One of the most destructive pests in Virginia is the subterranean termite. As a new home builder, it is critical that we are aware of this issue and plan for it. In a report by the National Pest Management Association, property damages nationwide estimate to be $5 billion due to termites. The U.S. Forestry has developed a Termite Infestation Probability Map, Virginia falls into the moderate to heavy zone for the possibility of termites. This means that as new homes are built, builders need to start the precautions there.
Builders do not apply pesticides or have them applied to buildings that are being constructed, but we do play a role in protecting the new home from future damage. Subterranean termites live underground, they build shelter tunnels in areas such as crawlspaces, masonry voids, or directly into wood contacting soil. The best time to protect a building is when it is being built. This is when pest control specialists have access to the structure areas that are then inaccessible once the new home has been constructed.
Termites and their damage often go unnoticed for long periods of time, the areas with the damage are often hidden or difficult to inspect. Most of the time, once you realize you have termite damage, the damage is extensive. When you are hiring your builder, ensure you hire one who sticks to the codes enforced by Virginia as there are several that require termite protection and protection of wood against decay and termites. There are also very strict ways that the pesticide business must apply the chemicals.
For some light bedtime reading, feel free to read the state code to ensure you know what to ask when you are hiring your builder regarding pest control services and termites. Termite prevention is discussed in Chapter 3 of the Virginia Residential Code. Protection of wood against decay and termites is also addressed in Chapter 23, Section 2304.11, of the Virginia Construction Code.
Also, when loans are issues under FHA or VA programs for new construction, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that a treatment method meet their minimum property standards. Builders have many checks and balances that need to be done when building a new home, many permits are applied for and given, many inspections that need to be passed prior to moving on to the next phase of construction, etc. Our biggest tip is to research your builder and ask them as many questions as possible. Know the company you are partnering with to build your dream home.