What would you think if I did a termite inspection for you on a home you’re buying and I neglected to tell you about the thousands of carpenter ants I found in your attic? I think you’d be pretty mad and perhaps want you’re money back right? Well, if you lived in Oregon or Maryland or almost any other state you’d have a case. In Florida however, termite inspections don’t include these insects with the very descriptive name and I could have them literally crawling up my leg and I wouldn’t have to say a thing.
It seems that in the sunshine state the powers that be got together and decided that this ant who lives in wood, hews out a suitable living quarters and even has ‘carpenter’ as its first name does not do any (or enough) damage to wood in order to be classified wood destroying. This is odd to me but I can see their side. The Florida version of the carpenter ant really can’t do damage to any sound wood like its cousins up in Pennsylvania. These snowbirds need wet, wood rotten and already damaged wood in which to infest and while they may push some of the weak wood around they cause no new significant damage and therefore do not fit the definition by which the state goes by.
Whether you buy this explanation or not it is something to consider when purchasing a Florida home. While you’re at it consider also that the carpenter bee is also exempt from Florida’s inspection list but have him fly just a few miles north and you may just have that sale halted as this destructive bee is classified a wood destroying insect everywhere else above the gun shaped peninsula.
Today I found a perfect example of a carpenter ant infestation but the new owners might never hear about it. No red flags or calls for treatment. Any damage from the wood rot will have to be fixed but if the ants wish to stay they can and there isn’t any real recourse the new occupants will have over me the inspector. Not much consolation for the housewife when she finds these nocturnal creatures invading her kitchen on a warm summers night except to say; The ants came with the house, free of charge.
For more on the carpenter ant please follow this link
For more on the carpenter bee please follow this link
For more on the wood destroying insect inspection and what to expect, please follow this link