Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

Jm, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Tenting a home vs. Spot treatment for termites

Asked by Jm, Los Angeles, CA Fri Jan 23, 2009

The seller agreed to do all section 1 termite work which was estimated to be $2895. When we received the completed termite work report, we saw that the work cost $2695. The reason for the price difference being that the seller's agent decided to do what the termite company calls a "substandard recommendation" and spot treat the house rather than tent. Our concern is that in the attic, the termite company states that a limited inspection was performed due to visual and physical blockage due to insulation and low pitch. So, if the house was spot treated, how can we be sure all the drywood termites found in the attic have been taken care of if a limited inspection was performed? If they can't see it, they can't treat it.
If the house had been tented (as we expected it would), all seen and unseen termite problems would have been taken care off. How concerned should we be about this? We are upset that the seller's agent changed the agreed upon work without consulting us.

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Hello JM,

Did you have something in writing (a report at $2895 that was requiring tenting). If you did than you may be able to dispute this. If you don't have a report that states tenting is needed then I don't think there is much you can do. I am not a termite inspector but as a realtor and homeowner here are my two cents:
I have seen termites (evidence) on homes a couple weeks and months after tenting. I don't think tenting has much or any residual effect. The good news is some spot treatments (like Borate) is more Eco friendly and does have a residual effect. Also, I don't particularly care for the smell of the tenting. It stinks and if it's not needed in the report than you make not need it. The other thing you might want to do, is to see if there is any possibility of getting another company to get a person to inspect the attic that can fit in the small space.If they can't see it, they can't recommend it. No I personally would request a second inspection and also call the termite company and see why they recommend the "substandard recomendation". Perhaps the seller doesn't want the hassle of tenting. I think further investigation about this issue needs to be done. Call your agent and call the termite company.


Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Wilshire
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
Jm: In my mind you have a valid concern. To be sure the drywood termite issue has been addressed you need to tent. Unless the termite company has a relative of Superman (x-ray vision) working for them, spot treatments are not a 100% solution. I really can't believe they didn't just tent for the $200 difference. Your agent should definitely revisit this subject before close of escrow.

As I understand it::
Because it leaves no residue, sulfuryl fluoride (aka “Vikane”), which is commonly used for termite tenting, provides no protection from future infestations. Heavy reinfestation can take several years since drywood termites have slower growing colonies than ground termites. My understanding is that sulfuryl fluoride blocks the absorption of nutrients to the termite. It is common to see a temporary increase in ant activity after a tenting as they will go into the termite tunnels and "harvest" the prior occupants.

Best, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
You can pay a different Termite Company to go check and make sure that the work was done correct. Here is the name of a company I use Ameribug 1-888-314-abug. Ask for Jesse and he will go and make sure everything was done correctly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
You will want to have someone inspect it again if you have doubts. The key is the wording in your addendum asking for the treatment. it should have stated tenting and left nothing to be assumed. good luck with working things out
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 23, 2009
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