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Wood Destroying Insects
Wood Destroying Insects photos: P 176-P 184, P 231
There are many different types of wood destroying insects, including 70 species of termites throughout the world. Depending upon your area of the country, the wood destroying insects that you need to be the most concerned with are:
- Subterranean Termites
- Dry Wood Termites
- Damp Wood Termites
- Powder Post Beetles
- Carpenter Ants
- Carpenter Bees
If there was any aspect of home inspections that you would need X-ray vision, then this one takes the prize. If Superman really existed, he'd make a fortune as a Termite inspector.
This is another concern with buying a house that really scares people. So make sure you check thoroughly for wood destroying insects. If there was any aspect of performing home inspections that you would need X-ray vision, then this one takes the prize. If Superman really existed, he'd make a fortune as a Termite inspector. I've heard an awful lot of war stories about inspectors getting complaints from people because they didn't notice the termites that were behind the sheetrock walls. Some people honestly believe that you should have told them that there were termites in areas that you couldn't even see. I have know idea where they get their logic from. If there are indications out in the open and you miss the signs, that's one thing. But don't expect someone to identify a problem that they can't even see!!
This is the reason that many home inspectors don't even offer termite inspections as part of their services. They just tell the client that they'll check everything else but for termites the client needs to hire a licensed exterminator. I personally do termite inspections because it's an additional service you can provide the client. You can also earn a small extra fee while you're at the site. I've taken the courses required to get a Pesticide Control Operators license, (PCO). This license is needed to fill out the FHA/VA Wood Destroying Insect form. Virtually all lenders require this form for a house before they approve a mortgage loan. You can make your own judgments as to whether or not you want to do termite inspections. Just remember it's the same as every other business: where there's money to be made, there's risk to assume.
Occasionally you will have to rely on Lady Luck to help you find wood destroying insect damage. One time I was inspecting a house that was built on a concrete slab foundation. This type of construction doesn't have a basement area. As a result, termites can travel through cracks in the concrete slab. The wood beams and moldings of the livable rooms become an easy meal for the termites. I was just about finished with my inspection and only had one more closet to check. When I opened the closet door, there was termite damage all through the molding. The damaged wood was recently painted over and the termite tunnels were difficult to see. Had I cut corners by not checking that one last closet, I wouldn't have found the damaged wood. There were several times when I was in the lower level and Lady Luck was on my side. While looking around I randomly probed some wood beams. The screwdriver passed right through the beams due to wood destroying insect damage. I was lucky to find these damaged areas since there were no visible indications on the exterior of the wood.