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Bringing out the big guns for this “wdo”

As a licensed Washington State, Structural Pest Inspector I am always on the lookout for wood destroying insects, wood decay/rot and conditions conducive to these organisms.

Any inspector that looked at the following picture and dismissed it off hand, without taking a closer look, might be ignoring an infestation of Anobiid Beetles—especially given what looks like the characteristic “shotgun” like holes present above the tan frass visible on the woodwork.  It also mimics Carpenter Ant Frass from a distance--but I could find no location where the sawdust was being kicked out and the particles were just too small.

Frass? 

Upon closer look, the black dots were not holes at all but merely some sort of fungal growth—perhaps “Artillery Fungus” that is very common on homes with landscaping beauty-bark.  Here is a picture taken at a different house where the material did turn out to be carpenter ants.

carpenter ant frass

The "frass" even felt like beetle frass but it turned out to not have anything to do with beetles or Carpenter Ants after all.

Fern Spores 

The nearby ferns were shedding their spores on the ledge and therefore of no concern to a Home Inspector---well except for the general recommendation that all vegetation be properly maintained away from the home.

 

Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Seattle Home Inspector

 

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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 9 commentsCharles Buell • September 18 2013 04:24AM

Comments

Yet again, you give us an interesting, informative post...keep it up!  Thanks again!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 5 years ago

Hi Charles,

So did you actually see the small little critters in person?

Never know what we find when inspecting. Suspicion's grow when ever we see the little things like in your first shot.

Have a good day on the West coast.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 5 years ago

"FRASS".

Who would have thought that word would become a part of my lexicon?

Well, now, thanks to your blogs and those of other home inspectors, I have added several new words to my vocabulary.

Love it.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 5 years ago

Charles -- thank you for a very instructive post regarding things that could be problematic, or not so much so.

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 5 years ago

Wood fern spore?  And did it taste like chicken?  More importantly, since it's in convenient powder form, did you use it for flavoring in soup?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

How did the raisins come out?  Are they plump and flavorful?  How many hours did it take to dry them out?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Kristin, thanks

Clint, there were fortunately no small little critters to find in this case

Lenn, people have come to hate playing charades with me :)

Steven, thanks---sometimes things are not as bad as they appear and in some cases not bad at all

Jay, it does look like some sort of food spice.  The raisins came out great---however almost tooooo sweet.  Took about 24 hours

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

Maybe some wood fern spore would tone down that sweetness Charlie!  You'll only know if you try.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 5 years ago

Perhaps a raisin/rhubarb pie is in order

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 5 years ago

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