Changes to Termite Inspection Rules
Does it seem like Termite Inspections, also called wood destroying insect inspections (WDI), are yielding more recommendations for treatment these days? You are probably right. It’s not that there are more termite infestations. It’s more likely the result of the 2020 rules changes. What changes?
On January 1, 2020, a new standard for a termite inspection and wood-destroying insect inspections took effect, and the changes are significant. In July 2019, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released an updated and revised NPMA-33 Wood Destroying Insect Inspection Form. That’s the standardized form that all pest inspectors use for real estate WDI inspections. According to NPMA, all previous editions are now obsolete. That means for real estate transactions; you should only accept the current form bearing a revision date of 7/1/2019.
There are a few revisions you need to know. There are language changes, such as replacing the word “defects” with “wood destroying insect damage.” More significantly, the section on page one of the report noting evidence of previous treatment has been eliminated. And the page two guidelines regarding when to recommend treatment for termites have changed.
Pest inspectors have always recommended treatment whenever live termites are observed. The new standard says, “if no evidence of a previous treatment is documented and evidence of an infestation is found, even if no live termites are observed, treatment or corrective action by a licensed pest control company should be recommended.” The new guidelines call for documentation of treatment, not just evidence like drill holes.
In the past, if a termite inspector found shelter tubes or other evidence of infestation without observing live termites and also found evidence of prior treatment, they generally didn’t recommend treatment in their report. Under the new standards, termite inspectors must recommend the property be treated unless there is documentation of prior treatment.
Evidence of termite activity
Home sellers who have had their homes treated for termites in the past are advised to have the documentation of treatment at the ready. Be advised that the new guidelines also give the pest inspector latitude to recommend treatment if documentation is too old or in some other way inadequate.
Heavy rain and flooding can negatively impact a home’s termite protection system. The NPMA has published a technical update explaining what you need to know.
Here is a short video on how to spot termites on a foundation
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