ASK THE REALTOR – Pest control wisdom

May 18, 2023 | Ask the Realtor

Rosemarie LaBadie

I was at a listing appointment recently and I suggested to the homeowner having a wood destroying pest inspection before we start showing the property. He said, “We don’t need one. I have my pest guy come and spray once a month.”

This is a common error homeowners make, so this week I thought I’d share some pest control wisdom with you.

Whenever a professional pest control person comes to your home, they are licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board in Sacramento. It has divided pest control into three branches, and they dictate which chemicals the professional can use, which dictates which pest the company will specialize in.

Branch one technicians are licensed to use fumigation and poisonous gas for household pests and wood-destroying pests. Here on the mountain, you see very few homes requiring fumigation because it is used on dry wood termites and our winter kills them off.

A professional told me when fumigation is required, one of two things happened. When the lumber was delivered to build the house, it had an existing termite infestation or the owner brought the pest in when they added the stylish raw wood trim.

Branch two technicians are licensed for household pest control, excluding fumigation and poisonous gas. Generally, these providers focus on insects like flies and ants, cockroaches, wasps, rodents, spiders, bedbugs and so on. These are your monthly maintenance pest guys. They don’t even look at wood-destroying pests because it’s a completely different license.

Branch three is exclusively for the control and treatment of wood-destroying pests and organisms by using pesticides and repair, excluding fumigation and poisonous gas. Wood-destroying pests are the ones Realtors are normally most concerned about because of the damage they do to the house. These pests include termites and here we normally find subterranean termites, carpenter ants and wood fungus, which causes dry and wet rot and is in this category because it’s a living organism.

It’s an expensive problem on the mountain because of all the decks. Most homeowners take great care of the top of the deck, while the real damage is happening under the deck where the wood stays damp for extended periods of time.

Things you may want to keep an eye on, if you have concerns, are sawdust piles and pyramids in places you have not been sawing. Once I opened up a closest in a vacant house and found a pile. That’s a pretty good sign there are carpenter ants. Signs of dry rot would include the end of the deck planks will not stay screwed down, or the wood seems soft. The edges of the fascia boards are another place fungus likes to grow.

A good maintenance schedule, like keeping the dirt from piling up on the siding and inspection with a wood destroying pest company, can save you thousands, if you catch the problem early.

If you have a real estate question, I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call at (909) 338-9995 and let’s chat.


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