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Can a termite inspector guarantee that there are no termites in a house?
Thursday, August 29, 2019
It is impossible for a termite inspector doing a WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) report for a real estate transaction to guarantee that a house is free of termites because termites mostly live in concealed areas of the home, such as inside the walls. A “clean" WDO report means a box is checked on the state-mandated inspection form that states “NO visible signs of WDO(s) (live, evidence or damage) observed."
Florida Statute 482.226, which governs termite inspection, states that “an inspection report does not constitute a guarantee of the absence of wood-destroying organisms or damage therefrom or other evidence unless the report specifically states therein the extent of such guarantee.” We have never seen a report with a guarantee clause added.
What A Termite Inspector Looks For
So an inspector is essentially certifying that a visual inspection found no evidence of termites. The inspector also looks for wood-decaying fungi (wood rot) and evidence of wood-destroying beetles, but the “visible signs” of termites that are searched for include:
- Termite damage to wood, such as their hollowed out “galleries"
- Termite wings left behind from swarming.
- Termite fecal pellets.
- Termite “kick-out” holes in walls, tiny holes they use to dispose of fecal pellets.
- Mud tubes
- Live termites (rarely found)
The Required Termite Inspection Sticker
A termite inspector is required to affix a sticker in the home at every inspection that states the date an inspection was done, the company, and the inspector that did it. It is usually affixed to the water heater or electric panel door. But the sticker does not indicate that evidence, or no evidence, of termites was found. Go to our blog post Does a recent termite company inspection sticker mean there are no termites? for more on this.
Also, see our blog post Is the WDO (termite) inspector allowed to poke holes in my wood siding and trim?
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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?
• 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?
• If termite damage appears to be old, does that mean that termites may no longer be present?
• 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?
• How do termites get into a concrete block house?
• 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?
• Why do termite inspectors tap the wood siding and baseboard wood in a home?
• What are the minimum access openings for a termite (WDO) inspector in Florida for a crawl space and attic, and within these spaces?
• What does a termite mud tube look like?
Visit our TERMITES, WOOD ROT AND PESTS and "DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…?” Pages 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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