What is a Pest Inspection?

A home inspector goes over the home from top to bottom. However, they aren’t actually looking for things like wood damage caused by insects — if they come across it, they’ll let you know. Some home inspectors are qualified to find this damage and deal with it. Most are not. In order to ensure your home is pest free, get a pest inspection. This is because pest inspectors require specific licensing since they use noxious chemicals. If your home inspector does come across pest damage, they’ll refer you to a pest control service or inspector. They’ll also refer you to professionals who can handle the repairs. A home inspection is very thorough; these inspectors are trained to identify wood-destroying organisms (WDOs). However, to have a proper WDO report, you’d need to hire a specialized inspector from a licensed pest control company.

What is a pest inspection?

What does a pest inspection look for?

Pest inspectors (also casually referred to as termite inspectors) will check out your floors and any accessible wood framing areas, including crawl spaces, attics, and basements. Termites love moisture and tend to be found in places with mildew. Some signs of termites include dry rot in floor joists, wood rot near door or window frames (especially with water damage), and buckling floors.

A pest inspection is synonymous with a termite inspection, which is the main culprit that will ruin your home. Pest inspectors search for other creatures, such as bedbugs, carpenter ants or bees, silverfish, wood-destroying beetles, rodents, moths, spiders, and stinging insects. Depending on where you live, the pest inspector may also look for other native pests, such as scorpions or rattlesnakes. 

How much does a pest inspection cost?

On average, a pest inspection costs between $100 – $150. You might be able to swing one as low as $50, and some can even go as high as over $275. If you’re asking for a pest inspection but do not need one to purchase or sell a home, some companies will even do it for free. If you need a termite clearance letter, that can cost an additional $100 – $200. You can also purchase a termite bond ($500 – $2,000) which is an agreement with a company for annual inspections, plus treatment if pests are found. You may also hear of a CL-100 report, a pest inspection report for South Carolina. This can cost between $75 – $250. The official name for this report is the South Carolina Wood Infestation Report.

How long does a pest inspection take?

In general, a pest inspection can take thirty minutes to an hour. If you have a big house or difficult crawl spaces and attics to get into, this could make the process longer. The actual report may take a couple of days after the inspection. If you have damage, another inspection will be scheduled for after the repair to ensure you’re pest-free.

Do you have a pest infestation?

There are a number of signs you may have a termite infestation. For example, if you see them flying near the home, this is a sign. Light clicking sounds within the walls and shed termite wings around the home can indicate a termite presence. Frass, or termite droppings, can look similar to sawdust. Worm-shaped tunnels within the wood, or wood that makes papery or hollow sounds, is another sign. If the wood in floors and furniture buckles, there’s mud in the construction joints, or doors and windows fit tightly, these are further indications. Any pinholes in the drywall are another sign, as well as blistered, bumpy, or bubbly paint, as that can indicate damaged wood.

Treating indoor pests

The best thing you can do is act quickly. The longer termites stick around, the more damage they do, and termites can do a lot of damage. While the best way is to call the professional, we have additional advice you can try. There are termite-killing products and bait traps you can purchase. You can also spray boric acid in your floors and walls.

Some states will let you use termiticide around the home, which kills unsuspecting termites and spreads to other termites like a disease. You’d use this as a barrier outside your home. Inside, Termidor Foam can be sprayed into cracks and crevices where termites hide. The foam expands and evaporates, leaving behind a poison that kills the termites. Nematodes are a natural predator of termites and can be great to utilize in garden soil. You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth in suspected termite areas.

The best ways to prevent pest infestation

In order to prevent infestations, don’t have any wood in contact with the ground of the home. As this wood wears over time, termites crawl in through the cracks and holes. Termites like moisture so ensure water can’t accumulate near the foundation of the home. As well reduce humidity in attics and crawl spaces. Beware of landscaping mulch, especially if you already have a termite problem. Mulch looks attractive to a termite but holds very little nutritional value, which means the termite will look to your home next.

Is a pest inspection required?

A pest inspection is not required to purchase a home. Take that with a grain of salt because most lenders or insurers will require one even though it isn’t federally mandated. Termites are more of a nuisance the farther south you travel, so your odds of being requested to purchase a pest inspection increase beyond the northernmost states. Certain loans, like a VA loan (a loan through the Veteran Affairs program) and any loan within South Carolina, require a pest inspection. 

Pest inspection for VA loans

For a VA loan, you will most often need a pest inspection. It’s quicker to list the states this VA loan pest infection isn’t a requirement. These states are Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In certain states, the seller is required to purchase the pest inspection. These states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

CL 100 South Carolina wood infestation report

South Carolina has a special pest inspection report called the CL 100 South Carolina Wood Infestation Report. These cost around $150 and are only valid for 30 days. Your lender will require this report before you can close on any home within South Carolina.

Termite letter or report

If you’re getting a pest inspection as a result of buying a home, you’ll need a termite letter or a termite report to give to your lender. These reports state if there was damage, what was done to fix it, and any estimated repairs that may still need to be done. While these reports aren’t mandated federally, most lenders demand them automatically, as they want to ensure there are no surprises.

These reports also classify the severity of the repairs needed. Section 1 Repairs are in need of immediate attention, while Section 2 Repairs are considered optional and may be required for a lender to issue the loan. Typically, the seller would pay for Section 1 Repairs, while the buyer would take on any repair costs that they were aware of before buying. Buyers will also usually take on precautionary costs to lower the risk of future issues.

A pest inspection is a specialized inspection, looking for a number of creatures that may not only inhabit but actively destroy your home. This can include termites, rodents, spiders, carpenter ants or bees, stinging insects, and spiders. A home inspection may indicate a pest inspection is needed. Whether indicated or not, a lender may require you to get one. A pest inspection is a great safety check not only for your home’s safety but your peace of mind.