FOR REALTORS / PART 2

  • By 7016374718
  • 28 Sep, 2017

TO TREAT OR NOT TO TREAT?

This is part 2 of a multipart series on the Wood-Destroying Insect Clause used in standard contracts. For other parts please visit our blog, www.atlasexterminator.com or you may call me directly.

A Possible Scenario:

The first inspector reported evidence of termite infestation and recommended treatment. A second opinion was performed with similar findings but that inspector says no treatment is needed. Both inspectors agree that no evidence of prior treatment was found.

First, it is important to understand that Maryland Regulations neither require treatment nor do they prohibit treatment…. under almost any circumstance. The individual company policy on when to recommend treatment will typically be the determinant. Almost without exception companies will follow MSPCA (Maryland State Pest Control Association) guidelines or Guidelines from the National Pest Management Association. These guidelines are in sync with the actual language in the standard sales contract that addresses when treatment should be performed.

Typically, an inspection that reveals termite evidence with no evidence of prior treatment is considered “evidence of present infestation”. Conversely, a property with termite evidence that has been previously, comprehensively treated and no activity is found is typically considered to be previously treated / currently inactive, with no additional treatment recommended. There are always exceptions but there would have to be other significant factors that would modify the typical recommendation of treat / no treat.

So, you look at both reports. If they both indicate there is no evidence of prior treatment then, to stay consistent with the intent of the contract clause, a treatment should be performed. The issuance of a “warranty” only , is not a substitute for treatment . Getting third opinions will never prove which ones are correct and which are not. Still at a stalemate? Then we always recommend having both inspectors meet at the property with any concerned party to reach a common resolution.  

Bruce Morgan 410-296-1212

President Atlas Exterminator Co., Inc.

Current Chairman of the MSPCA Wood-Destroying Insect Committee

MSPCA Credentialed WDIO Inspector

MSPCA Liaison to MAR

Member and Instructor @ GBBR

Atlas Exterminator Co Inc Blog

By 7016374718 03 Oct, 2017

We’ve already talked about when it is appropriate to recommend a termite treatment. In this segment we’ll discuss what constitutes a “ proper control measure ”.

Pest control operators have an obligation to the consumer to perform treatments or control measures in a proper and appropriate scope and manner. Maryland regulations only specify that a treatment be performed in accordance with the label instructions “for the areas treated”. Those same regulations do not specifically address how much treatment is proper or where treatments should be rendered.

The pest control industry itself establishes guidelines or standards for proper control measures by its own actions over a period of time. With respect to termite treatments proper control measures typically mean a liquid application of termiticide to the structure or the installation of a bait system. Where discrepancies may occur is in how much treatment is considered proper. With only little exception, most liquid termite control measures should encompass the entire structure with treatments rendered to, at minimum, the entire exterior of the building . Likewise a bait system should be installed, at minimum, on the entire exterior perimeter . Failure to protect the structure in a minimum fashion, as mentioned above, will typically result in chronic, unfettered, infestation and resulting future damage. “Sectional treatments” or “spot treatments” which do not meet the minimum guidelines as mentioned above, are generally offered by a company looking for a quick, high profit-margin job that, unfortunately, leaves the buyer with a home that will likely suffer from additional infestation and damage. Respected research entomologists agree that spot treatments are “a gamble, since termites will eventually find other points of entry into the structure” [1]  

Buyers have certain rights specifically detailed in the contract of sale. But they also have the full expectation that any repairs or treatments be performed in a proper manner and appropriate scope. Seemingly “low cost” spot treatments may be attractive from a pricing standpoint but it ignores a basic understanding of termite behavior and biology and compromises the buyer’s rights and reasonable expectations for a “proper control measure” .

Bruce Morgan 410-296-1212

President Atlas Exterminator Co., Inc.

Current Chairman of the MSPCA Wood-Destroying Insect Committee

MSPCA Credentialed WDIO Inspector

MSPCA Liaison to MAR

Member and Instructor @ GBBR

 

[1] Mike Potter PHD, Urban Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky

By 7016374718 28 Sep, 2017

This is part 2 of a multipart series on the Wood-Destroying Insect Clause used in standard contracts. For other parts please visit our blog, www.atlasexterminator.com or you may call me directly.

A Possible Scenario:

The first inspector reported evidence of termite infestation and recommended treatment. A second opinion was performed with similar findings but that inspector says no treatment is needed. Both inspectors agree that no evidence of prior treatment was found.

First, it is important to understand that Maryland Regulations neither require treatment nor do they prohibit treatment…. under almost any circumstance. The individual company policy on when to recommend treatment will typically be the determinant. Almost without exception companies will follow MSPCA (Maryland State Pest Control Association) guidelines or Guidelines from the National Pest Management Association. These guidelines are in sync with the actual language in the standard sales contract that addresses when treatment should be performed.

Typically, an inspection that reveals termite evidence with no evidence of prior treatment is considered “evidence of present infestation”. Conversely, a property with termite evidence that has been previously, comprehensively treated and no activity is found is typically considered to be previously treated / currently inactive, with no additional treatment recommended. There are always exceptions but there would have to be other significant factors that would modify the typical recommendation of treat / no treat.

So, you look at both reports. If they both indicate there is no evidence of prior treatment then, to stay consistent with the intent of the contract clause, a treatment should be performed. The issuance of a “warranty” only , is not a substitute for treatment . Getting third opinions will never prove which ones are correct and which are not. Still at a stalemate? Then we always recommend having both inspectors meet at the property with any concerned party to reach a common resolution.  

Bruce Morgan 410-296-1212

President Atlas Exterminator Co., Inc.

Current Chairman of the MSPCA Wood-Destroying Insect Committee

MSPCA Credentialed WDIO Inspector

MSPCA Liaison to MAR

Member and Instructor @ GBBR

By 7016374718 26 Sep, 2017

As promised, this represents the first of several posts regarding the standard wood-destroying insect infestation clause in the Maryland Sales Contract

In this first post I want to talk briefly about the interpretation of what is meant by the term in the clause… evidence of present infestation ”. Please take note that the clause does not say “ active infestation”.

It is widely understood by experts in the field that it is nearly impossible to determine when termites may have constructed shelter tubes or caused damage. The mere absence of live insects during a visual inspection DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS NOT AN ONGOING TERMITE PROBLEM! Termite colonies exist in the soil not in the wood or the house. When a colony finds entry into a structure that entry point and the ability to activate it at any time remains until some treatment method is employed to either block the colony from access or the colony is eliminated through the use of a baiting program. Extensive research and published opinions by numerous respected entomologists and University Entomology departments have concluded that termite activity will shift for days or weeks at a time, from one food source to another with termite activity occurring randomly…… [1]

 Inferring that observed termite evidence or damage is “ prior ”, in a structure that has no history of previous corrective action, is inaccurate and ignores a basic understanding of termite behavior and biology. We have often used the analogy that this would be similar to looking through a large hole in the roof of a house on a day when it’s not raining and proclaiming that “the roof doesn’t leak”. The way to qualify a termite infestation as “prior” is by observing evidence of previous, comprehensive corrective treatment and no evidence of current or recent activity…..PERIOD.

 

Bruce Morgan 410-296-1212

President Atlas Exterminator Co., Inc.

Current Chairman of the MSPCA Wood-Destroying Insect Committee

MSPCA Credentialed WDIO Inspector

MSPCA Liaison to MAR

Member and Instructor @ GBBR

 

    [1] Brian Forschler PHD, Professor of Entomology, University of Georgia

    Barbara Thorne PHD, Research Professor, University of Maryland

 

By arianne.tonido 22 Sep, 2017
You never know where bed bugs may be lurking. Even the best 5 star hotels and the best cruise ship lines experience bed bug problems. You could be just one bed&breakfast away from bringing the problem home with you!
If you're like most of us, you don't actually inspect your room for bed bugs before settling down for a good nights rest. If you've picked that unlucky spot you may very well bring home a few of these unwanted hitchhikers with you.
So.....how can you try to prevent unkowingly transplanting these little bloodsuckers to your place of rest?
Here's what I do:

1) Instead of bringing luggage into the house, unpack it outside or in a garage or on the porch. Put all washables into plastic bags and bring them in, one laundry load at a time. Place immediately into the washing machine and start the wash cycle. Take the washed clothes and place directly into the dryer. Dry them on a medium-high to high heat. If you haven't drowned them, you've cooked them. It only requires about 140 degrees to kill bed bugs.
2) Items like shoes, luggage, purses, and any thing else you can't wash and dry, place into a wardrobe box ( available at most moving or storage facilities). Place 2 pest strips on the hanging bar. Close the box, tape it shut and leave it alone for a minimum of two days.
3) Dry cleaning items should be bagged, sealed and taken to the cleaner, not into the house.

Just don't bring anything into the house until you've dealt with it as detailed above. I can't guarantee you will never have a problem but these measures will reduce the risk SIGNIFICANTLY.

Bruce
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