Wood Destroying Organisms FAQ

Every year thousands of homes (old and New) are attacked by woodborer beetles. Home purchasers need to know if these pests are present before investing their money therefore it is wise to have the property inspected by a representative of a licensed pest control company who can detect the presence of wood destroying pests and provide a Beetle inspection report accordingly.

Who orders the Inspection?

A pest Control firm may be selected by the seller or his agent’s financial institution, buyer or transferring attorney depending on the situation or established practice. A seller should be advised as to which company is executing the inspection and in some cases the seller may choose the service provider. In areas where woodborer beetle inspections are not a requirement, it is advisable that the purchaser obtain a report to establish if there are any potential problems.

Is the report for beetles only?

No – there are other wood destroying insects, including some species of termites. Beetles include Powder Post Beetle whose larvae feed in hard woods such as oak. This beetle is commonly found in our own Borer Belt that stretches from the Bluff, Glenwood and predominately Berea areas and pops up all over the older parts of Durban. Anobiid beetles are found in softwood like pine, Italian beetles are often found in old houses and another insect that is wide spread in Durban is the Cryptotermes brevis, a drywood termite which is thought to originate from the West Indies.

Are these insects found throughout RSA?

No – the distribution and occurrence of these insects is regional. Dry wood termites are localised to specific parts of South Africa. Subterranean termites are endemic throughout South Africa except for part of the Western Cape. Beetle infestations are fairly commonly found along the coastal areas, but do also occur inland. Inspections are essential in the coastal areas, and are a good practice inland. Beetles and drywood termites are often spread by infested furniture being moved from one area to another.

What does the inspection entail?

A Qualified representative from a licensed Pest Control Company will perform the Inspection. All visible and accessible areas of the structure are inspected and any evidence of infestation is reflected in a report. The clearance certificate does not guarantee that there is no infestation because it may be hidden in inaccessible areas.

What if evidence of an infestation is found?

The pest control company will recommend measures and appropriate treatment to control such pests. The costs pertaining thereto may vary to the type, locality significance or severity of infestation.

What happens if damage created by these pests is observed?

When beetle causes structural or loss of structural strength in timber, the timbers need to be replaced and/or treated depending on the “superficial” or “extensive” damage observed. Bearing in mind the Inspector is not a structural Engineer and will only report visible findings. Should such damage be reported, further expert consultation should be encouraged and pursued.

How do I select a Pest Control Company to inspect my property?

The pest control Inspection Industry is under siege with fraudulent certificates of clearance. Companies belonging to SAPCA (South African Pest Control Association) which is the national industry association, should be recommended and used. People should phone SAPCA to confirm membership and to check if that company has a registered, qualified Inspector.


Only qualified individuals will have access to the SAPCA Certificate which is underwritten and protected by a Fidelity Fund scheme for 90 days from the date of the issuing of a clearance certificate. The fund undertakes to ensure that any required treatment, should infestation be detected after this issuing shall be carried out without charge to the client.

SAPCA Contact information:

National Secretary: Lynette Cokayne 011 654 8038 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

KZN Regional Secretary: Sue Alcock 031 569 2996 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.