Environmental Tests : Wood Destroying Insects (WDI)

At Tiger, both the Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) Inspection and Report are included in the Standard Home Inspection for free. Many companies charge an additional fee for this inspection. We feel it is a necessary component to accompany the structural portion of our inspection. We have specifically trained our inspectors to perform the WDI Inspection and identify insects, damage and evidence of infestation. Termites, Carpenter ants, Carpenter bees, and Powder post beetles are included in the inspection. We can provide you with the reports necessary for government loan programs (FHA/ VA/CHFA) as well as additional letters often requested by lending institutions.

Our Wood Destroying Insect inspection is also available as a separate service for clients with lending requirements, refinance, or homeowner maintenance.

Termites
More than 600,000 U.S. homes suffer termite damage totaling over $1.5 billion annually. This is more than the damage caused by all fires, storms, and earthquakes combined. More than 2 million homes require termite treatment each year. Homeowner’s insurance can help recover losses from fires, floods and earthquakes, but it is almost impossible to get insurance against termites.

A trained termite control specialist can provide protection from termite infestation. Treatment methods include liquid application and bait systems. When active, they eat wood and may also destroy paper products such as books, cardboard boxes, furniture and various other items. Even buildings with steel framing and masonry walls are targets because of the wooden doors and window frames, wooden support beams, cabinets, or shelving.

Carpenter Ants
The damage caused by carpenter ants is not the result of an invasion by swarming carpenter ants, but rather from the proliferation of well-established colonies and satellite colonies in walls and in adjacent trees, shrubs and bushes. Since carpenter ants multiply in geometric progression, it does not take long for a full-blown infestation to develop.

Only 10% of foraging ants are out feeding at any time, leaving 90% of the ants not exposed to the insecticide. In addition, carpenter ants can live without feeding for about six months, thus avoiding the toxic effect of short-term solutions of the preferable biodegradable insecticides.

It is difficult to observe the movements of carpenter ants since they are mainly nocturnal and take different paths in and out of their nests each time they emerge. Seeing only one foraging carpenter ant indicates the presence of a nearby nest. While they are often seen in kitchens (around the dishwasher and garbage disposal) and in bathrooms, their nests are usually elsewhere. The main nest could be outside in trees, while there is often more than one satellite nest somewhere in the walls and other void spaces in the house.

Since carpenter ants do not eat wood, they must come out to feed. As the foraging adults emerge from the nests in the walls to feed (whether they are feeding indoors or outdoors), this is a good opportunity to expose them to insecticides. In so doing, they absorb the material in their antennae and are eliminated. One of the functions of the foraging adults is to return to their nests and regurgitate food to the immature and the queen. If there is no one available to perform this vital function, the young, the queen, etc. will starve. In effect, we starve out the young, the immature and queen in their nests, thus eliminating the nests no matter where they are located.

Carpenter Bees
Carpenter bees excavate wood to construct their nests and, like carpenter ants, do not actually consume wood.

The genus, Xylocopa, includes numerous large, bumblebee-sized representatives which attack unprotected timbers, damage wood, and are annoying as a result of their extensive boring. They are considered structural pests.

Carpenter bees, which attack timber, are large, up to one inch in length, often brightly-colored insects that look much like bumblebees. Carpenter bees can be distinguished from bumblebees by their lack of hairs on the dorsal surface of the abdomen giving it a shiny appearance.

Carpenter bees excavate their nests in many different species of wood, including fir, redwood, cedar and yellow pine. They apparently prefer softwoods, which are easy to work. Hardwoods softened as a result of exposure to weathering are also attacked. Most painted surfaces and timbers with bark are avoided.

A visible sign of infestation is a large, ½ inch diameter, circular entrance hole bored by a female. A nest, which has been used for a number of years, may have an opening of nearly one-inch in diameter with more irregular outlines. The entrance tunnel travels perpendicular to the wood surface for a distance about the length of the female’s body before turning parallel to the wood grain. In nests that have been used over several generations, it is not uncommon for multiple galleries to be noted. Gallery length is variable from about 4 or 6 inches to 3 plus yards.

While they have never been considered a major pest of structures, their presence can become quite annoying. Bees will most likely be found in areas where wood is unpainted or lightly stained, or on roof trim and siding.

Powder Post Beetles
Powder post beetles exist in a variety of types. They produce small emergence holes ranging in size from 1/32” to 3/8” depending on the type of beetle. They usually infest in damp basements and on old structural lumber. Active powder post beetle emergence holes produce light colored frass, a powder like substance. Typically the beetle damage does not affect enough of the timber to cause a support concern, but in some instances damage can be significant. Treatment is a spray or powder application to the wood structure. Controlling moisture in basements or crawlspaces can reduce incidents of re infestation.