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  • taza
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Buyer's Question : How serious should we take Drywood termites? Opinions from Home Owners /

I am trying to buy a home (as-is) and this home is visually not the best out there and we want to spend our money to fix some cosmetics however we just found out that there are drywood termites. Summary of the report: Dry wood termites is found below a bedroom and garage.(sub area) and inspection company recommends fumigation for full guaranteed eradication of all drywood termite infestations One of my builder / investor friend who buys and fixes homes advised that these (drywood termites) are slow chewers and I would not spend money on fumigation unless there are some structural issue and inspection report did not show up anything that big. I plan to keep this home for 5 more years and would like your advise if you agree or disagree with my friend's statement above so that we can best spend our money on cosmetics than fumigation. PS: There are fungus/dry rot issues and we plan to take care of them separately
  • February 02 2014 - Mountain View
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Answers (7)

Profile picture for Julie Wyss
In my opinion, you are better off treating the termites. As mentioned by others, often your mortgage holder will require this be done as a contingency of your loan. If you are concerned about chemicals, look into other natural treatment options.
  • June 18 2014
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Profile picture for arterrainc
Never fumigate unless there is absolutely no other option as the odorless, colorless gasses they use are dangerous and persistent in your home for months. Important question to ask - is there evidence of drywood termite damage or is there an active drywood termite infestation?  BIG difference.  Evidence of an active infestation are piles of what appears to be sawdust outside of the 'kickout' holes which is actually their excrement being pushed out of the tunnels.  This is the tell tale sign that they are actually eating the wood.  If it is past damage only, there is no need to fumigate because there are no termites there.  If it is active or you are not sure, you can get some [promotion deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]
  • February 04 2014
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
I would go ahead and have the property treated.  It is not going to get any better on its own, and if you are planning on living in the property for at least 5 years, it could only get worse.  Enjoy your home!
  • February 03 2014
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I usually recommend that Buyers "just do it".  The fumigation costs ~$2,000.  You can save 10% off the estimate from the inspection company by contracting directly with the fumigation company. Another option is to do localized treatment, like Orange Planet, which probably keeps the cost under $1,000.

You could request that the seller complete the fumigation prior to the close of escrow. This would save you the out-of-pocket cash after closing escrow. Will probably make your offer less attractive/competitive, but doable.
  • February 03 2014
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When you go to sell your house the odds are there will be a mortgage made by the new buyer.  The mortgage company will require all wood destroying organisms be eradiated and all damage repaired.  Covering up damage to facilitate a loan is Bank Fraud.

Get a new friend
  • February 03 2014
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
1) As wetdawgs pointed out, all termite infestation needs to be taken seriously.

2) I would start by reading about termites:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Termite

"Termites are generally grouped according to their nesting and feeding habits. Therefore the commonly used general groupings are subterranean, soil-dwelling, drywood, dampwood, and grass-eating. Of these, subterraneans and drywoods are primarily responsible for damage to human-made structures."

Personally, if it is under the bedroom and garage, it is likely subterranean rather than "flying"... but in either case, you don't replace the damaged wood and treat for the insects, they will just keep eating.

Personally, I have had both flying and subterranean, and they eat pretty fast if the wood is damaged.  The oils in redwood and ceder kill them, but they eat it anyway.  If the wood is damaged, most of the oils from the wood are already gone.  Dryrot is a major cause of damage allowing in both flying and subterranean termites.

3) Fumigation is unlikely to resolve the problem for more than a couple years, especially if damaged wood is not replaced (both dry-rotted and "eaten").  Spot treating is usually better, but will miss any areas that are not accessible or not seen.  Thus it is still advisable to fumigate or freeze or other treatment once the damaged wood is removed and areas are spot treated.  Termites are very good at eating behind paint making it very difficult to tell they are there, except for possibly their droppings.

Copper naphthenate is a good choice for spot treating and is available in hardware and home improvement stores.  Some of the stronger chemicals may only be applied by licensed exterminators.  For freezing or electrocuting or microwaving.... it is unlikely that anyone other than specialized licensed exterminators would have the required equipment.

4) If you have "wood to earth contact" or "water collection problems", those issues absolutely have to be dealt with if you don't want the problem coming right back.  A concrete barrier may be a good start, but it won't help at all if the water is still collecting there or if the wood is already damaged to the point of attracting the wood eating insects.  It is more important to look for wood to earth contact and water dripping on eave overhang joists than it is to see active termite infestation.
  • February 02 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You should take dry wood termites seriously.   Your builder/investor friend is not doing you or his buyer's any favors with his recommendation. 

Will your home fall down in 5 years?  Probably not.   Will there be significantly more damage that your buyer will ask for you to repair?  Most likely.   stop it before it requires major repair.

  • February 02 2014
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