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springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 28, 2013 5:19 PM CST
My husband and I are trying to purchase a house and the inspector says he sees evidence of old and active termites. The extent of damage or how long they have been there is unknown. He is just an inspector and says yes or no if he thinks they are there. As far as anything further than that-he doesn't get involved there. He did say there are parts of the crawl space that are totally inaccessible because the crawl space is too low and the duct work is in the way.
At this point we are unsure how to proceed. We really love the house, location and the yard. So walking away is not an option until we have exhausted efforts. Our realtor says that we should ask the seller to take care of the problem. I am concerned that any warranty the seller gets may not transfer to the buyer. If the termites are treated, we buy it, and then find the termites are still there, then what? Is there any way to know what kind of structural damage there is? I am assuming that could be up in the walls and be inaccessible unless the sheetrock or siding were pulled off? How difficult is it to get rid of termites and how do we be sure they are gone? Our other concern in having the seller treat them is that they can of course choose whoever they want to do the treatment. I think it would be better to renegotiate the overall price and take care of the termites ourselves. We can hire whoever WE want, will be certain the warranty is in our name, and have more control over the situation.

So if anyone knows something about termites or has experience with this, I covet your advice, pretty please!

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 28, 2013 9:13 PM CST
I have been through this twice. And badly. I was stupid, ignorant and trusting.

The inspector will get paid no matter what he says. He doesn't have to lie or tell the truth; what he does is give an opinion.

Make the termite treatment part of the deal, insist on being actively involved in the treatment process. The warranty should go with the house itself, it usually will involve 'lifetime' re-treatment.

They sell some very nice disposable coveralls at Lowe's and Home Depot. Don the outfit, remember to cover your head and neck, spray yourself with insect repellant for the spiders and ants, and crawl under there with your digital camera. Don't be shy and don't worry about polite.
Let the buyer beware.
Never marry for love alone and never buy a house because you are in love with it. It will not love you back.

That being said, you can fix a house, but you cannot fix a neighborhood. If the house is in a good neighborhood, good schools, close to whatever, then go for it (after getting a clean bill of house health) and fix the house up later. You will be the envy of the neighborhood once you get your plants and garden in.

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Apr 29, 2013 6:27 AM CST
Great advice! I agree
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 29, 2013 8:43 AM CST
You might also consider contacting one or two of the pest control services in the area, explain your situation, and ask them about how their warranty works. Phone calls are cheap. Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 29, 2013 9:27 AM CST
it was suggested to me that I should go knocking on the neighbors doors and see if any are willing to divulge anything they know regarding the house's history. That is a great idea, embarrassed I didn't think of it lol. Will get on that real soon.
Neighborhood is great. There is a huge golf club right across the road, which is in city limits (everything on the OTHER side of the road is in city limits) and there is a large conservation park/fishing hole, with a paved bike trail, about 2 miles from the house. The house is less than a mile to an interstate, yet in a country setting-very quiet and has it's own well, which is about unheard of unless you get into acreage or farther from town. It sits on 1 1/2 acres too which is a dream!
The well water btw tested fine.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Apr 29, 2013 10:35 AM CST
There are different kinds of termite treatments. Some are, I think, poison which kill the termites immediately. We have one with "traps" in ground, where termites have to crawl in and pick up poison, and carry it to the nest. I think both require repeated treatments, some for longer time than others. Just make sure you understand what you're getting, and for how long.

Karen
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 29, 2013 12:13 PM CST
I think my fear is that the termites could be treated, but appear to be gone even though they may still be lingering. If there are just a few, can they be detected, or go for how long undetected or? I imagine myself on my 80th birthday blowing out the candles before falling through the floor LOL I thought we got rid of those 50 yrs ago?!
I guess my question is Can termites REALLY be gotten rid of?



Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 29, 2013 12:26 PM CST
Here's a link to some good information from the University of MO:
http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g7420
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Apr 29, 2013 12:28 PM CST
My bug guys said if termites are present in your neighborhood, the question isn't IF you'll get them, it's WHEN. I think every neighbor on our block has had them in the past few years.

Karen
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
Apr 29, 2013 12:32 PM CST
Yup. They were a fact of life in SoCal. Don't know if this is true, but my Mom told me that the house I grew up in, that was built in 1921, was constructed of timbers that had been pre-treated with arsenic to prevent termites! Gotta say that it had less damage from termites than the house next door, built 30 years later.
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Apr 29, 2013 1:05 PM CST
Yeah, but look at what it did to you, woofie. Hilarious! If not for the arsenic, you might have been normal. Rolling on the floor laughing

Karen
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
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mcash70
Apr 29, 2013 1:09 PM CST
kqcrna said:Yeah, but look at what it did to you, woofie. Hilarious! If not for the arsenic, you might have been normal. Rolling on the floor laughing

Karen


Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Apr 29, 2013 2:04 PM CST
Karen, you are so easy! Rolling on the floor laughing
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Apr 29, 2013 2:36 PM CST
I wouldn't say that to everyone here, woofie. But you're my buddy, I knew that you would know I was kidding. Group hug

Karen
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
Apr 29, 2013 3:08 PM CST
Yup. I always know that you'll pick up on my straight lines! Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Apr 29, 2013 5:13 PM CST
In the south, we found out, it's the same, not IF, but WHEN.
Name: Margaret
Near Kamloops, BC, Canada (Zone 3a)
Region: Canadian Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Tip Photographer Garden Ideas: Master Level I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member
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mcash70
Apr 29, 2013 5:56 PM CST
I saw a house being treated for termites on TV some time ago, they put a tent over the whole house and pumped some sort of gas/insecticide in to kill them, I don't now if they still do that. Shrug!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Apr 29, 2013 8:17 PM CST
that sounds expensive.

Father in law crawled under there and says he doesn't think things are as bad as inspector made it out. He thinks the house is doable, but we all agree it is over priced. So at this point, since we don't think it actually needs bulldozed lol we will try to renegotiate a price. I did see a real live termite though. there is a lot of dead wood, stumps junk around the house that will need cleaned up.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
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extranjera
Apr 30, 2013 10:07 AM CST
When I lived in NoCal, everyone on the block either had termites, had had termites or had a bi-monthly service to keep out the termites. We had the service and they come and put bait in places they think termites would go and they check them. As long as the traps are empty you are fine but you get a quick warning if they are returning. We had the service rolled into our regular ant and other bug service. Talk to a good local exterminator and see if they will first treat for the termites and then monitor the house so you will know if they return. They also give good advice on places to change or repair that are inviting to termites. You don't want wood touching ground for instance.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 30, 2013 9:18 PM CST
I just remembered something.

AFTER you buy the house and after you have the termite treatment which will happen X-number of times per year, this part is important.....Do no....do not dig the soil up from arount the foundation. The termite treatment usually gets sprayed into the ground via a long, thin wand and it's all calculated for things staying where they are and not getting stirred up.

See, Ms Termite Product Person treated the house, you come along and dig 11 holes to plant new azaleas, you remove the dirt and put it in a pile (later to become part of a garden, uh-oh) and you back-fill the holes with new soil, better soil, then you add bark chips as mulch. And you water. You water a lot. Then you add a nice shady pergola. Water plus shade plus reduced air circulation, oh boy.

Guess who was sitting in their tiny lawn chairs laughing their little butts off? The termites. They are saying, "Whoo-hoo, we just got in invitation!"

Okay, I wrote it like a joke, but seriously, when you talk to your potential bug guy/gal, ask about stuff like this, too.

OOPs, one more think. Ants are not the friends of termites. Ants eat termite larva. If you see a line of ants marching along going into some part of your house (other than your kitchen), sit down and watch til they march back out. If they are carrying larva, then you have got termites.

I learned all this the hard way. Hope you have an easier time of it.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"

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