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When a corrective wood destroying insect treatment is performed to a structure, it's usually done on both the interior and the exterior. This is much more thorough than just treating inside or outside the building. The treatment uses the rodding technique, which is considered the simplest approach, as opposed to the trenching technique.

  1. The trenching technique involves digging a two to three foot trench all around the structure next to the foundation. The soil is then treated with insecticide.

  2. With the rodding technique, depending on the type of soil, the Pest Control Operator will drill holes every 6-18 inches that are three or more feet deep. The holes are drilled right next to the interior and exterior foundation walls, all around the structure. Then the insecticide is injected down into the soil.

Real Estate Expert Investing Advice FSBO Homeowners House Buyers Sellers Realtors Agents Brokers The purpose of the treatment is to create a ring of insecticide around the structure. Any worker termites that are outside the house won't cross this line and will move to another food source. Any worker termites that are trapped inside the house will die because they can't get back to the nest for the moisture they need to survive. An important fact to remember when getting a corrective treatment is to recommend that all of the damaged wood be removed and replaced. This will ensure that any damaged areas are resupported with good, solid lumber. Another reason for this is that there's no way to tell down the road if the wood had gotten the termite damage before or after the corrective treatment. So if the wood isn't removed, then when the client goes to sell the house many years later, the next home inspector might see the damaged wood. This home inspector could insist that his client get another treatment. It'll eliminate any future problems, if the damaged wood is removed with the corrective treatment that's done at the present time.

Real Estate Expert Investing Advice FSBO Homeowners House Buyers Sellers Realtors Agents Brokers The damage caused by termites is sometimes over exaggerated. There are very few houses on record that had to be knocked down due to serious structural problems due to termites. A full colony of termites can only eat about three feet of a wooden 2 x 4 beam in a year. For them to do serious structural damage they would have to go unnoticed in the house for an awfully long time. I find minor termite damage in one out of every four houses that I inspect. Of these houses, I've only seen two or three of them that had very bad termite damage. But even those two or three houses could be repaired just be replacing some floor joists and treating the house with insecticide.

There are two kinds of houses:  Houses that have termites and Houses that will have termites. That's a fact. All houses will get termite damage of some sort eventually.

Real Estate Expert Investing Advice FSBO Homeowners House Buyers Sellers Realtors Agents Brokers There are two kinds of houses: Houses that have termites and Houses that will have termites. That's a fact and from my experiences I've found this to be accurate. All houses will get termite damage of some sort eventually. Sometimes builders will install a termite shield along the top of the foundation wall. Termite shields are similar to the cap plate used at the top of concrete block walls. A termite shield is a small metal guard. However, these shields do not prevent termites. The only benefit from them is that they might deter termites or make it a little more difficult for them to reach the wood. There are ways to help prevent wood destroying insect and rot damage:

  • Use pressure treated lumber when replacing or constructing anything on the site or in the house. Pressure treated lumber has a greenish color to it. It's rot and termite resistant for up to 40 years. The most common type of pressure treated wood is called CCA 40. There's also a CCA 60 pressure treated lumber that has a higher pressurization and lifespan than CCA 40 does.

  • I'll tell you the basics of the process for pressure treating lumber. The manufacturer will take the lumber and place it in large vats of chemicals. This lumber will sit there until the chemicals are absorbed sufficiently into the wood. The chemicals they use are copper, chromate and arsenic. Arsenic is the chemical that deters wood destroying insects. The type of wood that's used for pressure treated lumber is Southern Yellow Pine. That's because it's the best lumber to use for the chemical process involved.

  • There's another way to help prevent wood destroying insect and rot damage. That is to keep all wood siding at least eight inches above the soil. The purpose of this is to make it more difficult for termites to get to their food source. Keep all bushes and shrubs pruned and the soil and drainage leaders must slope away from the foundation. This will help prevent any dark and moist areas that are an attraction to termites.

  • Get a preventive wood destroying insect treatment. Don't wait to get a corrective treatment after the damage is found. Preventive treatments are usually about half the cost of a corrective treatment. The reason for this is that the Pest Control Operator only has to treat around the exterior of the house.

 

It's important to stress to the client about getting a corrective treatment if you find damage and a preventive treatment if you don't find any damage. Since all houses do get some form of wood destroying insect damage over time, they might as well eliminate the problem now. It's less expensive and easier to eliminate the problem ahead of time, rather than waiting for it to happen later. It's also easier to sell a house with a preventive treatment as opposed to a corrective treatment done after there was damage found. Wood destroying insect damage bothers people more than it should. A preventive treatment should help to eliminate the chance of scared off buyers.

Real Estate Advice Education House Inspection Appraisal Home Improvement Renovation  There are certain houses that many Pest Control Operators, (PCO), will not treat for wood destroying insects. Or else there will only be a few of them that will treat the houses with insecticide.

  1. One case is houses with on-site well water systems. The PCO has to worry about contaminating the well water supply. If the well is less than 100 feet from the house, your chances of finding a PCO to treat will diminish even further.

  2. Another case is houses that have brick foundation walls. The PCO has to worry about contaminating the house by seepage through the brick walls.

  3. Another case is houses that have air ducts embedded in the lower level cement floor for the heating or air-conditioning systems. The PCO has to worry about contaminating the ducts.

  4. Also, if the inspection is being conducted on a condominium, then the By-Laws or Prospectus of the Condo/Owner's Association may have limitations. There could be requirements that can restrict wood destroying insect treatments.

Real Estate Advice Education House Inspection Appraisal Home Improvement Renovation  Here's something you might be surprised to know related to wood destroying insect treatments:

  • A sad, but interesting fact, is that electrical shock is the biggest killer of Pest Control Operators. You would think it was the exposure to the deadly chemicals over the years, but it isn't. Although there are many deaths of Pest Control Operators due to overexposure to the chemicals. Electrical power tools are hazardous for the Pest Control Operator. This is because they're often working around moist soil or have moist hands. Under these conditions, they can come in contact with improperly grounded power equipment. Sometimes they end up drilling into a live electrical line accidentally.

Real Estate Advice Education House Inspection Appraisal Home Improvement Renovation  At one time the Pest Control Operators in my part of the country used Chlordane to treat for termites. Chlordane is a very powerful termite treatment chemical and will protect the house for over 30 years. However, the State outlawed the use of Chlordane in this area. The reason for this was that a few Pest Control Operators hired workers who improperly injected Chlordane into some houses in Long Island, NY. These houses were contaminated so badly that they had to be knocked down. They've been considering reapproving Chlordane for use because it's one of the best termite treatment chemicals on the market. However, some Pest Control Operators feel there are too many problems with using this chemical for it to be reapproved by the State.

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