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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

What Is a WDO Inspection?

WDO (Wood Destroying Organisms) or Termite Inspection- as it's commonly called- is an extensive visual inspection that checks for the presence or evidence of past, on-going, or possible conducive conditions future termite infestations. The WDO inspector visually checks for decayed wood from wood-decaying fungus, signs of subterranean termite activity, Drywood Termite damage, or evidence from wood-destroying beetles. The visual inspection consists of a home's exterior, the interior, attic locations, and crawlspaces of applicable homes.

Why Do I Need A WDO Inspection?

Most banks, mortgage companies, guarantors (such as VA, FHA, and HUD), and other financial institutions will require you to obtain a WDO inspection before acquiring a mortgage or financing to purchase a home. A WDO inspection is also necessary because a home inspector will not inspect for wood-destroying organisms, nor is licensed. A licensed individual must conduct a WDO inspection from a licensed pest control company that holds a license through the department of agriculture.

What Should I Know About Hiring A WDO Inspection Company?

When buying a new home, some people tend to look for ways to evade WDO inspection. Some think that it is an unnecessary protocol that banks and mortgage facilities impose on them, and they seek to find a shortcut around it. This mindset stems from a lack of proper information about the importance of WDO. Truth is:

  • WDO inspection benefits mostly the buyer and not the seller or the real estate agent. It is crucial to have a WDO inspection for any home that one may look to purchase. Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year.

  • A WDO inspection takes thirty minutes to one hour or even longer to conduct appropriately. It is essential to hire a WDO inspection company with good experience, licensing, insurance, and reputation. Do an online search of pest control companies to ensure you employ the one capable of your needs.

  • Getting a proper WDO inspection can vary in price. A licensed WDO inspection company may differ from one another. Some WDO companies invest thousands of dollars in acquiring certifications, credentials, high-tech equipment, and insurance necessary to provide you with a high-quality service. Some pest control companies that offer WDO inspections do not. Therefore it is essential to research WDO inspection companies before choosing one.

How Is A WDO Inspection Performed?

In no particular order, these are some of the steps involved in getting a proper WDO inspection:

Exterior WDO Inspection

  • The inspector must thoroughly check the home's exterior and look for evidence of and damage from Subterranean and Drywood termites, Wood Decaying Fungus, and wood-destroying beetles. A WDO inspector will also check for dead tree stumps near the structure; wood placed or stored too close to the ground or near the home, leaky downspouts or gutters, improper grading, and other external conditions that may promote the infestation by termites and other WDO insects.

Interior WDO Inspection

  • When inspecting the interior, the inspector pays more attention to window frames, door frames, baseboards, garages, and other areas prone to termite and WDO infestation. Interior WDO inspections take a more sophisticated process than an exterior inspection. It includes both visual and physical inspections involving probing, tapping, and sounding susceptible wood. The inspector also looks out for signs of existing infestation and prior treatments such as brownish discoloration on timber and walls, live termites, tubing, and frass. A WDO inspector may also look for excessive moisture levels, soft or wet wood, and other conditions conducive to infestation.

Attic And Crawlspace WDO Inspection

  • WDO (Wood Destroying Organisms) or Termite Inspection- as it's commonly called- is an extensive inspection that checks for the presence or evidence of past, on-going, or future termite infestation. The inspector looks out for decayed wood, signs of termite activities both in dry and subterranean wood types, wood-devouring beetles, damaged wood, or any other factor that may promote termite infestation.

After Completion Of A WDO Inspection

  • After this detailed WDO inspection has been performed, the inspector will create a report, including the findings, recommendations, and estimated cost of treatments.

  • If you are present during the completion of the WDO inspection, your WDO inspector will, in most cases, will walk you around the property to discuss findings. It is usually a good idea to attend the WDO inspection because it is easier to understand results first hand rather than looking at a report. Below is a list of what is found on a wood-destroying organism and an example of each.

What is Wood Decaying Fungus?

Wood Decaying Fungus Image
Wood Decaying Fungus Image

Wood-Decaying Fungus is just as it sounds, any fungus species that will readily consume and digest softwood. During a WDO inspection, these locations mostly consist of exterior siding, trim boards, window and door frames, attic sheathing, etc. These are some of the more common areas; however, the wood-decaying fungus can be found on most parts of the home, excluding concrete block locations.

What are Subterranean Termites?

Subterranean Termite Workers
Subterranean Termite Workers

Subterranean termites are termites that live below the ground. They consist of three forms, known as workers, soldiers, and swarmer's. This termite must have constant earth contact, making entry into homes by building shelter tubes, also known as mud tubes. Subterranean termites cause extensive damage and are blind. As they forage and make their way into a structure, they feed upon cellulose materials, lumber, siding, etc. Once in your home, they silently destroy wood materials that the workers gut load, return below ground, and feed the colony's remaining members. Suppose you suspect subterranean termites in your home. In that case, it is imperative to contact a professional pest control company to perform a WDO inspection or get treatment to eradicate them as soon as possible.

What Are Drywood Termites?

Drywood Termite Soldier
Drywood Termite Soldier

Drywood Termites are another type of termite. They resemble Subterranean termites with slight differences in appearance. Drywood termites, however, do not require earth contact like Subterranean termites. Drywood termites nest in the wood above ground. They utilize the timber and natural humidity of the deadwood they infest to create a home. Most commonly, a homeowner will notice small six-sided pellets on locations of flooring, etc. These pellets are known as frass. Frass is the byproduct of the drywood termite feeding on the wood. The wood passes through the digestive tract, with the result being discarded as waste. If you notice debris on your floor, counters, furniture, etc., it is vital to contact a termite inspection company to confirm and recommend treatment.

What Are Wood Destroying Beetles?

Powderpost Beetle Image
Powderpost Beetle

Wood Destroying Beetles are another wood destroying insect found on a WDO inspection report. Powder post beetles and old house borers are the most commonly found wood-destroying beetles. Although these beetles will damage wood, it is usually not as much of a threat as termites. Beetle larvae are what cause the majority of the damage to wood when referring to wood destroying beetles. One significant difference between the severity of wood-destroying beetles vs. termites is that the beetles rarely colonize and breed in the wood, unlike termites. This usually results in much less of a threat than termites, which readily reproduce and cause significantly more damage.

How Do I Choose A WDO Inspection Company?

  • Great question. Many reputable pest control companies offer these services. It is essential to do a little research on pest control companies. A simple search on Google for "pest control near me" should turn up plenty of local pest control companies. Look at reviews, avoid the perfect 5-star company with a multitude of cherry-picked reviews. It is essential to understand that a company that has been around for a long time will have a few blemishes on reviews; note how the company responds to these reviews. Most pest control companies will have a website. Check out how the user experience is on the webpage, see how the content is laid out, and how informative it is. Lastly, see if the website sites who wrote the content, in this day in age, many websites are created by web builders who are not niche experts on the subjects they write on. Suppose you seek information about pest control or WDO inspections, visit the Imperial Pest Prevention website. In that case, all of the content and blog posts are written with expertise by a certified entomologist Jonathan Stoddard.


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