Termites and WDOs Reading Your Inspection Report About Us


What Are We Looking For?
Termites, Wood Destroying Organisms and Other Findings Explained

A Description of Section I & Section II, and Further Inspection

Your report may have three types of "findings"— items found during the inspection. The three categories of findings are Section I, Section II and Further Inspection.

Section I. These items indicate active infestations or infections, or visible and accessible evidence thereof. Also, wood members damaged by wood destroying pests or organisms will be Section I items.

Section II. These items are conditions deemed likely to lead to infestation or infection but where no visible evidence of such was found. Conditions usually deemed likely to lead to infestation or infection include, but are not limited to: 

(1) Faulty Grade Level. A faulty grade level exists when the top of any foundation is even with or below the adjacent earth. The existing earth level shall be considered grade. 
(2) Inaccessible subareas or portions thereof and areas where there is less than 12 inches clear space between the bottom of the floor joists and the unimproved ground area. 
(3) Excessive Cellulose Debris. This is defined as any cellulose debris of a size that can be raked or larger. Stumps and wood imbedded in footings in earth contact shall be reported. 
(4) Earth-wood contacts. 
(5) Commonly controllable moisture conditions which would foster the growth of a fungus infection materially damaging to woodwork. 

Further inspection. These items are defined as recommendations to inspect area(s) which during the original inspection did not allow the inspector access to complete the inspection and cannot be defined as Section I or Section II.*

Common Findings: What We Find in Structures

Subterranean termites and their damage to a wood door frame.

Subterranean termites: These common pests live in the soil, and construct tubes from the ground up into your structure, where they feed on the wood & paper, and then return to their colonies. "Subs" have significant moisture needs, and this is why they cannot live in the wood itself, but must return to moisture (usually soil, but occasionally something else will serve as a home for them). They can cause huge amounts of destruction over time. However, it is also true that sometimes they will just disappear out of a house they've been feeding on for a long time, moving on to a new food source. Subs swarm once, sometimes twice a year, at which time you'll see large numbers of them flying. Swarming subs are often mistaken for flying ants. (Click here to see more pictures of subs and their damage.)

Drywood termites: Drywoods fly into your structure and establish their colonies' nests there. Drywood termites do not need contact with the soil. They get their small moisture needs from the wood itself. They, like subs, eat the wood and paper within your house, and can cause significant damage. They are also commonly found nesting in trees, telephone poles, fences and the like.

Fungus, and fungus damage ("dryrot"): There are several forms of wood-destroying fungi that can infect your structure. These fungi secrete enzymes to break down wood fiber, causing what is commonly called "dry rot" or "dryrot". Dryrot, or fungus damage, can significantly compromise the integrity of the wooden structures in your home. In spite of the name, most—but not all—of these fungi need moisture to thrive, which is one reason why termite inspectors are concerned with "excessive moisture conditions" in your home.

Wood-boring beetles: There are several types of wood-boring beetles, the eggs or larvae of which can be in tree wood harvested and cut for lumber. These pests can present a problem in your home because the eggs can remain dormant for months or years before they hatch and start feeding on structural wood members, reducing them to powder.

Dampwood termites: The more uncommonly found termites, they require a significant source of moisture to survive. They prefer to eat wood that has been subject to moisture and decay, especially if there's no contact with the ground.

Carpenter ants: These pests do not actually eat wood; they tunnel through it to create galleries. They typically live in colonies underground or in dead trees, telephone poles or houses. Infestations of carpenter ants, while somewhat rare in the Bay Area, can be severe and require extensive repairs.

Carpenter bees: These bees hollow out galleries in soft woods in which to lay their eggs. Common vulnerable areas include roof trim, siding, decks, porch beams, outdoor furniture and fences. These infestations are somewhat rare in the Bay Area.

Section II examples (not a complete list): Plumbing leaks, loose toilets, water stains, plant growth in contact with the structure, gutters missing or disconnected, stucco cracks, caulk or grout cracks, broken tiles, faulty grade, earth-to-wood contacts. (Note: Some of these could also be called for Further Inspection instead of Section II, depending on the situation. See above for descriptions of these categories.)

The information on this site is provided for our customers' convenience only, and is not intended to be a complete reference of state laws and regulations concerning wood destroying organisms, nor a complete reference of the wood destroying organisms themselves. For more information, please contact the California Structural Pest Control Board and/or an entomologist.

*Source: California Code of Regulations, TITLE 16, DIVISION 19, ARTICLE 5.

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