What is a Wood Destroying Organism Inspection?
A wood destroying organism (WDO) inspection is an inspection on a home for visible and accessible evidence of an infestation or damage by wood destroying organisms. Usually this means subterranean or dry wood termites, but will also cover wood destroying beetles and wood destroying fungi. In Florida, carpenter ants and carpenter bees do NOT have to be reported.
A WDO inspection report is provided when a home or other structure is being sold and the mortgage lender or buyer requires the inspection as part of the transaction. If an inspection is done for these purposes, the inspection must be reported on a specific report form as required by Florida Law. The inspection must be performed by a pest control specialist licensed by the state of Florida.
A WDO report tells the buyer if the pest inspector saw any evidence of the following:
- live termites or other wood destroying organisms
- evidence of infestation by termites or other wood destroying organisms (including wood destroying fungi)
- damage by termites or other wood destroying organisms
- previous treatment for termites or other wood destroying organisms
The inspector must report the common name of the wood destroying organism identified and the location of the evidence. If any areas are not accessible for inspection these areas and the reason they are inaccessible must be reported. Click here for a sample WDO inspection report.
After the inspection, the inspector may issue a “clear” report stating no evidence of wood destroying organisms infestation or damage was visible. A clear report does not mean, however, that the buyer can be absolutely assured that there are no wood destroying organisms infesting the structure or that there is no damage from termites or other wood destroying organisms. It is very possible for termite or other WDO damage or infestations to be behind walls or in some other inaccessible location even in structures that receive clear reports.
The existence of a past infestation or damage does not necessarily mean that the buyer should not purchase the home. The buyer should obtain additional information, however, to determine what steps (if any) are needed to put the structure into an acceptable condition.
Buyers should try to be present when the WDO inspection is done. If possible, obtain documentation on termite treatment history and copies of protection contracts issued for the structure from the current owner. It would also be wise to maintain an active WDO protection contract (aka “termite bond“) on the structure after purchase.