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Termite Inspections / Wood Destroying Insect Report

03/26/2019

A wood destroying insect report or WDI usually takes place during a realty transaction. There are several reasons for this:

  1. The buyer wants to know if there are live or evidence of termites in the structure or,
  2. It may be required to obtain a mortgage from a bank or,
  3. The seller want to make sure their home doesn’t have termites.

The problem is there is much more to a wood destroying insect report that what most people; including realtors, lawyers, bankers, buyers, and seller realize.

The standard wood destroying insect report uses Form NPMA-33 from the National Pest Management Association. This form is comprehensive. But let’s start at the beginning.

A call comes into our office requesting a termite inspection. Our team will ask a series of questions:

  1. Are you the buyer or seller?
    1. If you are the seller, then will recommend you wait for the buyer to send an inspector to the property to perform the inspection. Why? Well if the seller performs the inspection, then they may be having it done for each buyer? The inspection report is usually good for only three months. What happens if the seller doesn’t sell the property in that time frame?
    2. If you are the buyer, we will request for the owner’s name and contact information, as well as the realtor, or lawyers and sometimes the banker involved to make sure the appointment for the inspection and the documents reach everyone that requires it.
    3. We also know that the buyer doesn’t normally live at the property and we require the billing information.
  2. Sometimes it is the lawyer, realtor, or banker calling,
    1. We need both the seller and buyer’s information as well as the billing information for this transaction.

Once all of this is settled, then an appointment is made. What can and should be expected during the inspection.

In New York State and on the NPMA-33 form, as stated on the second page section #1;

            A visual inspection was (will be) conducted in the readily accessible areas of the structure(s) indicated (see Page 1) including attics and crawlspaces which permitted entry during the inspection. The inspection includes probing and /or sounding of unobstructed and accessible areas to determine the presence or absence of visual evidence of wood destroying insects. The WDI inspection firm is not responsible to repair any damage or treat any infestation at the structure(s) inspected, except as may be provided by separate contract. Also, wood destroying insect infestation and/or damage may exist in concealed or inaccessible areas. The inspection firm cannot guarantee that any wood destroying insect infestation and/or damage disclosed by this inspection represents all of the wood destroying insect infestations and /or damage which exist as of the date of the inspection. For purposes of this inspection, wood destroying insects include: termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, and reinfesting wood boring beetles. This inspection does not include mold, mildew or non-insect wood destroying organisms. This report shall be considered invalid for purposes of securing a mortgage and/or settlement of property transfer if not used within ninety(90) days from the date of inspection. This shall not be construed as a 90-day warranty. There is no warranty, express or implied, related to this report unless disclosed as required by state regulations or a written warranty or service agreement is attached. (from NPMA-33 page 2 section 1)

The inspection usually starts off in the basement. Remember it is kept to a visual inspection. The perimeter is inspected and if there are any crawlspaces, it must be accessible without a ladder and be more than 24” in height, otherwise the inspector is not required to enter it (See page 2 section 3 Obstructions and Inaccessible areas). If a ladder is required for an attic, again it is not required to be inspected. Each floor is also inspected for signs of wood destroying insect listed in the report form.

What is the inspector looking for? Inside the home, the inspector is looking for mud-tubes, swarmers, frass, and damage to the structure that may have been done by insects such as termites, wood boring beetles, and carpenter ants. In the attic, the inspector is more likely to find carpenter ants or wood boring beetles. The outside perimeter is also inspected for carpenter ants and carpenter bees.

When is treatment recommended (Form NPMA-33 page 2 Section 2):

  1. FHA and VA require treatment when any active infestation of subterranean termites is found.
  2. Magic Pest Management also recommends treatment when wood boring beetles, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees are found.
  3. If signs of subterranean termites-but no activity- are found in a structure that shows no evidence of having been treated for subterranean termite in the past, then a treatment should recommended. This should include a one-year service agreement.
  4. A treatment may also be recommended for a previously treated structure showing evidence of subterranean termites-but no activity- if there is no documentation of a liquid treatment by a licensed pest control company within the previous five years unless the structure is presently under warranty or coved by a service agreement with a licensed pest control company. Magic offers this option in many cases.

If the structure has been treated, then the company that performed the treatment should be contacted to see if documents are available. Usually it is not unless the owner still has a service agreement in place.  This is where Magic Pest Management can step in an offer one.

In today’s world, termite baiting systems are found on many properties. This inspection process may make note of them, but the inspector cannot assume that the termites infestation has been resolved. The baiting company needs to produce documentation showing consumption and resolution of the termite infestation, if not that a current service agreement is in place. If not, then the inspector may recommend treatment using either liquid or a new baiting program.

A word on obstructions - the inspector is not required to open walls or ceilings. Remember this is held to a visual inspection.

Magic Pest Management LLC has been performing termite work and well as traditional pest control since 1963. We are experienced in performing the NPMA-33 Wood Destroying Insect Report and the treatment options it requires. Call us today for you inspection, or fill out our online estimate form for a free quote.