Such Confusion...

The issue of Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO) inspections and the resulting reports is so misunderstood that this site has been compiled to answer your most common questions. Plus, to correct much of the mis-information that is passed around about this subject. For ANY subject, it is always good to have DEFINITIVE SOURCE information. The fact that "Aunt Sally" told you so is NOT definitive! Always go to the source, or to the people in the know, to get answers about any subject in life. On this subject, WDO inspections in Florida, we got our answers from the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Agricultural Environmental Services.

What is a WDO Report?

As defined by the state of Florida, a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) Report is "a written report of an inspection on a home for visible and accessible evidence of an infestation or damage by wood destroying organisms". A WDO report may also be commonly called a "Termite Inspection", "Clearance Letter", or "Termite Letter".

A WDO inspection not only checks for subterranean termites and dry wood termites, but will also include wood destroying beetles and wood decaying fungi. Carpenter ants and carpenter bees are NOT reportable as a wood destroying organism on the state WDO form.

By Florida statute, a WDO report is provided when a home or other structure is being sold and the mortgage lender OR buyer requires the inspection as part of the transaction. If an inspection is done for these purposes, the inspection must be reported on a specific report form as required by Florida Law (Chapter 482.226, Florida Statutes and Chapter 5E-14.142(2)(c), Florida Administrative Code). That form number is 13645, but there are several parts:

- WDO report form 13645 (pdf). The 13645 form is sometimes called the "1145 report" because of the old form number.
- WDO report form 13645 Instructions (pdf).
- Inspection instructions: Baseline practices for performing 13645 inspections. Please note that the Baseline practices were developed specifically for real estate transactions!

Who can perform a WDO inspection?

Persons performing wood-destroying organism inspections are required to have a pest control identification card from the State designating them as having received special training to perform WDO inspections. Every WDO inspector must carry their pictured State of Florida identification card at all times. Make sure your WDO inspector is State designated - ask for their ID card!

TRUST, then VERIFY! Use this link to verify the status of your WDO inspector - http://ceupublicsearch.freshfromflorida.com/, then search under "Applicators".

More Information

Get our free guide containing our 10 Tips for preventing and detecting termites, Understanding WDO Inspection Reports (taken from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website).

Consumer Tips on Purchasing Pest Control Services - from the State of Florida

More information is available from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, http://www.floridatermitehelp.org/

Questions? Contact us with your questions using our convenient form.

Key Points:

When requesting a WDO Inspection during a real estate transaction:

- Don't rely on the WDO report alone.

- Be present when the WDO inspection is done.

- Obtain documentation on termite treatment history and copies of protection contracts issued for the structure.

- Maintain an active WDO protection contract on the structure after purchase.

Did You Know?

- The State WDO form that all Florida WDO inspectors are required to use comes with instructions? The instructions to fill out the state WDO form (13645) is 5 pages long!

- The WDO report is NOT required by the state to be guaranteed for a set period of time? Most people think a WDO report is good for 30 days, but it is ONLY required to accurately reflect the condition of the property relative to wood-destroying organisms at the time the inspection was performed.

- The person requesting the WDO report must be provided a copy of that report?

- Fencing is NOT considered a part of the structure UNLESS it is attached?

- Decks ARE considered a part of the structure if they are attached or contiguous?

- PROBING during the course of the WDO inspection is PERMITTED by the state, and is encouraged to determine infestation?

- There is a protocol for conducting WDO inspections during a real estate transaction, called the Baseline practices for conducting a WDO inspection