You should and you have the right to inspect while buying your home! But, what is WDO inspection? WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) Inspection is an additional inspection recommended to buyers to protect their asset from the threats of the termites commonly found throughout Florida (and beyond).
There are more than 2,000 species of termites and the subterranean are the most home-invading ones. They feed mainly on wood, wooden structures, decayed trees and wood products (including paper, cardboard and any cellulose product). Some like more moisture than others, so they can be found in the ground or in attics. They live i
n colonies of 500,000 to 1 million individuals and they can eat/destroy up to a pound of wood a day. They are never satisfied, so they are constantly looking for more food, if a house isn´t protected, they might find the way to get to it. And, if they get to it, THEY WILL CAUSE COSTLY DAMAGES to the house foundation, furniture, shelves, and even books.
Have you meet them? Termites are ¼ to ½ inch in length. Queens and kings are larger. The flying ones have large wings and pale colored bodies and are the ones that after mating move to another place to create another colony. The queen can lay millions of eggs each year.
New built homes are protected by the application of insecticide barrier while construction and a termite protection treatment applied by a pest control company when finished. New owner will get copy of the termite protection contract and become responsible to continue to provide the protection to the house.
If buying a resale house, you need to make sure you get the WDO inspection in addition to the regular inspection. This inspection must be performed by a licensed professional who will identify the visible and accessible presence of WDO at the time of inspection. If available, the inspector will review any previous report, contract or documentation regarding repairs. If any finding, buyer has the right to cancel the transaction. If no evident presence and you end up being the new owner, make sure you continue the protection or make sure to have one.
If you are the happy new owner (either new construction or resale), what you can do to avoid infestation? In a short message: Maintain your termite contract, eliminate moisture conditions and termite food around your house, and schedule an annual termite inspection for your home.
If you need some specific TIPS, here the ones I have summarized from knowledgeable professionals/sources:
- Avoid wood-to-soil contact (siding, steps, porches).
- Check decks and wooden fences for damage.
- Install wide overhangs that prevent rain water from washing away soil at the base of the foundation.
- Avoid placing soil-filled planters against the side of a house.
- Terminate all siding at least 6 inches above grade.
- Maintain gutters clean of leaves and debris.
- Keep all vents clear and open and place screens on outside vents.
- Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes.
- Make sure gutters and downspouts discharge rain water 18-24 inches from the foundation.
- Channel Air Conditioning drainage away from your exterior walls and foundation.
- Keep roof, attic, walls, kitchen, bathroom, A/C units and sinks in good repair, any leak must be stopped immediately.
- Keep mulch and landscaping away from siding and foundation at least 12 inches.
- Keep irrigation away from siding and foundation.
- Don´t pile any wood-based items against the house or in the garage: scrap wood, wooden debris, firewood, fencing, planter boxes, etc.
- Stay alert of any discharged termite wings on windowsills, countertops and floors.
- Look for small piles of wood residue or shavings as well as tiny wood holes, crumbling drywall, and/or sagging doors.
- Beware of bubbled paint or visible, wood that sounds hollow when tapped, pencil-sized mud tubes running across concrete or connecting soil to wood.
What to do if any sign of infestation? Contact a professional, this is not a DIY and it can be expensive!