Published November 2022

Despite the slowing of the housing market over the past year, there are still many looking to purchase their first or next home in 2023. Buying a home is a complicated and lengthy process, designed as such to offer protection to both buyers and sellers in a transaction. By closing day, most buyers are equally as exhausted as they are excited about finally sealing the deal. Prior to signing closing documents, most buyers undergo a home inspection to identify any areas of concern or repairs needing addressing before the transition of ownership. However, most home inspectors are not certified to inspect for pest existence or infestation. It's wise to invest in a separate WDO inspection as well. Some loan issuers also require this now as a term of the loan agreement.

Compared to problems with HVAC systems or foundations, an existing pest issue may seem like a minor thing for a new home buyer. However, the existence of pests in a building - especially wood-destroying organisms (WDOs) - can have impactful and immediate consequences.

Dangers of Wood-Destroying Organisms

Each year, WDOs cause billions of dollars in damage to structures and the furnishings and fixtures within them. Often called “silent destroyers,” termites account for a majority of the damage caused by WDOs. Termites need cellulose to survive, which they acquire through their diet of wood and other cellulose-rich materials like cotton and paper. Their existence in a building often goes unnoticed, as it’s hard for the untrained eye to notice signs. When given time to feast undisturbed, termites can quickly bore through wooden parts of a foundation, furniture, wallpaper, carpet, and any other surface, structure, or object that might be rich in cellulose. Untreated, this leads to serious structural implications that put anyone inside the home at risk of injury if that structure fails.

Despite the name, wood-destroying organisms can also destroy electrical components within a building. Similar to rodents, termites are vicious when it comes to finding food sources. They can chew through electric cables and wiring looking for more viable food. They can even eat through protective wire coatings. Damage caused can lead to short circuits or other electrical issues. In severe cases, the damage is significant enough to cause a fire - obviously putting those inside the building at a high safety risk.

Beyond the structural and electrical damage that termites and other WDOs can cause, they also carry some health risks. While termites don’t often carry diseases harmful to humans, they can cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks, especially for those with weakened immune systems. A bite isn’t the only trigger for these reactions either. Contact with termite saliva or droppings can also initiate those health conditions.

Even the trees surrounding a building are at risk in the presence of a termite infestation nearby. Colonies of termites can quickly spread to other wood sources around your home, quickly feeding through even mature trees.

A WDO Inspection

All home buyers should request a WDO inspection before finalizing the transaction. Per the state of Florida, these inspections can only be conducted by trained and licensed pest control experts. During these inspections, technicians conduct a thorough investigation throughout all spaces within or around a structure that are vulnerable to termites and other WDOs. Inspectors look for active colonies as well as evidence of damage, especially that which causes structural weakening. After the inspection concludes, they provide homebuyers with a comprehensive report of their findings, often called a WDO letter or report. Included in that report will be treatment recommendations for any existing issues.

Choosing a Certified WDO Inspector in your Area

Florida has some of the highest rates of termite infestation in the United States. So, there are strict state requirements for those offering WDO inspections. When searching for a pest control expert to conduct an inspection, opt for one with all the required certifications and training. Only then can you ensure you have an accurate and comprehensive understanding of a structure’s condition regarding pest infestations and/or damage. Homeowners' insurance doesn’t often cover termite damage or treatment, so buyers can’t rely on that to help mitigate any issues after the purchase finalizes.

At Knockout Pest Control, our team of pest specialists is fully trained, licensed, and certified to identify and treat nearly all common Florida pests and the issues they cause. From the initial WDO inspection to developing a plan for treatment if needed and implementing that plan, the Knockout team is beside you the entire way. In cases where termites or other WDOs are found, we offer multiple treatment options to ensure the issue is resolved before ownership changes.

Some of the most common treatment options include non-repellents or liquid termiticides like Termidor.™ Bait stations or misting systems are also often recommended. Each specific case of termites is different, so there is no one universal treatment. However, the team at Knockout Pest Control will help guide you to be able to choose the best option for your current - or new - home. It is not just new homeowners that should invest in a WDO inspection. For any Florida homeowner that wants to protect their home and its contents from these destructive pests, annual inspections are recommended in order to catch any issue before it has too much time to escalate.

If you are in the home buying process, or if you simply want to better protect your home against termites and other pests, we encourage you to reach out to our team today!