How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

If termite damage appears old, are termites gone?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

One of the questions that realtors sometimes ask us when we find termite damage in a home is:  “Does it look like old damage?” The implication, of course, is that possibly the termites are long gone and there’s nothing to worry about.  Unfortunately, there is no way to age termite damage. Termite fecal pellets, which are considered evidence of termites in the home, also cannot be aged.

    According to a representative at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) we spoke to a few days ago, “Damage is damage and evidence is evidence. That’s all.” There is no place on their required reporting form to guess how long damage or evidence has been sitting there. If we find it, we have to report it.

     Because WDO/termite inspectors are also supposed to report any evidence of previous treatments to the home, such as drill holes indicative of a soil treatment or a treatment sticker by a pest control company, the previous treatment evidence—if it can be determined that it is recent—may mean that the inspector is looking at unrepaired damage, but the termites have been killed. Once again, we have no way to know for sure. We simply report termite evidence and damage, and note any sign of previous treatments. 
 

    Also, see our blog post Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites?

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To learn more about termites, see these other blog posts:

Should I be worried about termites if my neighbor's house is being tented?

Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim? 

Do carpenter ants cause structural damage to houses in Florida?

How long before closing can you have a WDO (termite) inspection done?

How long does Bora-Care® last? 

 Why is it a mistake to store lumber in the crawl space under a house?

Does the presence of carpenter ants in a house indicate that there are probably also termites? 

How do termites infest a house and remain hidden while doing major damage?

Are homes in Florida required to have termite protection? 

How do I know if my WDO/termite report is "clear"? 

When do termites swarm in Florida?

 Can a mobile/manufactured home get termites?

Do I have to tent the house if I have termites? 

What is the difference between a subterranean termite and a drywood termite?

What are the green plastic discs in the ground around the house? 

What is a termite shield?

How do termites get into a concrete block house? 

Do termites eat concrete?

What is a clean WDO?  

What do termites eat?

How do I treat wood rot  that's listed in my termite-WDO report? 

Do I really need a termite-WDO inspection? 

What's causing those holes in the fascia?

Does wood chip mulch in the yard attract termites?

I think I have termites. What does a termite look like?

I'm buying a concrete block house. Do I still need a termite inspection? 

• I saw a little termite damage on the baseboard. Should I be concerned?

   Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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