Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) inspection

In the United States, subterranean termite infestation amounts to billions of dollars in damage each year. It is very important to have your home thoroughly inspected for termite activity if you see any of the signs of infestation. Also, when purchasing a home most mortgage companies require a Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) inspection and a written report indicating any termite activity or damage.

Background: The source of most of subterranean termite infestations is a colony living in the soil. However, some infestations originate from above ground (aerial infestations). Above ground infestations occur either when a termite king and queen begin a new nest within a structure or when foraging termite workers become isolated and cannot return to the parent colony. Such infestations are rare in most of NJ and NY because they require extremely moist conditions year round. However, homes with flat roofs or chronic leaks are sometimes at risk because enough moisture is retained within the structure to allow the termites to become established undetected. This constant moisture allows the termite colony to survive without returning to the soil for water. In such cases the structural moisture problems may be as damaging to the home as the termite activity.

Subterranean Termite infestation is identified by the following 3 indicators:

I  
Mud tubes. The termite tubes extend from the ground to the source of food, the wood framing. The tubes provide shelter for the foraging termites. The tubes have an earth like coloration and are approximately the size if a straw.  They are very visible when they attached over exposed masonry foundations and other exposed surfaces. However, the tubes are often less visible, sometimes running along cracks, underneath flooring, behind siding, baseboards, sheetrock paper and even wall paper.


II  
Swarmers. Winged termites emerging indoors or outside from swarming tubes immediately adjacent to the structure are often the first sign of a subterranean infestation.

Swarming termites are attracted to light. Therefore, swarmers indoors are often found around lighting fixtures, windows, doors and vents. Also, large numbers of discarded termite wings on windowsills, floors or in spider webs are a sure sign of an infestation.

III  
Wood Damage. A common indication of subterranean infestation is the presence of dark areas or blisters in wood flooring.

However, subterranean termite damage can go unnoticed because the termites only eat the springwood leaving the grain and exterior surface intact. But the galleries can be found by tapping the wood with a screwdriver. The damaged wood sounds hollow and the screwdriver will usually break through the wood into the galleries. If the galleries are active the worker termites will be observed inside.



 
 
 
 
 
 

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