What is a Wood Destroying Organism?Homeowners and potential home buyers should concern themselves with WDOs but what is a WDO? A WDO is short for “wood destroying organism”. These are organism that feed on or live in wood and what better source than a Snohomish County stick-built home. Remember the Orkin commercial where the ant wants to come in and use the phone?

"Wondering if I can use your phone. My car broken down a few blocks over. Is that Oak? I wanted to call my brother-in-law."

Here in Snohomish County, and Washington State for that matter, homes are built out of wood. Surprise! Spoiler Alert!

I know, a huge shock but people outside the area find it strange that a State known for its rain builds just about everything out of wood. Wood is very resistant to weather and organisms if properly taken care of.

So, beware of termites and a homeowner is good. Not so. In Washington State termites aren’t the main wood destroying organism but carpenter ants are. Carpenter ants don’t actually eat a home’s wood, however, a carpenter ant uses wood to build and expand their nests. That’s right, nests. Plural. According to EPestSupply.com:

"Big Black Carpenter ant colonies are usually of moderate size, some containing over 3,000 workers (up to 10 -15,000 including satellite nests) when maturity is reached in about 3 to 6 years. The typical western carpenter ant (C, Modoc) mature colony contains about 10,000 -20,000 workers, with large colonies having up to 100,000 workers. Developmental time (egg to adult) for workers takes at about 60 days. Workers have different sizes (polymorphism), with majors, minors and intermediates present."

Did they say “moderate size, some containing over 3,000 workers”? Yep.

How to Prevent Wood Destroying Organisms?

  1. Keep crawl spaces clean and free of debris.
  2. Keep shrubs, plants, and trees at least 18″ from the home.
  3. Use a baits or non repelling insecticides to kill the ants.

In the home buying and selling process, home inspections are inevitable and common place. If a home inspector calls for an additional inspection that is not good because that means there are “clear signs” of wood destroying organisms. Also, the lender and underwriters will require the pest inspection report to prove there is no problem or the problem has been corrected, costing time and money.

If the damage is too extensive then the property may not be salvageable or may cost large sums of money to correct the problem. It is best to prevent than to correct.