Click To Watch – Do You Need A Bug Inspection?

Jody: Hey everybody. It's Jody. We're here with Steve, from Bug Master today. Steve takes care of everything, bug related, pest related inspections, et cetera, for houses. And even when people just have problems after they own their house, they're going to talk to a guy like him, about how do they deal with things that they don't want to really acknowledge, but they're there. Rats, ants, all kinds of stuff, wood Packers. So, the big thing is when somebody's buying a house, they're making an offer. One of the subjects that they should include is that they're going to have a bug and pest inspection. And a lot of times in the Okanagan, people think it's not really necessary. Why would I do that? Or why would I spend the money? But it is necessary. There's lots of instances of termites around here. And there's definitely rats that 15, 20 years ago, they almost didn't exist here. Now they're all over the place. So, as far as Steve's concerned, we're going to ask him some questions. And like, the big question would be first off. Like, why would somebody want to have that? And like how important is it?

Steve: Right. Good question, Jody. So, a lot of people moving, especially from other places, other climates, even either in BC or from other provinces don't experience the volume and variety of pest issues that we do here in the Okanagan. We have a pretty interesting little tip of the desert and mixed with a lot of temperatures hot in the summer, kind of not super cold in the winter. And so that just drives the pest market way, way up. And it's pretty volatile if you're not expecting it. So, it's really important for potential home buyers moving, especially from out of town to know what they're up against before they purchase the home. And there's unfortunately lots of different things you could be up against depending on where you want to buy. So, we brought a couple of things here to show you kind of what you might experience. Well, probably the most common thing that people are going to have are spiders and wasps. And those are pretty much universal. You'll get those in other provinces, cold climates, wherever, but in the Okanagan specifically, we get a ton of odorous house ants, and that's the guys that caused this sort of damage.

Jody: And that's like insulation on.

Steve: Yeah. So, that's blue styrofoam insulation. It looks totally normal on the outside, but on the back side, it's all full of ant galleries. These guys don't do too much structural damage, but they are annoying and they have colonies in hundreds of thousands of members for the most part. So, if you want your insulation to look like this, or if you don't want it to look like this, you got to get in control of the ants. So, that's one thing that we'll discover along our travels in the pest inspection journey some other things that are probably of more importance to some folks is things that do structural damage that would be your carpenter ants. So, there's an example of some wood being chewed through the grain by carpenter ants and termites obviously we have those here too. And people just generally don't know that we have them here. You can ask around and hey, do you know that we have termites? The general answer is no, I did not know. 

Jody: Yeah, when we bring it up to clients, it's almost always a surprise, I think, oh, that's kind of weird. Like, are you serious? And then there are times when we'll even follow the inspector around and on occasion you find like little carcasses or little wings by the hot water tank or wearing yeah. Absolutely water tends to be…

Steve: You find the elites flying out, especially this time of year in spring, we're dealing with five to 10 calls at least a week, we did six calls on Monday, for example to investigate some termite activity. 

Jody: Then what do you do if there are termites?

Steve: Yeah, it's a bit of a process. We need to do basically a sub slab injection it's called. And we essentially want to protect the structure of the house from these subterranean termites. We actually have Western subterranean termites here and they come up from the ground and they find little cracks or fissures in the foundation slab or the expansion joint for the slab they'll come up there. And if they find a viable food source, then they'll start eating it. So, to prevent that we have to inject herbicide into the ground all the way around the house, around the outside, around the inside. And it can be quite costly depending on what the floor coverings are. So, the more you know about it to start with the better choices you can make during the buying process of purchasing the home.

Jody: Cool. And then where we are right now, like in this area of town in Kelowna, kind of Kelowna north Knox mountain area. I know a few clients that have bought around here. And I mean, there's notoriously, there's this rats, whether they're in there upstairs, whether they're in their crawl space, whatever. So, is that something that you've deal with more and more every year? How does that work?

Steve: Yes. It seems to be getting worse now better. We brought our little mascot Henry here today to on show you some of the damage. These are water pipes that have been chewed through over time by a rat, they're attracted to it because it sounds like rushing water inside of it. And they have to gnaw, rodent is Latin for gnaw. So, if they don't chew on something, their teeth don't stop growing and eventually it becomes incapacitating to them. So, if you mix the fact that they have to chew on something and you've got something that's attracted to them, you end up with a burst pipe, you've got a flood in your house and it can be a pretty big problem. We've got another one here, same thing. I mean, you wouldn't expect a rat to be able to do that but they do.

Jody: Crazy.

Steve: These are for mice actually. And the holes are just big enough for a mouse to go into rat. Can't get in there, but because there's food in there, they're attracted to the scent and they'll just chew right through the lid to get at the bait brick. So nasty little devils, not this one so much, we don't mind Henry, but the real deal is not too good.

Jody: No doubt. And the gross thing is there's just always lots of feces and pee and everything else that. That is big time cleaning, I think, is needed.

Steve: That's the biggest problem with them. The actual rat itself for the most part is generally pretty hygienic. But the feces and the urine do carry pathogens and things that can make you sick. And they're just a general health concern. So, if you've got a couple of rats up in your attic, you want to get that thing cleaned out and sealed up, as best as possible so that you're not experiencing any of those health risks.

Jody: Right on. So, going back to what we started with was when an offer is written, and we do put that subject in there, subject to the buyer having a home or not a home inspection done, but kind of they would have a home inspection of what might be included with that. Or maybe another additional subject would be having a bug and pest inspection done, making sure that there's nothing kind of sketchy or anything concerning, and that they satisfy that before they commit to buying the house. So, how does that work if somebody's going to call you and they say, hey, we're going to buy a host, but we have a subject to get an inspection done for a bug or pest inspection, where does that go? How do you guys deal with it from there?

Steve: Sure. So, we actually offer a couple of different types of inspections. We do what's called a wood destroying insect inspection report, which would be a pre-purchase inspection specifically to wood destroy insects. So, we'll have one of our technicians out to the house to check the common areas for the Western subterranean termite, the carpenter ants, any of the sort of environmental factors that can influence those specific pests. Do you have bark wood right up against your house? Are you in a heavily wooded area? Things like that can influence the volume of wood destroying pests you may get. So, that is something that we typically do as a pre-purchase with a home inspection. We do it at the same time so that it's not overly invasive to whoever's selling the house. Doesn't take too long as a general rule. And we'll give you a nice little report after that. The other one we offer is a rodent an assessment form, which basically takes into account all of the factors that can go into having rodent at your place, whether that be the actual structure of the house, any gaps that might be need to be filled in, what the surroundings are like, if there's any scent attractants, maybe you've got a garbage can lid that's not sealed, things of that nature. We even go so far as to check out the behavior of the people inside the house. Do they have lids on their garbage cans underneath the sink? Do they have standing water in the bathtub after they have washed the kids for whatever? And so that's a 47 point inspection that we offer separately as well. If you're in an area that's going to be prone to rodents. And we can do those basically anytime.

Jody: Yeah. And I mean, just something that was kind of almost funny but there's a property that actually had rat issues and the neighbor had a pet goat. So, within this like corralled area where his pet goat was with just bales and bales of rotten hay, moldy hay, and the rats obviously loved that. But then when it got cold, they went into the crawl space of the house next door. And it's just like maybe a homeowner wouldn't put two and two together but Bug Master was able to kind of say, here's the source of the issue. This is why they're here. And then in the winter, this is why they're going here. 

Steve: Yeah, little education goes a long way sometimes. People just are not in the industry. So, they don't deal with these problems every day. They don't know what maybe the potential solutions could be. It's not always just about going and buying traps for poison blogs, or even sometimes spraying insecticide. There's a lot of things that you can do just as a homeowner with general cleanliness and things of that nature that are going to prevent those problems from starting in the first place.

Jody: Cool. And are they like nocturnal, like, is that you don't really see rats very often or they’re just pretty low key.

Steve: You'll see them out in the day sometimes but they like to be active at night because they want to avoid predation and they know what happens when we find them. Generally speaking is they don't last too long afterwards. So, they want to avoid eyesight from us. And so they do a lot of work at night. 

Jody: Cool. Generally when people are buying a house and they have a home inspection, maybe they haven't bought in quite a while or the house they're buying, isn't brand new. There's some items that they might be a little bit concerned about. But they're usually just things that might need attention be dealt with, but it's not normally a deal breaker. It's not something they're going to be like, oh, we're not going to buy the house because the windows are older or because the roof maybe has five years of life, they're kind of buying the package as it is. But they want to know like buying a used car, maybe what needs attention right away, maybe something is a deal breaker, but most things just what do they need to do to deal with those issues? So, I think with you guys too, I mean, if some house has rats, it's not like the end of the world, but you don't want to just move in status quo and just ignore it.

Steve: Totally. Everything at the end of the day is, is rectifiable. So, although it can be a little bit of a procedure sometimes like with termites, it requires that sub slab injection, or like with rats up in an attic space, it requires us to take that insulation out, seal up that cavity sanitize it and then reinsulate it. It's always fixable and Bug Master is actually a little bit unique in the industry because we actually do everything in house. We have sort of a sister company called a shirt insulation that does all that insulation work for you. So, you don't have to shop it around. Once you make that appointment with us, we take care of everything from start to finish.

Jody: Cool. And then before you obviously proceed to do the work, you'll put a quote together for the people and yeah, of course, if it's going to be a $600 job or a $6,600 job, I mean they can make a decision from there, whether it absolutely something they want to take on. 

Steve: And the prices will vary from place to place as well, depending on the severity of the situation. But we always like to give you basically all the information that you're going to need to make that decision right up front so that there's no mysteries afterwards.

Jody: Perfect. And that's a good thing. Like having dealt with Bug Master, I've been in real estate 17 years. And I mean, I feel like they've been around almost as long as that because I've recommended them for years to my clients and whether it's Peachland or Kelowna, west Kelowna, lake country, I mean, they're always wherever my clients are buying and they've done a good job for my clients. So, not so much like trying to sell you on them. But as a testimonial, they've been a great company to work with. And for people that are looking to buy a house, it's just not something that you want to skip out on. The only note on that is right now, there's just a lot of pressure on people to write offers without subjects. So, generally the home inspector, if you have a good relationship with one and they have time, they might go in and look at the house prior to you writing your offer. So, at least you've done your homework and maybe you can write an offer without a subject because you've already done your due diligence. I'm sure you guys have dealt with that too.

Steve: Sure. It's a wild market but depending on your home inspector too, a lot of them have been working with us as well. And they're kind of catching on to a few things as well, as far as the insect and pest world goes. So, they're a really good resource. Are they going to have a trained dialect people from our company that have been doing this for 10, 12, 15, 25 years? Probably not. Yeah, but certainly they're getting up to speed pretty quickly here because just of the amount of volume of pest issues that we have here and it seems to be getting, like I said, worse, not better. 

Jody: Totally. One thing we were joking about earlier is just the reason the pests are here is the same reason we're here. There's sunshine, there's easy winters. It's just a nice place to live. And the bugs, the pests, they kind of want to live here too. Ultimately we just don't want them living with us. So, talk to Bug Master, and they can definitely help to make sure that that isn't an issue. And it's not something that you got to deal with.


Jody Miller

Personal Real Estate Corporation

Royal LePage Kelowna

Independently Owned & Operated


1-1890 Cooper Road,

Kelowna, BC, V1Y 8B7

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