"According to the National Pest Management Association
International, termites cost $5 billion a year in treatments and
damage throughout the United States. While detecting and
controlling termites is a job for a professional, there are several
simple tips homeowners can follow to help protect their
homes from termite damage."
Wood is a biological material. If protected from moisture and insect attack, it can last for centuries. When wood is not properly protected, however, it will succumb to biological processes that decompose wood: insects that eat the wood or fungi that cause rot and decay. The most damaging insects that attack structural wood are termites. Their activity results in damage and control costs that exceed $1.5 billion per year nationally. Beetles are the next important group of insects that attack wood, while bees, wasps and ants are third in importance, depending on geographical location. Wood-inhabiting fungi are another group of organisms that occasionally cause problems.
Since termites are attracted to moisture, it’s best to avoid moisture accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters, and splash blocks.
If your home is on a crawl space, make sure your crawl is properly ventilated. Prevent shrubs, vines, and other vegetation from growing over vents.
The general consensus among researchers seems to be that mulch creates a favorable termite habitat, and while most commonly used mulches are low-quality termite food sources, termites do consume them to some extent. Although there is no evidence that mulch “attracts” termites, they do create favorable conditions for termites near the home.
An important practice for detecting a termite infestation in one’s home is to leave at least a foot of concrete foundation exposed so that mud termite tunnels can be easily seen during inspection. Keep mulch several inches away from the house foundation. Never allow mulch to cover window sills or to contact house siding. Watch wood chip mulch for signs of activity if termites are present in your area. If you suspect termite activity contact several professional termite control services for inspections and estimates.
The state of Florida requires a pest control license to perform WDO inspections.
Florida regulates persons who apply pesticides to structures in Florida, as outlined in the Florida Structural Pest Control Law (Chapter 482). Visit the Florida website.
"A home inspector, upon observing some apparent WDO damage
during the home inspection, can state that he or she observes damage
to wood, structure, or whatever he notes, but cannot state that it is
due to a wood-destroying organism. As long as they are NOT
diagnosing the condition or stating that it's due to termites or some
other pest, they are OK."
Home inspectors who perform home inspections according to the
Standards of Practice do not spray pesticides and do not identify
specific insects or pests.
Wood Destroying Organisms