33 and make an evaluation of the damage, you could be crossing legal lines that may come back to bite you.


  15. #15
    Jeff Ledford's Avatar
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    Default Re: termite activity

    "Are you willing to guarantee the work of another person? Are you prepared to be labile for their work?"

    In all of the inspections I have done, I have never been held to covering the work of a company who had previously treated a home I later inspected. Your inspection report is in no way a guarantee of anything done by another company. You are not liable for their work, unless you cross a line and make statements with regard to that work. Not having been present during that treatment, you would be silly to make any statement about that treatment.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Cartwright View Post
    It's true that most times it can be very difficult to "date" evidence of an infestation. Even if you have information about a treatment this may not be adequate.

    Call the evidence that you see and report just that. Recommend that the clients obtain documentation of any prior treatments from the seller and advise them to contact the company providing those treatments for additional information. I have seen some homes where there was evidence of past treatments such a holes drilled through slab areas for chemical injections and even found the required tags that were placed after a treatment yet evidence of termites is still visible. In these cases I cannot always, read not very often, determine if the treatment was successful. In Nevada the termite guys do not usually do significant repair work so any structural damage I would report just as I would if caused by other sources.

    Nevada Department of Agriculture tags only state the company name and license number, the date of treatment and the type, dilution rate and amount of chemicals used. It does not say how the chemicals were applied, where they were applied or if any non chemical procedures or repairs were completed. This type of information is typically not available to the home inspector unless provided by the seller in a disclosure or on site during the inspection.

    Even with the treatment report you cannot visibly verify that the treatment was done as they said or if the proper amounts of chemical were applied in the proper areas. Unfortunately with rising chemical and operating costs and the low level of termite activity in this area some applicators have been showing high levels of chemical application without actually using the rated amounts of material.

    Let the licensed pest guys "verify" the efficacy of their treatment and do not attempt to determine whether or not their work is adequate.

    Of course, if you can see live termites then likely the treatment was not adequate.
    Excellent advice to anyone in any state.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: termite activity

    A treatment can be completed correctly in every way and sub-termites can still be working in unknown areas of the home. Best way the work with termites is to keep reinspecting year after year after a treatment.

    The Sub-termite can live up to 100 feet under the ground and no surface soil treatment is going to kill them that deep.

    Best

    Ron
    Excellence Exterminating Co. Inc.
    Termite Inspection | Pest Control | Fumigation | California - Santa Rosa - Sonoma County


  18. #18
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    Talking Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Thanks for all the good information everyone.

    Another concern is judging the structural damage caused by termite activity. Obviously, commenting on the visible damage is easy. About the non-visible damage issue, what do you say in your WDI reports and what recommendations do you make?
    You should have a standard line indicating that this is a limited visible inspection and that there may be hidden damage or activity beyond the scope of the inspection. The standard report does have that noted.

    It's more important that you don't miss the things that are obvious, like mud tubes and wings and body parts after a swarm.

    I did an inspection of a home for sale that had a termite treatment about 3 weeks earlier and asked to see the report/paperwork. Well, let's just say thata the paperwork looked like a 1st grader could have done better and that it appeared that they didn't treat all the areas. I found evidence of termites at the door frame of the detached garage, in the crawlspace under the rear family room, wings in the rear family room, and mud tubes right on the painted foundation wall next to the boiler (very obvious) and of course there was an area of a wood framing sole plate in the middle of the basement where the mud tubes were scraped off by the pest control tech and only treated in that area.

    The owners called the company back to come and do a complete treatment inside the basement and out.

    You should use a long screw driver and tap along the sill plates and rim joists, especially if there is evidence of moisture. Also tap around the basement window frames, this is a common area, as well as the sill plate and rim joists below the front entrance.

    Look at the condition of the threshold and door sill above, often times it is not properly covered, sealed or flashed and over time rain water makes it's way down to the sill plate and rim joists. If you don't check, you won't find it. I found it on a very stormy day when the basement of a house I was inspecting was taking on water from the ground and from a negative perimeter slope. I also discovered that the door sill was rotting above (two family-attached) and had a large gap between the door sill and the stoop.

    The buyer wanted the property, but the owner is liable to have the termite treatment. They negotiated the work to be done to replace the essential but damaged sill plate.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: termite activity

    In North Carolina when we do a WDIIR we have to report any evidence of termite, old house borers. powder post beetles, carpenter ants and carpenter bees.

    If evidence of termites is found and no treatment has been done the house has to be treated.
    Evidence consists of any termite damage in, on or under the structure. Also tubes whether active or not. If termites are found in landscape timbers 2 ft from the house and no contact with the house is made no treatment can be recommended. Most homes that were treated have no paperwork so if a bait system or a perimeter plus treatment was done there is no way to know and a treatment will be required. Our report form is one that is supplied by the state so we don't use th NPMA 33. This creates havoc with out of state banks.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: termite activity

    In louisiana we dont guarentee another company's work. The house must be treated to change companies. What I was stating is any evidence of termites , I will treat the structure or walk. I have seen homes treated perfectly and still have Termites going in some where else, Plus we have FORMOSANS also. Plus the other I went to a home to do a WDIR, and again the home was perfect. Slab was 8 inches, no shrubs, but no indication of treatment. I asked the home owner if it had ever been treated, he told me the company but said h had not renewed for the past 2 years. I was just about to start writing up the report and pass the home when I looked up and noticed a small piece of rotten wood in the eve. So I pulled out the camera, and went inside and scaned the walls. I picked up an image that carton looking shape and a curvie line coming down the wall. So I went back out side and dug about 6 inches into the soil against the slab, and found termites going in to the bubble cracks. (LOVE THIS IR CAMERA)

    on the damage park on my last post, I didnt quote or give a estimate on damage, I just know home much it was due to I was there every other day when they were tearing it all down & using bora-care and treating all wood that he was replacing.I saw the bill for all the construction,, My bill was nice to,,lol Every other day for a month 60 miles round trip,, would love to have 1 of those every month


    Mark


  21. #21
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    Default Re: termite activity

    I don't have a license to perform WDI. After reading this thread, I wonder if I was a home buyer, why would I want a WDI? Treatments are not a lot more expensive than the inspection in most cases and a good home inspection should identify the visible damage. I don't see why a home inspection + WDI makes as much sense as a home inspection + treatment.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Darrel, in NC if a home inspector reports on "termite damage" or anything else to do with wood destroying insects and actually identifies the insect he/she is in violation of our structural pest control laws and will be charged with a crime if caught at it. I have seen it happen twice. Also employees at hardware stores have been cited for practicing structural pest control without a license by discussing insects and their habits and giving advice on control. Thus a WDI is needed along with a home inspection.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Jerry,
    I understand that, but I'm not suggesting a home inspector mention bugs.

    I am suggesting a home inspector reports that there is visible damage at a specific location and recommends repairs.

    I am suggesting that a home buyer purchase a treatment without the cost of a WDI.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    I wonder if I was a home buyer, why would I want a WDI? Treatments are not a lot more expensive than the inspection ...
    Usually a big difference in prices, at least in Florida.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Martin View Post
    Darrel, in NC if a home inspector reports on "termite damage" or anything else to do with wood destroying insects and actually identifies the insect he/she is in violation of our structural pest control laws and will be charged with a crime if caught at it.
    Same rules in Florida too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    I am suggesting a home inspector reports that there is visible damage at a specific location and recommends repairs.

    I am suggesting that a home buyer purchase a treatment without the cost of a WDI.
    Not all termite damage is visible or found during a home inspection - structural damage, yes, that should be found during a home inspection - but when drywood termite pellets are found and no damage is seen, no damage will be on the home inspection report ... but ... 'visible evidence of termites' will be (should be) on the termite inspection report.

    I would call it completely foolish to recommend NOT having a termite inspection (I am calling it a 'termite' inspection because in some states it is a WDI and in other states it is a WDO inspection and report).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: termite activity

    The next time I buy a house, I will have it treated.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    The next time I buy a house, I will have it treated.
    Before or after you close and have a mortgage?

    If you treat it 'before', you might be treating it for the seller and then they balk on the deal, simply saying 'thank you for treating our house for us'. (That has happened, and more than once too.)

    If you treat it 'after' you close, you might find that there is no mortgage company who is willing to finance the house without it being treated first.

    And, more importantly, one is not allowed to treat 'until there is evidence of termites' because the chemicals are not intended to be used for 'preventative purposes' (other than termite pre-treatments for new construction).

    I doubt that most states would allow termite companies to go around treating houses which do not need treating - in know that would not work in Florida, and probably not in any other state with pest control licensing and use laws.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  27. #27
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    Default Re: termite activity

    "And, more importantly, one is not allowed to treat 'until there is evidence of termites' because the chemicals are not intended to be used for 'preventative purposes' (other than termite pre-treatments for new construction).

    I doubt that most states would allow termite companies to go around treating houses which do not need treating - in know that would not work in Florida, and probably not in any other state with pest control licensing and use laws."

    Finally, answers to my original question. Thank you.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Darrel while reporting damage what kind of damage would you call it on the report? What would you tell the buyer to treat for? How would you do this without advising the buyer to have a licensed PCO inspect the house?


  29. #29
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Jerry M.,
    In Texas, we must play a rather transparent and silly game in which we say "there is damaged wood, I recommend a WDI . . ." What's a PCO?


  30. #30
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    Default Re: termite activity

    PCO - Pest Control Operator

    CPCO - Certified Pest Control Operator

    I used to be a CPCO, until I retired, I no longer needed to keep that license current.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  31. #31
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    In Texas, we must play a rather transparent and silly game in which we say "there is damaged wood, I recommend a WDI . . ." What's a PCO?
    Basically the same in Florida if the home inspector is not also a CPCO (or carries an ID showing the are a WDO inspector under another CPCO), which is why so many home inspectors took the time and effort to become a CPCO, and so many others are a WDO inspector.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  32. #32
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    Talking Re: termite activity

    Here is one that should be put on list of weid crap Called out three weeksago ,late Saturday evening (5 oclock).Major termite problem ,crawing all overkitchen. Now remember this is Ohio Dec. Get at house about 6 oclock yes they were right critters crawling all over kitchen. Traced them back to a cabinet containing dog buscits Cost the client termite inspection fee to tell them they had maggots.


  33. #33
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Martin View Post
    Darrel, in NC if a home inspector reports on "termite damage" or anything else to do with wood destroying insects and actually identifies the insect he/she is in violation of our structural pest control laws and will be charged with a crime if caught at it. I have seen it happen twice. Also employees at hardware stores have been cited for practicing structural pest control without a license by discussing insects and their habits and giving advice on control. Thus a WDI is needed along with a home inspection.
    Not to take this thread in a different direction...But I will bet that at some point an exterminator or someone that made their living from identifying WDI was elected to the NC State Legislature.

    As a parallel, In Utah, Did you know that distribution heat ducts into rooms and return air duct of a gas fired unit is now considered (by law) part of the "Combustion Chamber" and can not be entered, (duct cleaning) taped (repaired) or anything else. unless you are "Gas Certified". Yep' An owner of one of the major HVAC companies (that did duct cleaning", was elected to the Legislature. Didn't like the competition I guess.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: termite activity

    Larry that is a good point but the Structural Pest Control laws were passed and in effect decades before we had Home Inspectors. I worked for Orkin in the early 70s and we had the laws then that made it a crime and in some instances a civil tort at the same time for anyone to practice Structural Pest Control without a License. There are three levels of credintials to do Structural Pest Control in NC. You start as a Regstered Technician. This requires 24 hours of in the field work under supervision then a classroom with a work book. Once the workbook phase is finished a school, approved by the state, has to be attended by the employee. Sucessful completion of this school will quailify the employee for a RT card. The second level is Certified Applicator. This phase requires testing in each phase desired to be certified in plus a core test. To be certified in P (household pests) & W (wood destroying insects) you have to pass both phases plus the core test with a score of 70% or more. The third phase is licenseing. This phase requires two or more years of actual field experience or a degree in Entomoigy. These tests are not easy as they get very specific. You will have to achive 70% or better on each phase of the exams. The license is not a business license as in other states that don't require testing past certified applicator. In NC the company is not licensed it is the individual who is responsible for all that happens under his license. As far as I know none of our current legislatures have any connection with a pest control company. The Structural Pest Control Committee, by law, does have one member of the industry. Also one member of the public and two entomoligists and government officials. To sum up we are really regulated here. I am one of only about 1250 licensees in NC. Compare that with over 40,000 licensed ground applicators who do yard work. To operate without a license or working under a licensee is a very serious offense and has gotten some people jail time. By the same token if I evaluated the damage and gave an opinion as to structural integerty,without a home inspector's license I could go to jail. We usually stay away from each other's fields. I have issues with only one home inspector who was including WDIs in his inspections for free. He made a deal with a LPCO to work under his lisense and made the WDI inspection while he was making the home inspection. He did a very good and accurate home inspection. Not so good with the wdis. There were things missed that caused problems for him and the licensee. It is just not good to mix the two in my opinion.
    Jerry Martin


  35. #35
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    Default Re: termite activity

    NC Department of Agriculture

    A Homebuyer's Guide for the
    Wood-Destroying Insect Report (WDIR)



    The North Carolina Official Wood-Destroying Insect Information Report (Form No. WDIR 100), adopted by the Structural Pest Control Committee, is used for reporting the presence or absence of wood-destroying insects and their evidence in structures for sale. To issue this report an individual must be licensed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Structural Pest Control Division or work for someone who is licensed to perform structural pest control work. It is the only form that is legal for this purpose and is required on almost every residential structure sold. Therefore, it is especially important that homebuyers, lenders and other interested individuals understand the scope and limitations of this form.

    How is the inspection performed and what is inspected?
    By law, an inspection for wood-destroying insects and their evidence is the careful visual examination of all accessible areas of a building and the sounding of accessible structural members adjacent to slab areas in contact with masonry walls and other areas particularly susceptible to attack by wood-destroying insects. Evidence includes both present and past activity of wood-destroying insects visible in, on or under a structure, or in or on debris under the structure. Permanently attached decks, porches, storage sheds, etc. are included in these inspections. Outbuildings or other detached structures are not routinely inspected unless specifically requested by the client. In order for the inspection to be completed correctly, the pest control operator (PCO) must have access to all interior and exterior areas of the structure to be inspected. Paragraphs I through 4 of the "Conditions Governing This Report" on the reverse side of the form, will discuss the extent of the inspection performed. Be familiar with these conditions. The PCO must indicate areas of the structure that were inaccessible at the time of his inspection. Obviously inaccessible areas, such as inside walls, beneath carpet or other floor coverings, etc., will not be listed separately. An inspection of inaccessible areas may necessitate the removal of walls and to provide access, which an additional fee may be charged.

    What will be reported?
    The WDIR is issued for informational purposes and is required to reveal information concerning evidence of wood-destroying insects only. The PCO must report all visible evidence of wood-destroying insects and any conditions conducive to subterranean termites. The WDIR is not a warranty as to the absence of wood-destroying insects; it is a report of the visible presence or absence of wood-destroying insects at the time of the inspection.

    Though sometimes referred to as a clearance letter or a termite letter, it is not a "clearance letter," in that it does not necessarily clear a structure; and it is not a "termite letter," in that it addresses more than just termites. Insects commonly noted on the WDIR include subterranean termites, powder post beetles, old house borers, carpenter ants and sometimes carpenter bees. Other, less common insects may also be reported. "Conditions conducive to subterranean termites" must also be reported. At a minimum, wood making direct soil contacts, cellulose debris under a structure and excessively wet wood (wood moisture content of 20% or greater than) in the crawl space or other areas of the structure must be reported as conditions conducive to subterranean termites. The presence of wood-decay fungi may be listed as a condition conducive to subterranean termites. Other conditions that may be conducive to termites include insufficient clearance between wood members and the soil, excessive moisture in the crawl space, construction flaws or improper grading. The PCO must evaluate these and other conditions individually for each property inspected. Termites are very capable of finding the only possible entry point into a structure. They need only a 1/32 of an inch crack in a mortar joint or concrete expansion joint to enter a structure. They build earthen shelter tubes to reach the wood from the ground where they live. Termites can infest finished floors covered by vinyl flooring or carpeting, interior walls, and other areas that cannot be seen during a PCOs inspection. Furthermore, research has shown that termites can build tubes at the rate of approximately two and one-half inches per hour. Therefore, it is possible for termites to show up shortly after the structure has been inspected. This is also true when talking about old house borers. An inspection of the structure may not show evidence at the time of the inspection. However, depending on the age of structure they can become active after an inspection was performed.

    What conditions are not reported?
    The PCO is not required to report the presence of damage or the extent of any damage. However, if the WDIR indicates that wood-destroying insects and their evidence are in the wooden members, it must be assumed there is some damage. The WDIR is not a structural damage report. Such evaluations should be left to a structural engineer, contractor or other building expert. The WDIR will not reveal the presence of or damage by wood-decay fungi (wood rot) or wildlife. Though the PCO may be the only individual who goes beneath or in the attic of the structure, he is not responsible for reporting everything that may be wrong with the structure. Structural and electrical defects and plumbing and roof leaks are not his area of expertise, except as the latter may cause conditions conducive to termites. Home inspectors or other contractors must be called to determine the integrity of these building elements. The PCO is not responsible for any evidence that may had been inaccessible at the time of the inspection. Buyers should take note of the areas listed on the form as inaccessible.

    What happens if evidence of wood-destroying insects is found?

    When a PCO finds evidence of wood-destroying insects (such as termite tubes or cast wings, damage or exit holes from wood-boring beetles etc.) he must report its presence and specific location on the WDIR. The report must clearly indicate whether or not the insects have been or are in the wooden members. If no evidence of treatment exists in the case of subterranean termites, the PCO may submit a bid to treat the structure. However, this is secondary to the object of the report, i.e., to report the infestation. His job is to tell you or your (his) client that the wood-destroying insect infestation is present. His obligation is then fulfilled. It is up to the seller or buyer to contract for a treatment if necessary. If a treatment is performed, a copy of the written agreement and warranty, if any, must be attached to the WDIR. Treatment options vary depending on the insect found the extent of the infestation, whether a previous treatment has been performed and whether or not a warranty is desired. Powder post beetle, old house borer and other wood-boring beetle infestations can be treated by an application of a liquid insecticide to the surface of infested timbers, by controlling excessive moisture in the timbers or by fumigating the entire structure (rarely recommended). Prior treatments for these insects are difficult or impossible to establish. Subterranean termites are typically dealt with by applications of liquid pesticides to the soil and voids in masonry foundations, denying the termites access to the structure, or by the installation of termite bait systems. A liquid treatment may be a complete treatment or a spot treatment. If a prior treatment has been performed or if a warranty is not desired, a spot treatment may be satisfactory. However, if the termite infestation is widespread or a warranty is required, a complete treatment of the structure is usually recommended. Termite baits have the advantage of requiring much less pesticide and work by eliminating or suppressing the termite colony itself. They may, however, take longer to control the infestation and require the payment of quarterly or annual fees to maintain the protection plan. The buyer and seller should discuss these options and agree on a treatment plan before the treatment is performed.

    What should be done if the wood-destroying insects have reached the wood?

    If the WDIR indicates the wood-destroying insects are in the wooden members, it must be assumed there is some damage. Ordinarily, a PCO is neither prepared nor qualified to evaluate the extent of damage to a structure. A building expert should make the necessary repairs. The repair invoice may be attached to the WDIR. A PCO should not be expected or required to be a quality control inspector for carpenters, plumbers, etc. This is not his area of expertise or the purpose of the WDIR. Furthermore, the issuance of a subsequent report indicating "no evidence" in such circumstances would be a violation of the structural pest control rules and could be considered to be fraud. Most homes in North Carolina in excess of 10-15 years old will have some evidence of wood-destroying insects and could well have been damaged by such insects. Lending institutions and buyers need to realize that a "clear" report is not to be sought. The function of the WDIR is to report the presence of all visible evidence of wood-destroying insect infestation. If damage is present, it is the buyer's responsibility to ensure that it is repaired or evaluated and acknowledged as of no structural consequence by a qualified contractor or engineer. Just as an individual is willing to buy a used car with a few dents; so a homeowner, lender, etc., must be willing to accept some wood-destroying insect damage in an older home.

    Conclusion

    The potential buyer depends on this report to help in the decision-making process on the real estate purchase and obviously would be quite upset if misled by an improperly completed report. A so-called "clear" report is not mandatory in order for the transaction to be completed. The most important thing to remember is that the report must be, as required by law, a true indication of the presence or absence of evidence of wood-destroying insects. The report should be obtained early in the transaction and be read carefully by all concerned parties, paying particular attention to the introductory statements on the report and conditions governing the report printed on the reverse.

    Questions concerning the WDIR in general or with regards to a specific inspection should be addressed to the Structural Pest Control Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.



  36. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: termite activity

    Quote Originally Posted by Darrel Hood View Post
    The next time I buy a house, I will have it treated.
    We purchased a home in 2004 that included a "3 Year Termite Protection Warrenty." The company never came around to do an inspection during that time, but at the end of 3 years presented us with a contract for renewal. I expected some kind of dog & pony show during the contract period and didn't know who they were. Needless to say, we declined. We signed with a company that provided the termite protection and included repairs should termites show up.


  37. #37
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: termite activity

    Just to switch gears just a little, I am an IL lic home inspector wanting to add WDO inspections to my resume.

    I have done some research, and cannot find where an type of state lic. is required for inspecting. Only lic required for treatment.

    Can anyone in Misourri or Illinois chime in on confirming this for these states?

    Thanks!


  38. #38
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: termite activity

    ** ILCS 235/&ChapterID=24&ChapterName=PROFESSIONS+AND+OCCUPATI ONS&ActName=Structural+Pest+Control+Act%2E


    Bill the above is Il Structural Pest Control law. In all the meetings I have been to in different states the law says if you give advice about structural pests you are engaging in structural pest control. An inspection is not just for termites. It includes several insects and conditions to report on. Most states have a minumum experience requirement also. I would check it out wit some PCOs in the area to make sure.


  39. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wenatchee Wa
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: termite activity

    In my neck of the woods if you see evidence of termite activity new, old or in between you call for verification of treatment followed by treatment if none is found or it is older.

    Just because they are not physically present in the wood they are in the ground and can be anywhere. They live very deep in the ground.

    They really should make PCO's put in a card in crawls or other area stating when they treated, with what and when the next treatment should be performed.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Wenatchee Wa
    Posts
    301

    Default Re: termite activity

    I am a structural pest inspector in Washington State and have a HI license through the DOL and SPI license through the Wash. St. Dept. of Ag.

    Here is a pic for you. This was a piece of scrap wood under the vapor barrier.

    Any wood (or non wood) debris that is non structural in a crawl is to be removed.

    Here we call any conducive condition out in our reports, this is failed caulking in splash zones, moisture, debris, trees over roofs, failed gutters, earth wood contact(even treated wood) etc...

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

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