Month: May 2014

Wood Destroying Insect Reports (WDI)

Have you ever heard of a Wood Destroying Insect Report? Here in Texas, it is required to have one completed when either buying or selling a home. I have heard some of the horror stories of home inspectors who are not licensed in Structural Pest Control look for termites and quite honestly, the methods that some of them use make me cringe.

The best recommendation would be to find a Structural Pest Control Company that actually deals with termites, just in case termites are found. I will get calls from people saying, “So and so company did the WDI for us. They discovered termites but they don’t treat for them. Can you help us?” Of course we helped them but we have to look over the WDI report and verify what the inspector found is in fact termites or not.
Here are some things the inspector should be looking for:
Conducive conditions such as soil lines that are too high along the slab of the home; Bushes, trees, plants, etc that block the view of the slab; Standing water that doesn’t drain away from the house; Previous infestation and when was it treated; New damage and determine whether it’s carpenter ants, powder post beetles, termites, or carpenter bees.
If any of these these things are found, they should be noted on the inspection report as well as any corrective measures that need to be taken.

Even if you don’t live in Texas, you should make sure to be on the look out for these things when buying or selling your home.

Termite Season

Termite season doesn’t really have a set beginning and end because termites are active year round. Termites are most visible because of the swarmers from March through Novemeber. In warmer climates, termites remain active year round. In cooler climates, termites typically are less active during the winter months from November through February. Although termites in cooler climates may slow down during the winter, they can cause damage at any time because they’re constantly foraging.

Home Buyer and a Termite Inspection

In Texas, termite infestations are not uncommon by any means. In the U.S., termites are active in 49 of the 50 states and can cause more than $50 billion in property damage every year. If you’re buying a home, having the dwelling inspected for termites beforehand can save help you further down the line. If you’re taking out a mortgage, the likely hood that the lender will require that you have a termite inspection performed before the sale is finalized is very high. A termite inspection is typically an expense that the buyer incurs during the ten (10) day option period. Most home purchase agreements are contingent on the results of independent inspections designed to reveal hidden problems.

Termites can leave very little evidence of their presence until the infestation has grown for quite some time. The early warning signs of a termite infestation can be subtle and if you don’t know what to look for, it could go unnoticed for months, even years. The presence of termites doesn’t necessarily mean a home is unsound. The signs of an infestation could be from old activity that was treated in previous years or it could be new activity. If any termite activity is found, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. There are options that the buyer/seller can agree upon. The home can be treated for termites and all the necessary repairs can be fixed, which can still make the home a viable option.

A termite inspector can decipher more than just the warning signs of termites. Most inspectors can recognize the presence of other wood-destroying pests like carpenter ants, too. Again, if an inspection does reveal termite activity, don’t fret! The signs may be from a previous infestation that may have been treated in the past. If the home has been treated for termites in the past, the seller should also be able to provide documentation of a previous treatment as well as documentation as to where the activity had occurred. Buying a home can be stressful enough, finding termites should not be a deal breaker. Be sure to find an inspector whose company can handle treating for termites, in the event any activity might be discovered. By doing so, this will avoid any unnecessary expenses on finding another company to come out to complete another inspection prior to any treatment being performed.

Termites

Did you know that there are four types of termites? They are Dampwood, Drywood, Formosan, and Subterranean.

1. Dampwood Termites: These termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Dampwood colonies don’t have workers. Younger termites called “false workers” do all the work for the colony. Dampwood termites like to live and feed in very moist wood. Because theses termites need a lot of moisture, they usually live in damp, dying trees or in houses with leaking plumbing that will keep wood wet. Dampwood termites don’t usually bother buildings if there is not enough water in the wood. To avoid Dampwood termites, make sure all water drains away from your house and keep damp wood away from your home as well.

2. Drywood Termites: They form colonies of up to 2,500 members. Drywood Termite colonies, like the Dampwood termites, don’t have workers. Younger termites, called “false workers”, do all the work for the colony. Drywood Termites eat wood, wallpaper, plastics and fabric made from plants. These termite colonies are usually found in DRY wood. They do not require moisture or contact with the soil. Drywood termites can build nests and dig tunnels in buildings. These tunnels can cause major damage because wooden support beams can become weak and could cause the building to lean or fall down. To prevent dry wood termite infestation make sure firewood and scrap wood is stored away from your house. Seal all cracks and crevices around the outside of your home.

3. Formosan Termites: The colonies for these termites can be up to 300 feet long. There can be tens of thousands of termites in a single colony. Formosan termite colonies are divided into three groups: workers, soldiers and reproductives. They are the largest and most destructive kind of termite. Formosan Termites eat wood and fabric made from plants. When they eat dead trees, these termites help the environment and make space for new plant life. They live in huge underground colonies and build mud nests inside the walls of a building. They can also live inside boats. To prevent Formosan termites from damaging your property, make sure water drains away from your house and keep damp wood away from your home.

4. Subterranean Termites: The colonies for Subterranean termites can have up to 2 million members! Their colonies are divided into three groups: workers, soldiers and reproductives. They eat wood, wallpaper, plastics and fabric made from plants. Subterranean termites need contact with the soil to survive. They live in underground colonies or in wet areas aboveground. They build tunnels to reach food and every spring, groups of reproductive termites fly off to start new colonies. Subterranean termites are the most destructive kind of termite. They can eat a lot of wood and can cause a lot of damage to a house! They can destroy building foundations, wooden support beams, plastic plumbing pipes, sub-flooring, insulation … even swimming pool liners and filtration systems! Termites can also injure or destroy living trees and shrubs. Prevention is everything! Don’t let water pool around your home’s foundation and never leave wood scraps in the yard for them to snack on.

 

Scorpions

Scorpions are members of the class Arachnida and are closely related to spiders. There are approximately 2,000 species of scorpions but only about 30-40 types of scorpions have venom strong enough to kill a person.

Scorpions will typically eat insects. When food is scarce, the scorpion has an amazing ability to slow down it’s metabolism. This enables some species of scorpions to use little oxygen and live on as little as a single insect per year. Even with lowered metabolism, a scorpion has the ability to spring quickly to the hunt when the opportunity presents itself.

The scorpion’s survival skills allow them to live in some of the toughest environments, but there is an exception. Scorpions have a difficult time living without soil. They are burrowing animals, so if there is not loose soil available, then scorpions may not be able to survive.