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Today I’d like to talk about subterranean termite bonds. While not a very “exciting” subject, perhaps, it’s an important one to be aware of as a homeowner—especially if you are purchasing a brand new home or building yourself. Depending on the practices of the builder, you may suffer some serious consequences down the line.

To start off, what is a termite bond?

Subterranean Termite Bonds are offered by all pest control companies performing termite treatments in the state of Florida but are not all the same.

A termite bond is essentially a small insurance policy that renews from year to year, covering your home in the event a termite infestation occurs after a treatment has been performed.

There are two types of bonds:

  • a “retreat bond” covers the cost to retreat areas of your home infested by termites following a treatment, at no additional charge
  • a “damage repair bond” covers this as well, but goes on to pay for any termite damage that may have occurred since the treatment was performed. (It doesn’t cover pre-existing damage.)

Live termites must be found to trigger a damage repair claim. If no live termites are discovered, it is assumed the treatment did what it was designed to do and destroyed the termite colony that caused the damage. Retreat bonds are generally less expensive than damage repair bonds, so it’s important to know and understand what you’re buying.

Can a termite bond be transferred?

A bond transfer can be considered two different ways:

  • Can a bond be transferred from the seller of a home to the new buyer?
  • Can a bond provided by one pest control company be transferred to another pest control company?

In the first scenario, the answer is yes: most bonds can be transferred between homeowners. That is fairly routine, although some companies will charge exorbitantly high fees to do what amounts to changing a name on a file.

(At Universal Pest Control, we bond the house, not the family living in it! There is never a charge to transfer a bond from seller to buyer. Larger pest control companies don’t generally share that view.)

In the case of transferring an existing bond from one company to another, it can be a little more complex. A transfer may depend on factors such as:

  • the reputation of the company that performed the treatment
  • the product used in the treatment
  • the length of time since the last treatment
  • whether the bond is a retreat or damage repair bond.

In the past, very few companies would think about transferring a termite bond. These days, that view is being reconsidered by some in light of changing technology and the reliability of recent termiticides.

Universal Pest Control is one of the few companies in our area that will transfer a bond from another company. It is not always possible due to the considerations listed above, but we do our best to make it happen if we can.

So what if, unlike the first scenario, you’re not buying a pre-loved home but rather a brand new one? How does a termite bond get involved?

That’s where it’s becoming increasingly tricky.

Florida building codes require builders to include a five-year termite bond when a new home is built. Unfortunately, protocols surrounding these building codes have been changing, in ways that benefit the construction industry and not the homeowner.

In short, I see a troubling trend of regulatory bodies approving new methods of pre-construction treatments. These approaches greatly reduce the time and cost to the contractor, but do much less to actually protect the completed home from future termite infestations.

The pre-construction treatment I have the biggest problem with is not a pretreatment at all. Rather, it is a post-construction termite bait system installed around the perimeter of a new home.

I find these baiting systems to be much less effective than traditional sub-slab and perimeter treatments. Worse, they are higher maintenance in that they need to be monitored (most are not), and they’re more expensive to the homeowner over time!

Less effective, labor-intensive, and more expensive does not give me confidence in this treatment. But — it is quicker, cheaper, and easier for the homebuilders, so I’m seeing it become more and more common in new subdivisions. This is especially concerning thanks to the arrival of the Formosan termite in Volusia County.

If you own a new home (or any home) with this type of baiting system in the yard, please know there are better alternatives available. Universal Pest Control has a program in place to transfer the bond offered by your home builder to us. Our service can better protect your home from subterranean termites, and most often save you money.

If you think that’s something we can help with, give us a call at 386-673-1557 and we’ll be happy to talk to you. If you’re not sure what type of termite protection you have in your new home, we’ll help you figure that out, too.

Todd Stebleton is the owner and operator of Universal Pest Control, a family-owned business for over 25 years in Ormond Beach, Florida. He and his wife Natalie are proud to have built a company focused on conducting business with honesty and integrity: keeping customers first, protecting the environment, and providing trustworthy, personal service.

Universal: Honest, Environmentally Friendly Pest Control