Drywood termite evidence: Tent or not?

6 Replies

I just closed on a property, and am deciding whether or not to tent for termites.

Original inspections had turned up minor evidence of past drywood termites in two spots, but no live termites were seen. We got a $3300 seller credit for pest repairs (Could have been a $5k credit, but lender only allowed 2%). My original plan was to do a more thorough inspection during rehab, spot treat, but not tent unless there were signs of active infestation.

The first potential infestation location was on an outside wall with some dry rotted T11 siding, so I was going rip it off, inspect, and replace. The second location was "cosmetic damage" to a crawlspace joist. I was wasn't too worried but that location, but when we took possession tonight, and pulled back the carpet (Yay, Christmas in October, Oak hardwood throughout the entire house!!!), we found evidence of past termites inside the house. One plank of oak flooring had been eaten out, as well as part of the carpet tac. This was all in one location, though, directly above the where the evidence was in the crawlspace. 

Now, the plan is to rip out the damaged area, and reassess. I'm still leaning towards not tenting if I don't see any actual termites, but I'm interested in hearing how many people think I should just bite the bullet and get it fumed. Fume quote was only $1600, so I'll still be ahead regardless.

The property is a 1960s house in Sacramento, so I'd actually be more surprised if there wasn't evidence of termites sometime in the past. We plan on holding 2-5 years minimum.

Tenting kills termites. If there are no live termites, what would you be trying to kill? i would personally have a thorough inspection to be sure there are not live ones but not tent unless live ones are found. My $.02

@Derek Daun I believe the idea of tenting is to kill the termites currently living there so I don't believe it would have any preventative measures. I would spend the time investigating for more termites and seeing if there is anything I could do to prevent future termite damage (maybe tenting would, but I wouldn't think so).

Congrats on the purchase!

@Derek Daun since your not selling why bother with tenting it or treating it. Just tear out the bad wood and replace it. we just closed on a house in north highlands where there was termites in the old ugly wood that I am tearing out anyway so I am going to tear it all then get a new inspection . If it still shows termites then I will get the recommended treatment and not a tent .

Gordon Cuffe, Lender in CA (#1037464)
916-261-2381

@Tracy D. and @Cory Kleinfeldt The intent would not be for preventative measures, that's not what fumigation is for. The concern is that there could be other active infestations not visible. You can't be 100% certain unless you gut all the walls. That's obviously true for any house; even if you don't see any evidence, but the probability of there being activity elsewhere is higher if you see it in one spot.

So my question for others, is do they tent if they find evidence of prior activity just to be safe, or just assume it's probably good when you don't see current activity.

This is what you do.
Call terminx and tell them you just purchase the home.

They will offer the ultimate termites package. This can only be purchased before they come and check to see if you have termites.

If they find it they will treat and warranty damages good luck

I'd think about when it would be easiest to tent.  If it would be easiest now, I'd say do it now.  Past damage can mean the termites are gone or that they have moved to another section of the house.  Also, I'd get some new quotes if you are going to tent.  The quote we got in escrow was ~15% higher than the quotes we got after taking possession.

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