It is quite common for lending institutions such as banks and mortgage companies to protect their investment and request Wood Destroying Insect (WDI) inspections for homes that are being purchased or refinanced. Licensed pest control professionals are regularly contacted to render a thorough examination of the structural timbers in these homes for evidence of infestation and damage due to termites, carpenter ants and powder post beetles.

Although these inspections include all wood destroying insects they are routinely referred to by lending agents, sellers, buyers, realtors and pest control professionals as “Termite Inspections.” The reason for this is that termites are by far the most destructive of all the wood destroying insects and represent the biggest threat to the value of the home.

It is often a source of great surprise (and irritation) to the seller or the refinancing homeowner that they are required to pay for this inspection as a prerequisite to closing. There is a common misperception that termites only exist in the south and that they are extremely rare or limited in this area. While it is true that termites are more prevalent in warm weather climates, they are well established in Northwest Indiana and Illinois.

In this area of the country subterranean (“below ground”) termites are in fact widespread. Unlike other species of termites in the south that actually nest and live in the wood of the dwellings they infest, “our” termites establish colonies in the ground.  They are dependent on the moisture content of the soil for survival and travel back and forth regularly from their colonies to their wood food sources above ground. Since soft, sandy soil is far more conducive to this foraging behavior it stands to reason they are located more often in areas where this soil type is predominant.

This soft soil prevails throughout Roselawn, Demotte, Lake Village, Portage, Lake Station, Miller, Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, Whiting, Mokena, Frankfort and Tinley Park. Termite activity and damage are routinely encountered in the course of performing WDI inspections in these “high pressure” areas.

Some soil types consist of a mixture of sand and clay and so termites are found in “pockets” occurring regularly in some areas but not at all in others. Lansing, Dyer, Griffith, Highland, Munster, Crown Point, Kouts, Hebron, Hobart, Chesterton, Porter, Valparaiso, Wanatah and Michigan City are examples of such areas.

Those of us in the pest control industry understand that Mother Nature has in fact dispersed termites throughout this area and precautionary home inspections make perfect sense. Bear with requests by the lenders to have a WDI inspection if you are selling or refinancing and insist upon it if you are purchasing.