Wood Destroying Insect Reports (WDIR’s)
Closing on a house is stressful enough, whether you are the homeowner or the realtor. The last thing you need is one more inspection to manage and one more report to file. Here at Mug-A-Bug, we understand. We have been helping homeowners and realtors with Wood Destroying Insect Reports for years. We will provide you will the prompt, professional and friendly service that you can expect from us here at Mug-A-Bug.
Any time you buy, sell, or re-finance your home, typically a Wood Destroying Insect Report is often a requirement. A Wood-Destroying Insect Report is used to document the presence or absence of wood-destroying insects (termites, carpenter ants, wood-boring beetles, etc.) in homes/structures that are for sale. In addition, the report will also point our potential issues that could or would be considered conducive or help aide to the existence of these wood-destroying insects.
How the inspection is performed and what to expect.
Inspections for wood-destroying insects and evidence consists of careful visual inspection and examination of all accessible areas of a home or building and the sounding of accessible structural members in areas that are particularly susceptible to attack by wood-destroying insects. Evidence includes but is not limited to: present and past activity of wood-destroying insects that were/are visible in, on, or under a structure, or in or on debris under the structure. Permanently attached decks, porches, storage sheds, etc., are included in the inspection. Outbuildings or other detached structures are not routinely inspected unless specifically requested by the customer or realtor. For the inspection to be completed correctly, Mug-A-Bug must have access to all interior and exterior areas of the structure or home that is scheduled to be inspected. The reverse side of the form discusses the extent of the inspection performed. We will indicate areas of the home or structure that were inaccessible at the time of the inspection. Inaccessible areas such as inside walls, beneath carpet or other floor coverings, etc., will not be listed separately.
What will be reported?
The WDIR is for informal purposes only and is required to reveal information concerning evidence of wood-destroying insects ONLY. The WDIR is not a warranty as to the absence of wood-destroying insects; it is merely a report of the visible presence or absence or wood-destroying insects at the date and time of the inspection.
Though sometimes referred to as a clearance letter, it is NOT a “clearance”, in that it does not necessarily clear a structure. It is NOT a “termite inspection,” in that it addresses more than just termites. The WDIR includes: subterranean termites, carpenter ants, wood-boring beetles, etc., and less common insects may also be reported. Termites can find the only possible entry point into a home or structure. They need only a 1/32 of an inch crack in a mortar joint or concrete expansion joint to enter the structure or home. They build earthen shelter tubes (mud tubes) that act as their tunnel or mode of transportation to reach the wood from underground where they live. Termites can infest finished floors covered by vinyl flooring or carpeting, interior walls, and other areas that cannot be seen during a WDIR inspection. Research has shown that termites can build tubes at the rate of approximately two inches per hour. It is possible for termites to show up shortly after a structure has been inspected. An inspection of the structure may not show evidence at the time of inspection, however depending on the conditions they (termites) can become active after an inspection has been completed.
What conditions are NOT reported?
Mug-A-Bug is not required to report the extent of any damage. However, if the WDIR indicates the presence or previous presence of wood-destroying insects the evidence in the wooden members of the structure/home, it must be assumed there is some damage. The WDIR is not a structural damage report. Such evaluations should be left to a structural engineer, contractor or other professional building expert. The WDIR will not reveal the presence of or damage by wood-decay fungi (wood rot) or wildlife. Even though Mug-A-Bug may be the only company who goes under or beneath the structure/home, we are not responsible for reporting everything that may be wrong with the structure or home. Structural and electrical defects and plumbing and roof leaks are not our areas of expertise, except in that roof leaks may cause conducive conditions for termites. Home inspectors and other contractors must be called to determine the integrity of the building elements. Mug-A-Bug is not responsible for any evidence that may have been inaccessible at the time of the inspection. Buyers should take note of the areas listed on the form or that were noted as inaccessible
What happens if evidence of wood-destroying insects is found?
If Mug-A-Bug finds evidence of wood-destroying insects (such as termite tubes, cast wings, damaged wood, or exit holes from wood-boring beetles, etc.) we must report its presence and location on the WDIR form. The report must clearing indicate whether the insects have been or are in the wooden members of the structure/home. If evidence of subterranean termites is found or does exist, Mug-A-Bug will provide/submit a bid to treat the structure/home for termites. Our job is to tell you (our customer) if there is a wood-destroying insect infestation present. It is up to the seller or buyer to contract for treatment if a treatment is necessary. Treatment options vary depending on the insect found, the extent of the infestation, whether a previous treatment has been performed, and whether a warranty is desired. Powder post beetle, old house borer, and other wood-boring beetle infestations can be treated by controlling excessive moisture in the timbers or by fumigating the entire structure (rarely recommended). Prior treatments for these insects are difficult or impossible to establish. Subterranean termites are typically dealt with by applications of liquid pesticides to the soil, which will deny the termites access to the structure. A liquid treatment may be a complete treatment or a spot treatment. If a prior treatment has been performed or if a warranty is not desired, a spot treatment may be satisfactory. However, if the termite infestation is widespread or a warranty is required, a complete treatment of the structure is usually recommended/required.
What should be done if the wood-destroying insects have reached wood?
If the WDIR indicates the wood-destroying insects are in wooden members, it must be assumed there is some damage. Mug-A-Bug is not qualified to evaluate the extent of damage to a structure. A building expert or contractor should make the necessary repairs. Mug-A-Bug should not be expected or required to be a quality control inspector for carpenters, plumbers, etc. This is not our area of expertise or the purpose of the WDIR. Furthermore, the issuance of a subsequent report indicating “no evidence” in such circumstances would be a violation of the structural pest control rules and could be fraud. Some homes in Colorado more than 20-25 years old may have some evidence of wood-destroying insects and could well have been damaged by such insects. The function of the WDIR is to report the presence of all visible evidence of wood-destroying insect infestations. If damage is present, it is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure that it is repaired or evaluated and acknowledged as of no structural consequence by a qualified contractor or engineer. Just as an individual is willing to buy a used car with a few dents; a homeowner or lender must be willing to accept some wood-destroying insect damage in an older home.
The potential buyer depends on this report to help in the decision-making process on the real estate purchase and obviously would be quite upset if they were misled by an improperly completed report. A so-called “clear” report is not mandatory for the transaction to be completed. The most important thing to remember is that the report must be, as required by law, a true indication of the presence or absence of evidence of wood-destroying insects. The report should be obtained early in the transaction and be read carefully by all concerned parties, paying attention to the introductory statements on the report and conditions governing the report printed on the reverse side.
Questions concerning or regarding the WDIR in general or with regards to a specific inspection should be directed to the Structural Pest Control Division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture.