Environmental Hazards

My job as your professional home inspector choice is to alert you to the extent possible to unknown problems and potential environmental hazards in your current or potential house. Just because some of these hazards are invisible doesn’t mean they call for less vigilance on your part. Ours is a non-invasive visual inspection of your property.  While we may be able to alert you to possible problems, our basic inspections are no substitutes for specialized contaminant testing.  Ask us to explain our environmental inspection services, including referrals, in more detail.

WOOD-DESTROYING ORGANISMS
 
Termites, which play a positive role in recycling wood and plant material, become a problem when they consume structural lumber.  Every year thousands of U.S. housing units require termite treatment.  These pests cause serious damage to wooden structures and posts and can also attack stored food, household furniture, and books.  Successful termite management requires special skills, including a working knowledge of building construction and an understanding of termite biology and identification.  In most cases, it is advisable to hire a professional pest control company for the inspection and control problem.
 
Wood-boring beetle larvae feed on wood and wood products.  Adults of some species bore holes into plaster, plastic, and soft metals.  Many species cause problems when emerging from wood in newly constructed buildings because they leave small circular or oval exit holes in the wood.  To avoid these problems, infested wood must be kiln-fried before being used for lumber.  The species Deathwatch Beetles is primarily found in soft woods (girder, beams, foundation timbers, some types of furniture, with some species attacking books).  False Powerpost female beetles bore a tunnel, or egg gallery, into wood or other materials, then deposit eggs in pores or cracks within the tunnel.  Adults of some species bore through such soft metal as lead and silver, as well as plaster and other non-wood materials.  Affected structural wood should be removed and replaced whenever possible.
 
Wood Wasps  and Horntails.  Wood wasp damage in buildings is likely to be more cosmetic than structurally weakening.  Emerging wood wasps can chew through any substance:  wallboard or plaster walls, hardwood floors, carpeting, linoleum, non-ceramic floor tiles, and other interior surfaces.
 
Carpenter Ants.  Several species can damage wood in building and other structures.  Though ants don’t eat wood, they bore into it to make their nests, sometimes causing serious structural damage.  Also, they nest in hollow doors, cracks and crevices, furniture, wall voids, and termite galleries.  New building infestation occurs when land-cleaning in the area disturbs existing native colonies. 
Excerpts from University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources, UCIPMOnline, “Statewide Pest Management Program”.