Wood-destroying insects (WDI) are capable of causing significant damage to any property that uses wood. Termites, in particular, present a threat to homes throughout the country, including Alaska. For this reason, most states require the filling of a NPMA-33 form during all real estate transactions. A pest control professional completes this document by performing a visual inspection of the premises and noting any signs of termites or other WDI, such as carpenter ants or carpenter bees.
When performing a visual inspection, the investigator looks for visible evidence of termite activity. Evidence includes the presence of living or dead WDI, shelter tubes, exit holes, frass (insect waste), staining from previously used shelters or visible damage to wooden components. Inspectors also note any evidence of previous treatments for WDI, and homeowners or agents are encouraged to supply the inspector with this information if they have it available.
It should be noted, however, that an inspection revealing no signs of termites or other WDI activity is not a guarantee against their presence. An inspector’s examination is restricted to readily accessible areas; obstructed or inaccessible sites are marked on the form as such. Some potentially inaccessible areas such as crawlspaces and basements serve as prime breeding grounds for termites. As a result, homeowners should ensure as little obstruction as possible. Additionally, hidden and subterranean entry points can cause termite infestations to remain undetectable by visual inspections, even into their late stages.
Most importantly, inspectors filling a NPMA-33 are not required to have any type of credential. While WDI certification programs exist, participation is currently voluntary. Therefore, inspectors untrained in spotting WDI signs and the proper way to fill out a WDI report, which protects against liability claims, can still fill out the form. For the best results on a termite inspection, homeowners and real estate agents need to request a certified inspector.
For more in accurate results, homeowners may also pursue alternative termite inspection methods such as infrared and fiber optic searches. A fiber optic inspection involves the insertion of a boroscope into the walls and floors, while infrared cameras can identify high-risk areas and the heat emitted by a termite colony.
In the third section of the WDI report, the inspector can either recommend termite treatment or indicate that it is not needed. If necessary, termite treatment can take several forms. For active infestations, pest control professionals use a termiticide to eliminate the colony. Typically, exterminators employ a bait system that entices the termites into consuming an insect growth regulator (IGR). Once the pesticides eliminate the colony, the termites’ entry points must be removed.
Preventative treatments also exist to help reduce the risk of infestation. During construction, technicians can apply termiticide prior to the pouring of slab or along the sides of crawlspace and basement foundations. These applications create “barriers” that dissuade the termites from encroaching on the area. Homeowners should also limit the number of potential entry points by avoiding any earth-to-wood contact; support outdoor wood porches and steps with six inches of concrete and keep any compost or firewood piles as far away from the home as possible.
Certified pest control experts can also identify any conditions conductive to WDI infestation in your home, such as poor ventilation, excessive use of mulch or moisture leaks. While nothing can completely eliminate the possibility of termite infestation, you can significantly reduce the riskwith the help of a trained professional.
Learn how to identify and eliminate termite as quickly as they appear in your property with Oplan Termites: Completely Eradicate The Growing Colony Of Termites In Your Property! by Howard Smith.